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Pilgrimage Walk

The Introduction To Shigatse

Pilgrim Walk

An interesting three-kilometer ( two-mile) walk leads back to the city by way of the giant Thangka Wall, the ruins of Shigatse's citadel or dzong and an open-air Tibetan market. It is important to do the walk returning from Tashilhunpo ( not starting from Shigatse ) to maintain a clockwise direction and avoid offending pilgrims on the path.

A sandy road parallel to the west wall of Tashilhunpo quickly becomes a well-worn path leading up behind the monastery, past prayer wheels and shrines, to the foot of the Thangka Wall, which cannot, however, be entered. Many paths crisscross Tara's Mountain above, up to the sacred, flag-festooned peak. The path divides at the Thangka Wall, one branch descending beside the easy wall to make a circle around the monastery, the other continuing level along the flank of the mountain towards Shigatse. After passing an array of carved and painted rocks it emerges below the rocky prominence that dominates the city. Here a hiker can either climb up to the ruins or take a right-hand route down to the market.

The dzong, totally destroyed in 1961, was once a small Potala covering the whole hilltop, with up-sweeping white walls that seemed to grow from the crags. It had a central Red Palace and turret-like fortifications at the outer ends. The formidable structure was seen as both a homage and a challenge to the power of Lhasa embodied in the real Potala. Only the foundations remain, but the site offers a magnificent view over Shigatse and its surrounding valleys.

The market below, just south of the dzong, consists of an organized street with neat, covered stalls, where Tibetan artifacts, jewelry, cloth, leather, copperware, and other items are for sale. Visitors may find shopping here easier than on the Barkhor in Lhasa. Prices are all open to bargaining.


Introduction Shigatse

Introduction Shigatse

Coracle Ride

Pilgrim Walk

Sakya Monastery

Salu Monastery

Gold, Silver & Copper

Shigatse Dzong


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