Prostrating in Lhasa

Trip Start Aug 05, 2007
1
6
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Trip End Oct 01, 2007


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Saturday, August 11, 2007

We flew over to Lhasa and arrived at around 3pm. We then had a 2 hour drive to get over to Lhasa from teh airport. It was such a great drive. The houses here are so different ro south east asia and china. They almost look a bit middle eastern but with beautiful carvings and paintings all over them. We stopped on the way to have a look at some buddha images carved in the rocks. They were carved in the 7th century. White silky scarves represent good luck and good wishes so everyone takes a scarf there and ties a rock to it and then hurls it up onto the rock to show that they are sending good wishes to buddha. They also had a tub of incense burning at the bottom and that certianly wont be the last we see of incense. We make it into our hotel which is actually really nice and then head out for a bit of a walk through the old city. Its really just amazing, i love walking aroudn there. In the centre is Jokhang temple which is one of the major monasteries here in the city. There is a square walkway around it called the bangkor and everybody walks clockwise around it. Most tibetans walk around with prayer wheels in their hands and chanting as they circle the monastery. There are also a lot of people who stand outside and do this special prayer called prostration. They stand facing the temple and put their hands in prayer position on top of their head (signifying body), then at the face (signifying mind) and then at their chest (signifying heart) and then they lay down on their stomach and almost do a breastroke swimming type movemnt on the ground. Then stand up again. They do this at least 3 times but sometimes for a few hours or even a few years. One of the tibetan ladies who was doing it asked me if i wanted to have a turn on her mat, so i did. We have it on video but i'm having some problems loading up photos and videos on here so i'll do that when i get back to aus. Then we kept walking around to the restaurant. There we tried our first meal of Yak. Yes, yak. Its the traditional meat of tibet. They really only eat yak and mutton. And lots of it. Mark had a yak and potato stew. I had a curry, they also have a lot of indian meals in the tourist restaurants. I have to say the yak tasted good, just like beef really but a little stronger. Mark is a big yak fan.
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