Maria travelled to Tibet with Rickshaw in 2014 and was kind enough to share her beautiful photos and blog with us on her return… enjoy!
“Tibet is one of those destinations that I have always dreamed of visiting. In fact, even once I’d finally arrived there it still felt like a dream. Tibet is a place where the air that you breathe feels like magic, the symbolism and traditions are so rich, the smiling faces that you see all around you become very familiar, and where spirituality is the base of daily life. It literally took my breath away.
After the funniest 50 hours spent on the oxygen train heading to the top of the Earth, passing through spectacular landscapes; from deserts to snow scenes all around us, we reached the starting point of our trip; the Capital, Lhasa.
In the old city, we were delighted with fascinating visits to Potala palace (a World Heritage Site and the past home of the Dalai lama), the Johkang temple (which for most Tibetans it is the most sacred and important temple in Tibet), the Sera monastery and Deprung monastery, which are places of rich architecture; draped in golden ribbons where chanting monks cloaked in a rich purple and reds congregated. I felt privileged to witness the pilgrims circle the Johkang temple after sunset; bending down on the floor every third step performing austerities for penance, not dissimilar to a sun salutation.
From there, we travelled by minibus to Gyantse where the feel of the old Tibet still remained as a modern day life style. We passed many sacred and beautiful lakes and the scenery seemed unreal; too perfect to be something that you could see with your own eyes or feel with your five senses. Gyantse was a place where we happily got lost walking through the little alleyways where, in every doorway, we’d find a yak or cow with their flat pats drying everywhere to be later burned as fuel.
The following days took us to Shigatse and its magnificent Thasilumpo monastery located on a hill in the centre of the city. We discovered that walking around it before sunset makes the magic of the moment more alive. We enjoyed exploring Sakya with its nunnery, bread rolls and curious children around wanting help with their homework.
Next stop was Rongbuk (clue: is where the highest monastery on the earth is located) and before I knew it the time had arrived to hike to the Everest base camp just 5300 metres high above the sea! Oxygen is limited but having the startling view of the highest peak of the world in front rendered me speechless and an image that will stay imprinted in my mind forever.
Lao Tingri is where we slept the last night in Tibet surrounded by nature, silence; a place where you can try to pull yourself back together before leaving one of the most astounding destinations on this planet.
Tibet is a place where nomad-ism, farming and cattle raising remain the main cornerstones of the economy, where life conditions are extreme all year round and where the beliefs, purity and spiritually are what carry the people.
It is a place of stark natural beauty with fluttering prayer flags filling the air with colour and hope, and with the culture of a community that needs to be seen with your own eyes, touched by your own hands and skin, and felt by your own heart.”