Xigatse City - The Most Beautiful City !Having the best is always been the mark of the superior, and the case is no different with Xigatse as well. The city has hit the top in the count of tourist and adventurers that come here to witness the might and grandeur of the highest peak in the world, Mt. Everest. Located around 300 km west of Lhasa, this second largest city of Tibet whose name means 'Fertile Land' is situated at an altitude of 3800 m above sea level. This 600 year old ancient city also the meeting point of holy Brahmaputra and Nyangchu rivers, is religiously important as well, as this is the traditional abode of the Panchen Lama, the second most important spiritual figure in Tibet. Xigatse, over the time has undergone several face lifts and now is one of the most advanced cities in Tibet. The place is a treat for people who like to shop till they drop. The markets in the area absolute brims with varieties of unique items. The specialty is without a doubt the handicrafts of the city. The national handicraft industry produces items completely unique in style and quality. You can also look for the locally made carpets, traditional wears and the famous Tibetan knives.
Although it is situated at a slightly higher side of the altitude, but the summers here are quite pleasant, though a bit wet. Winters can be a little harsh, as it is quite windy and dry, so plan your trip accordingly and take all the precautions required. Not many banks in Tibet except foreign checks, but the Bank of China in Xigatse does convert traveler's checks, so before you head towards other cities of Tibet, don't forget to acquire some local money. Try to come here in the month of June, as then you will be able to witness the spectacular Buddha Unfolding Festival, which is something special.
What to See and Do In Xigatse City !The city is dotted with some of the most sublime and important monasteries like Sakya Monastery and Tashilhunpo Monastery apart from the grand Mt. Everest which is the highest peak in the world. You will see all kinds of water bodies in the city, the best of lakes, rivers, streams, glaciers, you name it and Xigatse has it.
No need to introduce this mighty giant. The highest and the most celebrated peak of all in the world, Mt. Everest leaves no stone unturned in overpowering your senses. The Everest, also called as Qomolangma in Tibet, has its tip covered with snow through out the year. This peak is virtually worshiped by all mountaineers as climbing to the top of this mountain is the biggest challenge and the ultimate goal in any mountaineer's life. You as a tourist can also get the same fun, ecstasy and feel the same rush of blood but in an easy way, just stand on the foot of this prodigious part of earth. It is advisable that you choose a time when the rains are away to visit Mt. Everest, possibly in April to July.
The monastery is famous for it's unique architecture and the 'Bodhi Stupa' or 'Kumbum'. Built in the year 1427, the monastery has gained the position as the Lord of Tibetan Stupas. The Palkhor monastery is a classical example of age old Tibetan monasteries as it houses both, a temple and a Stupa. What you would find most interesting can be the mural paintings on the wall that depicts stories of Buddha. You will notice that the painting style in this monastery is quite different from paintings that one seen in other monasteries. Visit the monastery on 15th of April according to Tibetan calendar Saka Dawa festival is celebrated, the birthday of Sakyamuni. An absolute gala, to say the least. The monastery is open from 9 in the morning till 4 in the evening.
Sakya Monastery is the first monastery of Sakyapa Sect. Like other monasteries, this one is also famous for its uniqueness. The monastery is more than 900 years old and has the collection of few of the most valuable pieces of Tibetan history. Most important of all are the handwritten sutras of about 3000 in number. The main attraction of the monastery is the central hall called Lakhang Chenmo Hall. The name of the monastery means 'Grey Soil' because of its surroundings heavily dominated by grey colour. The monastery is open from 9 AM to 12 noon and reopens at 2 PM till 6.30 PM.
Located at the foot of Tara's Mountain this is the most prominent structure of the Xigatse city and over the time has become a land mark for the city. The Tashilhunpo monastery is one of the six biggest monasteries of yellow Hat Sect. The monastery was built by the first Dalai Lama in the year 1447 and was reconstructed by the fourth Panchen Lama and since then it has been the seat of Panchen Lamas. Inside the monastery, you will have the moments that will be tough to get mitigated from your memory. The Maitreya chapel, the main hall, houses the biggest statue of sitting Maitreya Buddha. It towers up to 26.2 m and is ornamented with huge quantity of gold, pearls and jewels. The chapel is divided into many floors, so go to top floor from where you will get the best views of the magnificent Buddha statue. You can visit the monastery from 9 AM to 12 noon and from 2 PM to 5 PM.
Where to Stay In Xigatse City !The city is an absolute delight compared to its counterparts when it comes to staying options. The city has numerous star category hotels apart from countless budget hotels. The hotels are not only good for tourists, but they are also equipped with all business facilities. The city has been a host to many business visitors who all have left completely satisfied. The most reputed of all is the Shigatse Hotel famous for its outstanding services. Other good hotels are Shigatse Shangdong building, Gyantse Hotel, Zhannglin Hotel and Zhangmu Hotel.
How to Reach Xigatse City !By Road
Transportation in and out of Xigatse hugely depends on road travel. That is why the connection of roads with other cities is fairly good. There are highways to all major cities of Tibet. Buses are the main mode of transportation on these highways.
Apart from privately run buses, you can hire Taxis that are the most convenient way of traveling inside the city. And since Xigatse is not a huge area, one can also walk through the narrow lanes of the city, though it is not advisable for people with health problems as the city is at a high altitude.
Want to Know More About Xigatse city !The best time to travel to Xigatse city is from May to July. That is the time when the temperatures is neither too high nor too low. Here you can see the Tibetan handicraft industry offering some of its original stuff. Women particularly will find the gold and silver ware quite appealing. Even the silk covers for cushions are a huge hit among women. And what about men, well, even they will find many items of their interest, like traditional bracelets, unique boots that become a kind of necessity, as these boots are stitched suited to Tibetan terrain.
Xigatse, no doubt has become the favorite spot of adventurers because of Mt. Everest that stands tall on this land. The routes around Mt. Everest are the most challenging in entire Tibet, probably in entire world. Darchen to Mt. Everest is the most favored trek route of all. Apart from shopping and adventure, you can also enjoy number of live performances of Tibetan opera, which is a specialty of Xigatse city. As the city is the second biggest in Tibet and requires a lot of time to explore, atleast keep 3 to 4 days with you when you are traveling in Xigatse.