This is a continuation of my journey to Tibet, Tibet - A Journey Remembered (Part 1), which took place in October 2005. With these posts I am hoping to convey a sense of what I saw and what I felt during my short stay in Lhasa.
While there we had the opportunity to see the Jokhang Temple. The interior was incredible. Being a people watcher, I tended to spend more time looking at the crowds which were quite large. We happened to be there during a holy time which mean an increase in the number of people visiting the temple. Lines formed with people waiting to enter and it gave me time to take more pictures.
Some of the garments that the women wore were very beautiful. Although they did not appear to be wealthy they must have spent a considerable amount of money on these particular outfits.
Others were there in what appeared to be everyday clothing but perhaps they were their dress clothes as well. We were told that many traveled long distances, and often by foot, to be able to go to the temple for this special holy day.
The streets were full of vendors selling a variety of items and it gave the area a festive look but the people appeared to be very somber. I did not see many people smiling. It may just be a cultural thing but it was a bit unusual. Most countries I have been to the people have appeared more animated and friendly, even communist countries during the cold war. Perhaps it has to do with the geography as well. Tibet is a very isolated country.
There are a number of other monasteries and temples in this predominately Buddhist country. I probably need to correct that statement. The Tibetans are predominately Buddhist, however, they are now in the minority given the shift in the population structure at the hands of the Chinese government.
What intrigued me was the drabness of much of the attire which was in direct contrast to the colorfully painted windows on many of the buildings, the flower pots with pretty flowers blooming, and the items being sold within the shops and by the street vendors. The colors were vivid and varied. The difference was striking.
It makes you realize that throughout the world, the love of color and the happiness it brings to the lives of people, is universal.
Again, I urge you to take the opportunity if it ever comes your way to visit this very special place. Get off the beaten path and enjoy the experience!