Tibet Map | Religion of Tibet | History of Tibet

Tibet is now an autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China. Geographically, it is a vast area of mountains and plateaus. The vast area of arid plateau covers an area of 2.5 million square kilometers.  Tibet is a historic region in central Asia with a unique Tibet Map. Initially, it was an independent Buddhist kingdom.

Tibet is also known as “The Roof of the World”. Traditionally, it is the homeland of the Tibetan people and other ethnic groups. In addition to this, it is the land of unique and exceptional topography, biodiversity, and cultures. The region is located across the mighty Himalayas. Therefore, it remained as the hidden valley for centuries. So that Tibet has a pristine and unspoiled environment, cultures, and traditions.

The history of Tibet is so long and it has always been anthologized as the most civilized and well-developed country.  Historians and scholars believe that the history of Tibet was started at around 127 BC by Yarlung Dynasty. Besides, it was first unified in the 7th Century by Songtsen Gompo and his successors.  And it has remained as the mightiest power in central Asia for many years.

In conclusion, Tibet has remained an independent nation until 1949. It was popular as a rich cultural storehouse and fertile ground of the Mahayana and Vajrayana communities of Buddhism. Tibet did not have contact with the outside world and was under the sovereign rule of Dalai Lama, the spiritual and political leader of Tibet. Communist China invaded Tibet in 1950 which led to the complete overthrow of the Tibetan government and exploitation of distinct Tibetan art, language, and literature.

Tibet Map

Tibet is a remote, unique, and fascinating region in the roof of the world. It is a hidden kingdom with the most beautiful and towering mountains of the world. Tibet is a mysterious land. It has been an independent nation until 1949. Communist China invaded Tibet in 1950. After that, it has undergone significant changes and the cartographer has not mentioned all those changes in the map and it has become a little bit complicated task to locate Tibet on the map. Therefore, many people don’t know about this ancient country. Here I am going to tell you something about the map of Tibet.

Geographical Map of Tibet

The geographical map of Tibet consists of the world’s highest and largest plateau. The vast landscapes of Tibet stretch from alpine green forest to arid landscapes. The region completely falls behind the Himalayas. As a result, it is a rain-shadow zone.

Tibet covers a total area of 471,900 square miles / 1,221, 700 square kilometers. It extends 2,600 Km from West to East and 1,300 from North to South where high Himalayan is the barrier bordering neighboring countries. Tibet’s exact location is marked at 78° to 90° Longitude at the East and from 28° to 37° Latitude at the North. 

Tibet with an average elevation of over 3000 meters / 8,000 ft reaches above 5,000 m where some villages are located even above 4,000 m high, where snow-capped peak ranges from above 5,500 m, 6,000 m, 7000 m to 8,848 m which is the top of Mt. Everest.

The world’s highest mountains within Tibet are Mt. Everest, Cho-Oyu, Shisapangma, and other over 6000 meters peaks. The southern border links Nepal and towards south West with India and Pakistan and towards south-east Bhutan, Sikkim, and to Myanmar.

Moreover, Tibet has a 20 % forested area, 40 % farmland and agriculture fields with 40 % of desolate, the arid, and windswept desert-like territory where some of the world’s highest and largest salt lakes exist in all parts of Tibet. The holy Manasarover Lake, Rakshas Tal (lake) Pigatsho Lake, The turquoise color lake of  Yamdrok Tsho, and beautiful Nam-Tsho Lakes are some of the most beautiful and notable lakes in the Tibetan Territory. The Brahmaputra (Yarlung Tsangpo), Karnali-Sutlej, and Arun Rivers are some of the rivers that fed on the glacier of the Tibetan mountains. 

Political Map of Tibet

Tibet is a large region. It is the second-largest region in China. It has a municipality and six prefectures. There are 72 counties and about 3.3 million people reside in Tibet. The capital city of Tibet is Lhasa. That is to say, Lhasa is a municipality whereas Shigatse, Nagri, Lhaoka, Chamdo, Nakchu, and Nyingtri are the prefectures.

Travel Map of Tibet

Tibet is the most historic and naturally blessed region. It has several tourist attractions. Therefore, a travel map is a must for anyone who visits Tibet. Due to the unique features of Tibetan geography, culture, customs, and history, Tibet has been in the bucket list of the Tourists. Travel Map of Tibet locates the important destinations in different prefectures. Such types of maps shoe important monuments, holy lakes, sacred mountains, etc.

Trekking Map of Tibet

Tibet has a mountainous terrain. Besides having the arid topography, Tibet has many glacial lakes and valleys. The landscape of Tibet is amazing and it has some unique trekking trails in the world. Some of the most sought after treks in Tibet is Mount Kailash Trek, Ganden to Samye Trek, Tangri to EBC Trek, etc. The treks of Tibet are picturesque, holy, and challenging. A Trekking Map of Tibet is a must for having a clear idea about the popular trekking destinations in Tibet.

Where is Tibet

Tibet is a mysterious land. It has an unusual history and customary traditions. But many people don’t know where this mystic land is. Here is a short description of the location of Tibet.

No doubt, Tibet is located in central Asia. It is an autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China. To be more precise, it is located in the south-west of China. Tibet shares its border with India, Nepal, Myanmar, and Bhutan in the south. It is located in the Qinghai Tibet Plateau with an average altitude of 4000 meters.

Shalu Monastery Sightseeing

If you are still having trouble locating Tibet on the map, Tibet is located beyond the Himalayas. I mean, it just behind the eastern part of the Himalayas.

If you want to track the exact location of Tibet, it is between 78˚ 24’ E to 104˚ 47’ E longitudes and 26˚ 2’ N to 40˚ 3’ N latitudes in the heart of Asia.

Tibet Mountains

Tibet is best known for its mountainous topography.  Tibetan Plateau holds a significant number of high mountains. Recognized as the roof of the world, Tibet is home to several of the world’s highest mountains including Mount Everest, the highest mountain of the world. Tibet is not only popular for the Himalayas,  but also for the numerous Transhimalaya that run across the plateau. And some of those mountains are considered as the most sacred mountains in the world.

Tibetan Buddhism considers mountains as a holy piece of land. Tibetan people believe that mountains are the home of gods and goddesses. Therefore, they have a special respect for those mountains. For them to walk on the slope of those mountains is sacrilege.  Here I have a short description of some of the most dignified mountains of Tibet.

Mount Kailash

Mount Kailash is a legendary mountain peak located in the western Tibet. It is considered as the most sacred mountain in Tibetan Buddhism. The peak has special respect in Buddhism. It is also duly respected in Hinduism, Jain, and Bon religions.

The unique pyramid-shaped mountain is also believed to be the center of the Universe.  It is 6,638 m tall. Though the mountain peak has a special position in Tibetan Buddhism and other religions, it is the least visited mountain. The location of the mountain is very remote. It is about 1220 Km far from the Tibetan capital, Lhasa.

Mount Shishapangma

Mount Shishapangma is the 14th highest mountain in the world. It is  8,027 m (26,335 ft) high above the sea level. It is located in southern Tibet and the mountain peak is not in the main Himalayan range. Although this mountain peak is the shortest 8000 meters peak among the fourteen it is the tough competitor. Shishapangma, known as “the god of the grassland” in Tibet is the only 8000 m peak located entirely in Tibet. It is a hidden jewel of Tibet and it is located west of Everest, behind the Langtang Range. The mountain peak is popular for its incredible beauty. The beautiful landscapes of the Tibetan Plateau seen from here are mind-blowing.

Mount Namjagbarwa

Mount Namjagbarwa, also known as Namche Barwa is one of the most beautiful snow-capped mountains in China. It is 7,782 m tall. This stunning peak is on the eastern edge of the Himalayas in the southwest of Tibet.

Mount Namjagbarwa is also noted as the 15th highest mountain in the world. Besides, it is the third most prominent mountain in the entire Himalayas, after Mount Everest and Nanga Parbat in Pakistan. This mountain is also considered as one of the holiest mountains as the local people believe that gods and goddesses gather at the peak of this mountain for ritual ceremonies. The local people also believe that a divine temple with a pathway to heaven once existed on the summit.

Mount Kwagarbo

Mount Kwagarbo (Meili Snow Mountain) is located in mainland China at Yunnan Province. It is also one of the holiest sites in Tibetan Buddhism.  Mount Kwagarbo is a small multi-peaked range with the highest peak Mount Kagebo (6,740m). It is a major pilgrimage site in Tibet. The range consists of 13 peaks in total and is one of the Eight Divine Mountains of Tibetan Buddhism.

The mountain is held in high regard by the Tibetan people as the home of their Guardian god. They also believe that if they step on the slope of this peak the god will be disappointed and they will have to bear the misfortune. Moreover, the mountain is also popular for its ecstatic beauty as it is one of the most beautiful mountains in the world.

Himalaya Mountains

The Himalayas is the longest as well as the highest mountain range in the world. The Himalayas stretch from northeast Pakistan in the west through Nepal, India, Bhutan, to southwest China in the east. The range is about 2400Km long with 50 mountains that exceed 7200 meters, and home to the 10 of the 14 highest peaks of the world, all of which are more than 8000 meters.

Mount Everest, the highest mountain peak in the world, is the major tourist attraction in the world. In Tibet, Mount Everest Base Camp has become one of the top tourist attractions in China. Every year, thousands of tourists head towards Tibet to trek on the EBC at the northern face. The Everest is a magnificent peak with extraordinary scenery. Similarly, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, Kanchenjunga are other major peaks of the Himalayas.

Tibet Language

The Tibetan language is the main language spoken in Tibet. It is a language spoken by 6 million people in Tibet alone. The Tibetan language is a member of the Tibeto Burman Subgroup of the Sino Tibetan Languages. Some linguists even believe that the root of the Tibetan Language is Sanskrit.

The people of Tibet also speak several languages. Though the official language of China is Mandarin Chinese many Tibetans speak Tibetan and other dialects. The Tibetan language is mainly spoken in Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, and the northern part of India including Sikkim.

Potala PalaceTibet Sightseeeing

Many linguists agree that the Tibetan language has more than 220 Tibetan dialects and can be divided into 25 dialect groups. The standard Tibetan language is spoken in central Tibet and Lhasa. Similarly, the Tibetan language spoken in the southern and western regions of Tibet is a little bit conservative.

Some of the very popular Tibetan dialects groups include Khams, Amdo, Dzongkha, Lakha, Naapa, Brokpa, Groma, etc. The Tibetan language follows the ancient Sanskrit Language writing style. Though it seems like a conservative language it is written in a beautiful syllabary script.

Apart from the Tibetan language and the associating dialects, the official Chinese language, Hindi, and Nepali languages are spoken in Tibet. Similarly, English is also spoken by the people who are involved in the tourism business in Tibet.

Tibet Religion

Tibet has made its distinct identity as the Buddhist Kingdom. Buddhism was introduced in Tibet in the 8th century. Buddhism has remained as a dominant religion in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China and partly in the provinces like Qinghai and Sichuan even today. Before Buddhism was introduced in Tibet, they practice Shamanic and Animistic religions. Bon religion is also practiced by very few members of Tibetan Buddhism.

Bon is the ancient religion of Tibet. Tibetan Buddhism is now in wider practice in Tibet. Tibetan Buddhism, a distinctive form of Mahayana and Vajrayana has made a significant hold in Tibet at present. It is not only in practice in Tibet but also in Mongolia, Parts of India, and other parts of China.

Tibetan Buddhism has four main traditions: Gelug(pa), Kagyu(pa), Nyingma(pa), and Sakya(pa). Besides that Tibetan people also profess Chinese Ethnic Religion and Chinese Folk Religions.

Some Tibetan people also have faith in Christianity and Islam.

Top Ten Facts about Tibet

Tibet is the highest land on earth. The towering mountains, deep valleys, and verdant forests offer unbounded opportunities for walking. Therefore, it is a dream destination for travelers. The wonders of Tibet’s natural environment, the intact and aged old culture, and Tibetan civilizations are the subjects of interest for anyone of us. Tibet is a mystic piece of land as well. There are many interesting facts about Tibet that are hard to believe. Here is the list of some of the surprising facts about Tibet:

  • Tibetan practices Sky Burial where dead bodies are chopped and left to be eaten by the vultures. It is believed that the vultures take the dead to heaven.
  • Foreign travel to Tibet used to be restricted. Tourists were first permitted to enter Tibet in 1980.
  • The peaceful Buddhist country of Tibet was invaded by Communists China in 1949. Since then, over 1.2 million out of 6 Tibetans have been killed, over 6000 monasteries have been destroyed, and thousands of Tibetans have been imprisoned. 
  • In Tibet today, there is no freedom of speech, religion, or press and arbitrary dissidents continue. 
  • The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s political and spiritual leader, fled to India in 1959. He now lives among over 100,000 other Tibetan refugees and their government in exile. 
  • Forced abortion, sterilization of Tibetan women, and the transfer of low-income Chinese citizens threaten the survival of Tibet’s unique culture. In some Tibetan provinces, Chinese settlers outnumber Tibetans 7 to 1. 
  • Within China itself, massive human rights abuses continue. It is estimated that there up to twenty million Chinese citizens working in prison camps. 
  • Most of the Tibetan plateau lies above 14,000 feet. Tibet is the source of five of Asia’s greatest rivers, which over 2 billion people depend upon. Since 1959, the Chinese government estimates that they have removed over $54 billion worth of timber. Over 80% of their forests have been destroyed and large amounts of nuclear and toxic wastes have been disposed of in Tibet. 

Some Notable Treks in Tibet

The beautiful mountains, valleys, lush forests, ancient cities are some of the most important highlights of Tibet that attract travelers from across the globe. Everything in Tibet is attractive and everything looks special. The extreme climate, loftiest mountains, undulating and vast arid lands, high passes, ancient cities with the most famous landmarks welcome us in Tibet.

Tibet, which is also known as the “Roof of the World” or the “Third Pole” is the land on the earth the most unique features. Here are some insights about the popular treks in Tibet.

Mount Kailash Trek: Best Cultural Trek

Mount Kailash (6,714 m) is a holy mountain. People believe that this is the most sacred mountain of the world and adobe of Lord Shiva. The mountain is the center of belief for Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, and Bon people. Many people trek to this mountain as a pilgrimage and with a holistic approach.

Early morning sunrise over holy Mt. Kailash

The mountain itself lies in a remote part of the Tibetan Himalayas just to the north of the border between Nepal and India. It’s a 52km (30 miles) circuit that normally takes 3 days to complete. It’s a long but exceptionally scenic journey just to reach the mountain that requires 4 days of driving from either Kathmandu or Lhasa. If you are in a hurry and can afford it you can join wealthy pilgrims on a helicopter.

Everest Base Camp Trek

This is the most famous and spectacular trek in Tibet. This is the trek to the foot of the tallest mountain of the world, Mount Everest on the northern side. The Everest Base camp at the northern side is at an altitude of 5150 m.  This is also referred to as the world’s highest elevation trek. The trek starts from a monastery at Rongbuk from where you can directly see the Mount Everest. One can easily get to Rongbuk from Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet. Below the Rongbuk monastery is the valley with the same name and the sight of the valley from here is incomparable. From here, it is only 22 Km to the advanced base camp. However, you are going to attain an altitude of 4300 ft. This is the same route used for Everest expeditions from northern col.

Gyama Valley Trek

Gyama Valley is acclaimed to be one of the most beautiful valleys in the world. The trek to the Gyama Valley leads us towards the base of Makalu and Everest from the east. This trek is very remote and hardly any tourists visit there. However, this trek is best for the unique collection of wildflowers including Orchid and Azaleas.

The high point on the trek is Shauwula Pass at 4900m. The Gyama trek is also a package to study the locals from a variety of cultures such as the Monpa, Lhoba, and Sherpa who still maintain the traditional ways.

Mount Shishapangma Base Camp Trek

Mount Shishapangma is one out of the 14 peaks that are 8000er. You can make the dramatic trek to base camp 4980 m in as little as a week. If you have an extra few days, continue to Advanced Base Camp at 5400m (17,700 feet). The hiking here is not as difficult as it is mostly on decent trails and then across the rockier moraines to the base camp. Most of the time trekkers need to arrange to go as part of an organized climbing group but of course, will return after meeting their objective. Either way, this trek is a great way to get a close look at one of the world’s greatest mountains.

Ganden to Samye Trek: Best Long Trek

Jokhang Temple Lhasa

Ganden and Samye are two of the most sacred, most magnificent, and notable monasteries in Tibet. This trek is one of the closest and shortest treks to Lhasa. Despite the relative ease of logistics it has great mountain views and is a challenging trek that includes crossing over Chitu La and Shug La, both these passes exceed 5000 m. The ruins of Ganden at the start are built high on a cliff and are the attraction for many on day trips from Lhasa. One reaches the Samye Monastery at the end of the trek which is significant as the first Buddhist monastery to be built in Tibet and many Buddhists make a pilgrimage from across Tibet to visit this site.

Tsurphu to YangpachenTrek

This Trek is best to study the lives of the Drokpa people and have a clear insight into the Tibetan plateau. On this trek, trekkers will cross many alpine valleys unless they reach the broad and rich valley of Yangpachen. The most interesting part of this trek is that you will have the most beautiful panoramas of the towering mountains in the distance. It is a trek that is best to see the wilderness of the Tibetan plateau and get a rare glimpse of the lives of the traditional people.

Namtso Lake Trek

Namtso Lake is known as the most sacred lake in Tibet.  This lake allures a good number of travelers & pilgrims every year. Namtso Lake Trek can take from seven to ten days. Namtso Lake is located near Damxung at an altitude of 4718 meters above sea level and covers 1900 square kilometers. Each year, many Buddhists come to the lake to pay homage and pray. This is a perfect chance to enjoy the view of the ravishing lake while experiencing Tibetan Buddhist culture.

Conclusion

If you are planning to go on a perfect trek, Tibet should be your next destination. Tibet is the home of some of the tallest mountains of the world. The trek to Tibet is very much suitable to have diverse experiences. There are high mountains to deep lush valleys, mesmerizing lakes, exotic wildlife, sensational moonscapes, and more.

I assure you that there are no other places in this world that can be compared with Tibet. It is a must to visit places in the world once in a lifetime.  If I were you, I would have booked this trek, what are you thinking of…?

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