Tea Horse Road (茶馬古道) – A Glimpse of the Ancient Odyssey

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Route of Tea Horse Road

Since the heydays of Tang dynasty (618-907 AD), time often elapsed with throngs of horse caravans wading through the endlessly steep road.  Across undulating hill chains and meandering rivers of the mountain Range, women of Bulang ethnic group were picking pu’er tea leaves, a distinct form of broad leaf tea in Yunnan, in a verdant agro-forest.  Besides the four-foot-wide cobblestone paths, scraggy porters were carrying backbreaking loads of freshly-made tea in this legendary trail, a harsh 2,250km trail stretching from the hillside plantation of Xishuangbanna in Yunnan to Tibet’s capital city of Lhasa, and from there to Southeast Asia, before reaching to the Indian subcontinent.

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Namtso (納木錯) – A Lake Nearest to Heaven

(12th June) Namtso lake was as charmingly blue as the sky, making visitors difficult to distinguish their boundary.  We were so close to the sky, ever in our first time, free from any murky pollution that gloomed elsewhere, but radiant in its purest form.  Far from hustle and bustle, I felt as if we had just landed on a fairyland endowed by undulating hills and boundless pastures in the Tibetan Plateau, and also the calmness of the heavenly lake.

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Jokhang (大昭寺) – Mecca of Tibetan Buddhism

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Entrance of Jokhang

(9th June) No journey in Lhasa would be completed without visiting Jokhang, the inseparable place of Tibetan Buddhism.  As the tour bus sped from the Potala Palace for just a few miles, a magnificent monastery in shades of gold and claret appeared in our eyes, nearer and clearer.  Here we found ourselves wandering through its wooden columns and door frames, in search of the most sacred statue of Buddha at the heart of the city.

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Potala Palace (布達拉宮) – A Paradise of Spiritual Pureness

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(9th June)  In the midst of Lhasa city, lying peacefully across the high-altitude Plateau, stands an infamous landmark that soars above the natural plains and rocky mountains.  For centuries, the faraway sight of its white-washed walls and red-lined roofs, for many long-awaited pilgrims and tourists,  has connoted to a warm welcome after their arduous journey, come rain or shine.  When our eyes finally settled on this palace under the azure sky, we all knew our endeavour and days of impatient waiting are worthwhile.

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