Anthony's Interesting Times 2004 travel blog

Inside Tashilhunpo Monastery, Shigatse

Outside the debating hall, Tashilhunpo Monastery

Tibetans at Tashilhunpo

A break from the debating

My headache got so bad it woke me up in the night, but Nurofen seems to have sorted it, and I felt a lot better this morning. After waking all the staff up so we could have breakfast, Tashi took Yumi, Jorchen and I up to the Monastery. We wandered around the temple, and then I lost them after a trip to the evil toilets, so explored the Kimbum more thoroughly on my own. And then I decided to miss the fort, as it is at the top of a dirty great hill, and I don't want my headache back.

After lunch we drove to Shigatse, on nice paved level roads. The first hotel was rejected for lack of hot water, and after much tenacious negotiation by Peggy, we got in our nicest hotel yet, again Jorchen, Yumi and I sharing.

And then to the Tashilhunpo Monastry, which was great, difficult to photo, though as nowhere in town will let me use USB anyway...There was a huge golden Maitreya Buddha in one chapel, and another chapel dedicated to the last Panchen Lama, which was amazing, huge and colourful. There were also a huge number of monks and pilgrims up to somethng, not sure what, perhaps more public debating, but looked great.

As I said before, the Panchen Lama is as important as the Dalai Lama in Tibet, and Shigatse is his base, and where the last one died. His replacement was identified by the Dalai Lama, and then 'disappeared' into Chinese protective custody. The local Abbott was obliged to identify another, who is being 'educated' in Beijing as we speak. It is clear that the Chinese want him to replace the DL in Tibetan hearts - unlikely.

And then wandering around the old Tibetan part of town, and more yak for tea.

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