PHOTO DOCUMENTATION: TIBET-EXPEDITION'1997

Klaus Dierks

  Dr. Klaus Dierks 2004-2005

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  Dr. Klaus Dierks 2004
: Photo: Rongbuk Gompa: Chomolungma - Mount Everest North Face Base Camp

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Copyright: Lonely Planet Publications, 3rd Edition, 1995

In March 1959 fled the Dalai Lama Tibet due to the outbreak of the Resistance War of the Tibetan People against the Peoples Republic of China. Some weeks later I was on a trekking tour in northern Sikkim, without any permit and authority from the Indian Administration in Sikkim. My equipment was minimal and my resources and mountaineering experience more than restricted. My negligence can only be excused by my age of 23. In the vicinity of Lachen I was taken prisoner by a Chinese patrol. During 1959 the Chinese occupied some border areas in Sikkim and other parts of the Indian Himalaya. This was the ignition point of the Chinese - Indian border war in 1960 to 1962. The Chinese soldiers regarded me as an Imperialistic agent and forced me to accompany them to Tibet. This would in all probably meant my death sentence. Fortunately we experienced a terrible snow storm while crossing the border pass between Sikkim and Tibet. This blizzard saved my life. I could escape the Chinese soldiers. But nearly died of exhaustion without proper food and shelter. Some Tibetan nomads rescued me and took me secretly into Tibet into the vicinity of Kampa Dzong which was not occupied by the Chinese at this time. I experienced the still old Tibet culture and life as it existed before the Chinese marched into Tibet in 1950. The same nomads brought me safely back into Sikkim and India where I was able to report to the Indian Government what I had experienced. I was probably the first eye witness who had seen that the Chinese really had started the occupation of some Himalaya border areas south of the water shed which forms in many parts of the Himalayas the Sino-Indian border. My saga was never published in English but is only available in German: "STATT EINER EINLEITUNG - FLUCHT NACH TIBET".

It was a life long dream to visit the areas of my 1959 adventure again. When in 1990 I was elected as Member of the first independent Parliament of the Republic of Namibia and appointed as a minister of the Namibian government I was able to start working to make my dream to become a reality. In the mean time I had been to many trekking and mountaineering expeditions in many parts of the Himalaya and Karakoram. Due to the fact that for many decades there was a very close relationship between SWAPO of Namibia and the Peoples Republic of Namibia, a special permit with authorisation of the Chinese Prime Minister was granted that I was able to visit the still closed border areas between Tibet and Sikkim and other parts of Tibet which were already open to mountaineers and tourists in 1997.

The following photo documentation gives an impression what I had experienced in 1997 - and again on the Sikkim side of the Tibetan border in 2000. The expedition route took us (my wife Karen Dierks, ne Von Bremen and myself) from the capital of Nepal Kathmandu to the Tibetan frontier at Zangmu and from there to the Tibetan high plateau which we reached at Nyalam. We crossed the first pass of more than 5 000 m, the Lalung La. From there we travelled via Gutsuo to Tingri Shekar, which was the point of entry by the British expeditions in the 1920s and 1930s to the Mount Everest - Chomolungma north face. We visited the Chomolungma Gompa (monastery) of Rongbuk and the Mount Everest base camp. From there we went over some high passes to the old Tibetan Buddhist town of the Sakya order, Sakya. From Sakya we left the normal tourist paths and entered the "forbidden territory at the north eastern of Nepal and the northern border of Sikkim. Probably we have been the first westerners which were officially allowed to visit these areas since the last British Everest Expedition in 1938. We took our route via Dingyye, Kutschi to Rongxar, from there via Langma, Mukub Gompa, Ne Gompa to Kampa Dzong. From Kampa Dzong we went via some unnamed more than 5 000 m high passes to the Bhutanese border at the Bam Tso (Lake). From Gala we went back in "open" territory and travelled via Gyantse, Shigatse, Zetang to Yumbu Lakang and finally to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet.

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Copyright: Edward Stanford Ltd. 1992

First Part of our Tibet Expedition'1997 from Kathmandu to Tingri Shekar

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Zhangmu is the First Town in Tibet at the Nepalese Border
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Bridge near Zhangmu at the "Friendship Highway" from Kathmandu to Lhasa (Arniko Rajmarg)
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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The Buddhist-Tibetan Sect of the Kagyu-Pa (Transmitted Command) has a Number of Branches but all go back to the Indian Masters: Naropa and Tilopa and ultimately back to Buddha Vajradhra (Yogas of Naropa: Heat Yoga (Dumo) and the Yoga of the Bardo). The spiritual Founder was Marpa and his Disciple Milarepa (1052-1135). Milarepa's most influential Disciple was Gampopa (1079-1153) whose Disciples found three Sub-Branches: Karma-Pa (Black Hat Sect)(Tsurphu Monastery), Drugpa (Bhutan and Ladakh) and Drigung-Pa. Milarepa was the greatest Poet of Tibet and lived in a Cave near Nyalam 3 750 m
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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The Lalung La (Pass) 5 050 m is situated between Nyalam and the Tibetan Village Gutsuo
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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The Tibetan Village Gutsuo lies on an Altitude of 4 400 m
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Tingri Shekar (New Tingri or Shekar Dzong (Fortress)) lies on an Altitude of 4 300 m. It was the Point of Exit for the British Mount Everest Expeditions between the two World Wars
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Between Tingri Shekar and the Everest Base Camp south of Rongbuk lies the Pang La (5 200 m). The Photos show the Villages on the North and South Side of the Pass and the View from the Pass goes to the North (left Photo) and to the South (right Photo) to the High Himalayas with Chomolungma (Mount Everest) 8 850 m and Cho Oyu 8 201 m
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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The Village Passum lies on an Altitude of 4 504 m and is situated between the Pangla La and Rongbuk
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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The Buddhist Gompa (Monastery) of Rongbuk lies on an Altitude of 5 030 m at the Foot of the North Face of Chomolungma (Mount Everest). The Gompa was destrotyed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution in the 1960s but has been reconstructed in the Mean Time
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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The North Face of Chomolungma (Mount Everest) 8 850 m from Rongbuk Base Camp 5 220m. The right Photo shows the Pass Lho La between Tibet and Nepal (Khumbu) with Pumori 7 161 m on the Right Hand Side
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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The North West Face of Chomolungma (Mount Everest) from the Kalar Pattar 5 600 m in the Khumbu in Nepal: Left Photo taken in 1980 and the South Face of Chomolungma from the Mera La 5 415 m in the Hongu (Nepal): Right Photo taken in 1982
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Copyright: Edward Stanford Ltd. 1992

Second Part of our Tibet Expedition'1997 from Tingri Shekar via the Lhakpa La 5 220 m to Lhaze 4 050 m and further to Sakya 4 280 m and from there via the "closed" Territory along the Sikkim Border to Gala and then to Gyantse 3 950 m and further to Shigatse 3 900 m : The "closed" Territory strechted from Sakya via Dingyy, Kutschi, Rongxar, Langma, Mukub Gompa, Ne Gompa, Khampa Dzong to Gala

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The Lhakpa La (Jia Tsuo La) 5 220 m is situated between Tingri Shekar and Lhaze
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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View from the Lhakpa La to the Chomolungma (Mount Everest) 8 850 m in the South West
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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View from the Lhakpa La to the Cho Oyu 8 210 m in the South West
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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The Tibetan-Buddhist Monastry Town of Sakya is the Centre of the Sakya-Pa. The Sakya-Pa was founded 1073 by Konchog Gyalpo (1034-1102), a disciple of Drogmi. Sakya-Pa was established under Mongol Protection. Sakya-Pa favours the Teachings of the Indian Adept Virpa. Sakya was partly destroyed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, but has been reconstructed in the Mean Time. From Sakyo we are travelling into "Forbidden Territory" close to the Sikkim Border.
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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The "Forbidden" Zone of Tibet along the Sikkim Border

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View from the Sebu La 5 430 m to the Kangchendzoenga 8 586 m in the South in Sikkim
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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South of the Sebu La We reach the Upper Part of the Arun River (Phung Chu) which flows into Nepal (Hongu)
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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A Lake east of Dingyy 4 260 m on Route to Rongxar: View to the East
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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The Village Kutschi 4 630 m south of Dingyy
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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View to the Nyonnori 6 6663 m at the Nepalese Border south of Rongxar
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Rongxar 4 270 m at the Corner of three Countries: Tibet, Nepal and Sikkim: The Gompa and the Dzong (Fortress) were destroyed in the Chinese Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and not reconstructed yet
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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View back to Rongxar to the West into Nepal
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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View back to Rongxar to the West into Nepal
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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The Village Langma, approximately 20 km east of Rongxar: View to the Sikkim Border and the High Himalaya in the South which I crossed with the Tibetan Kampa Nomads in 1959
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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The Village Langma: View to the North
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Mukub Gompa is situated approximately 50 km east of Rongxar: View to the East
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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In Mukub Gompa we lost our Trail to Kampa Dzong and went into a northerly Direction to Dobzha: View to the East in Direction Ne Gompa and Kampa Dzong
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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View from Dobzha to the South in Direction Mukub Gompa and the Sikkim Border at the Main Range of the High Himalaya: The Indian Summer Monsoon reaches the High Himalayas
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Ne Gompa is situated approximately 100 km east of Rongxar: View to the South in Direction Sikkim Border at the Main Range of the High Himalaya
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Ne Gompa
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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View from Ne Gompa to the South East to the Chomo Yummo 6 829 m at the Tibet - Sikkim Border
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Kampa Dzong (Gamba): View to the South East to the Chomo Yummo 6 829 m and more Himalaya Peaks which are more than 7 000 m high at the Tibet - Sikkim Border: The Dzong (Fortress) was destroyed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and is not reconstructed yet
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Unnamed Pass 5 378 m between Kampa Dzong and Tatsang (Takexum): View to the South to the unnamed and unclimbed 6 000 and 7 000 m high Peaks along the Tibetan-Sikkim and the Tibetan-Bhutan Border
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Nomads near Tatsang between Kampa Dzong and Gala (Gazla)
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Unnamed Pass 5 260 m between Tatsang and Gala: View to the East to the 6 000 and 7 000 m high Peaks along the Tibetan-Bhutan Border
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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At Guru we are meeting the (still closed) India-Tibet Highway from Sikkim (Gangtok) to Lhasa through the Tschumbi Valley: In the Background is the Lake Bam Tso at the Tibetan-Bhutan Border
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Bam Tso at the Tibetan-Bhutan Border with the 6 000 m and 7000 m high Peaks at the Bhutan Border and in the Interior of Bhutan
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Copyright: Lonely Planet Publications, 3rd Edition, 1995

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Gyantse (3 950 m), 254 km southwest of Lhasa, is one of the least Chinese-influenced Towns in Tibet: View from the Gyantse Dzong (Fortress: built in the 14th Century) into the Nyang Chu Valley to the West: In the Plains the British-Tibetan Battle (Francis Younghusband Expedition) took Place in 1904. The Tibetans tried to defend Gyantse Dzong, but the Fall of the Dzong was the last Straw in the Tibetan Attempt to repel the British Incursion into Tibet: In the Middle the Gyantse Kumbum Tschrte (Stupa) to the left and the Main Monastry Pelkor Chde to the right   

Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Main Street in Gyantse with the Dzong in the Background    
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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The Gyantse Kumbum to the left and the Main Monastry Pelkor Chde (Gelug-Pa Sect) to the right   
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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The Gyantse Kumbum was built in 1440: The Stupa rises over four symmetrical Floors and is surmounted by a golden Dome that rises like a Crown over the four sets of Buddha's Eyes that gaze serenly out in the cardinal Directions of the Compass    
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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The Gyantse Kumbum: Buddha Sakyamuni Chapel
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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The Pelkor Chde Monastery was founded first in 1418
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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View from the Pelkor Chde Monastery to the Town and Gyantse Dzong in the Background
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Copyright: Lonely Planet Publications, 3rd Edition, 1995

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Shigatse (3 900 m), 70 km northwest of Gyantse, is the second largest Town in Tibet and the traditional Capital of the Tibetan Province of Tsang. Shigatse has for Centuries been an important Trading Town and Administrative Centre. The Tsang Kings exercised their Power from the once imposing Heights of the Shigatse Dzong - now destroyed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. Since the Ascendancy of the Gelug-Pa Order in the 15th Century with Mongol Assistance, Shigatse has been the Seat of the Panchen Lama, who traditionally is based in the Tashilhunpo Gompa (Monastery)
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

Tashilhunpo Gompa, Seat of the Panchen Lama, is associated with the Gelug-Pa Order and is one of the six great Gelug-Pa Institutions along with Drepung, Sera and Ganden in Lhasa and Kumbum and Labrang in Amdo. During the 14th and 15th centuries Tsong Kha-pa (Lobsang Drakpa or J Rimpoche)(1357-1419), believed to be an Incarnation of the Bodhisattva Manjushri (Buddha of Wisdom). He reformed the Tibetan Buddhism by the Creation of a new Religious Order: Gelug-Pa (Yellow Hat Sect). He originated from the Lake Kokonor in north-eastern Tibet. Originally he favoured the Kadam-Pa School. He founded the three "Pillars of Buddhism", the three monasteries near Lhasa: Ganden (1409), Drepung (1416) and Sera (1419) (Drasang: monastic universities). Tsong Kha-pa also established the Great Prayer Festival (Mnlam Chemno) after New Year (Lossar). He confirmed Atisha's stress upon Monastic Virtues and the Need to establish a firm Basis in the Stras before graduating to the Tantras. He followed the Teachings of the great Indian Teachers Ngrjuna, Asanga and Dignga.Tashilhunpo Gompa was founded in 1447 by a Disciple of Tsong Kha-pa, Genden Drup who became post-hum the First Dalai Lama.
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Tashilhunpo Gompa: View from the Entrance to the Maitreya Temple (left) and the Tomb of the 4th Panchen Lama (right)
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Tashilhunpo Gompa: Dharma akra (Buddhist Wheel of Life) in the Entrance Hall to the Main Yard of the Monastery
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Tashilhunpo Gompa: Access Way along the Palace of the Panchen Lamas with the Kalsang Temple in the Background
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Tashilhunpo Gompa: View from the Court Yard to the Assembly Hall and the Tomb of the 4th Panchen Lama in the Background
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Tashilhunpo Gompa: Tomb of the 4th Panchen Lama
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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View from theTashilhunpo Gompa to the West
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Copyright: Edward Stanford Ltd. 1992

Third Part of our Tibet Expedition'1997 from Shigatse via the Karo La 5 010 m to the Yamdrok Tso 4 482 m (Scorpion Lake). From there via Nagarze 4 500 m and the Kamba La 4 794 m to the Yarlung Tsangpo (Upper Part of the Brahmaputra) and to Tsetang (Zetong) 3 400 m and the Yumbu Lhakang, the oldest Building in Tibet, from the Period of King Srong tsen Gampo,  and to Chenggye to the Tibetan Tombs of the early Yarlung Kings. The Expedition ends at Lhasa, the Capital of Tibet.

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The Road from Gyantse to the Yamdruk Tso with the Nozin Kang sa 7 223 m in the Background
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Karo La 5 010m with the Nozin Kang sa 7 223 m in the Background
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Nozin Kang sa 7 223 m
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Yamdrok Tso (Yamtso Yumko) 4 482 m: The Scorpion Lake
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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View from the Kamba La 4 794 m into the Yarlung Tsangpo Valley, near to the Point where the Kyi Chu (Lhasa River) joins the Tsangpo River (Chsl)
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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The Yarlung Tsangpo near Samye (on the opposite Side), Tibet's oldest Gompa, founded by King Trisong Detsen around 765 to 780
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Yumbu Lakang in the Yarlung Valley is supposed to be Tibet's oldest Building: The Foundations might go back to 2 000 Years ago: The original Building was destroyed in the Chinese Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, but it was re-constructed in 1982
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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View from the Top of Yumbu Lakang into the Yarlung and the Tsangpo Valleys in the North in Direction Tsetang
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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View from the Top of Yumbu Lakang into the Yarlung Valley to the South
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Chenggye: View from the Tombs of the Kings of the Pre-Buddhist Bn Culture to the North to Chenggye and the Chingwa Tagtsde Dzong (Fortress) at Chenggye
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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The Kyi Chu (Lhasa River) between Chsl and Lhasa
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Copyright: Edward Stanford Ltd. 1992

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Lhasa is Tibet's Capital and the Capital of the eastern-central Province . Lhasa is the Heart and Soul of Tibet, Abode of the (exiled) Dalai Lama and is an Object of devout Tibetan-Buddhist Pilgrimage. Lhasa rose to Prominence as an important Centre of administrative Power in the 7th Century AD, when Srong tsen Gampo (618-649), a local Ruler in the Yarlung Valley conitnued the Task initiated by his Father of unifying Tibet. Srong tsen Gampo moved his Capital to Lhasa and built a Palace on the Site that is now occupied by the Potala Palace (seen on the Photo).
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Lhasa's  Heart in the old Tibetan Part of the Town is the Jokhang Temple. The Barkhor is Lhasa's intermediate Circumambulation Route, a Quadrangle of Streets that surrounds the Jokhang
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Copyright: Lonely Planet Publications, 3rd Edition, 1995

The Jokhang Temple (Tsuglagkhang) is the most revered religious Structure in Tibet. The estimated Date for the Jhokang's Founding range from 639 to 647 AD. Construction was initiated by Srong tsen Gampo to house a Buddha Image (Akshobya) brought to Tibet by his Nepalese Wife Princess Bhrikuti. At the same Time, Ramoche Temple was also constructed to house another Buddha Image (Jowo Sakyamuni) brought to Tibet by his Chinese Wife Princess Wencheng. After the Death of Srong tsen Gampo, Jowo Sakyamuni was moved from Ramoche and hidden in the Jokhang by Wencheng, who feared a Chinese Invasion: Photos: Forecourt in Front of the Jokhang

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Devout Tibetan Pilgrims entering the Jokhang
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Devout Tibetan Pilgrims before the Buddha Image of Jowo Sakyamuni in the Jokhang
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Images from the Roof of the Jokhang with Potala Palace in the Background
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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The Potala Palace from the South, from Chagpo Ri (Tibetan Medical College, established by the Great 5th Dalai Lama: destroyed in the Chinese Cultural Revolution in the 1960s)
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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The Potala Palace is situated on Marpo Ri, the 130 m "Red Hill", where Srong tsen Gampo erected the first Potala Palace in the 7th Century. The most Buildings of the Potala Palace were erected by the 5th Dalai Lama, Lobsang Gyatso, when he decided to move the Seat of the Gelug-Pa Government from Drepung to Lhasa. Work began on the Potrang Karpo (White Palace) in 1645. The Nine-Storey Structure was completed in 1649 and the Potrang Marpi (Red Palace) was only completed in 1694, after the Death of the 5th Dalai Lama in 1682
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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About eight km to the West of Central Lhasa lies Drepung, once the World's largest Monastery, with a Population of around 10 000 Monks, one of the three "Pillars of Buddhism" (together with the Monasteries Sera and Ganden). It has suffered through the Ages with Assaults by the Kings of Tsang and the Mongols, but it was left unscathed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Drepung was founded in 1416 by a Disciple of Tsong Kha-pa, Jamyang Chje. In 1530 the 2nd Dalai Lama established the Ganden Palace, which was Home to the Dalai Lamas until the 5th Dalai Lama built Potala Palace in Lhasa 
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Mani Stones with a Image of Tsong Kha-pa who established the Gelug-Pa (Yellow Hat Sect) in the 15th Century
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Main Buildings in the Drepung Monastery
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Maitreya (Dschampa), Buddha of the Future in the Drepung Monastery
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Sera, the "Second Pillar of Buddhism"   was founded in 1419 by a Disciple of Tsong Kha-pa, Sakya Yeshe. It lies around five km north of Lhasa. It once had a Monk Population of 5 000, to-day a Couple of Hundred remain. Sera survived the Ravages of the Chinese Cultural Revolution
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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View on Sera Monastery and Lhasa with the Potala Palace in the South
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Maitreya (Dschampa), Buddha of the Future in the Sera Monastery
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Ganden (4 500 m) the "Third Pillar of Buddhism"  was founded in 1417 by Tsong Kha-pa, the Founder of the Gelug-Pa Sect. It was completely destroyed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, but has been re-built since then
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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View on the Golden Tomb of Tsong Kha-pa at Ganden
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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The Tomb of Tsong Kha-pa at Ganden
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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