Drepung Monastery

Trip Start Feb 24, 2006
Trip End Dec 31, 2007

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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

After waiting an hour to get tickets for tomorrow into Potala Palace for tomorrow, we traveled by city bus to Drepung Monastery, a 15th century monastery once the largest monastic town in Tibet with over 10000 monks...today there are about 700.  We arrived and promptly missed a truck carrying people up the hillside and decided to hike it.  It's amazing the effect high altitude has on you as we were immediately out of breath and taking breaks.  It really makes you appreciate those people who summit high altitude peaks without oxygen!  After a few shortcuts through the woods that brought us in close contact with Tibetan animals such as goats and yaks, we made it to Drepung only to notice the massive number of stairs we would be climbing that day!  So we slowly strolled through the monastery, coming to the north side we came upon some exquisite rock paintings of Buddhas.  Intrigued, I began climbing up the hillside, ignoring the altitude pains, and after catching a second wind I decide to climb to the top to check out the paintings up close.  As the hills were so steep, it was pretty amazing to think of the monks painting those massive designs of the rock face of the huge boulders.  The height of the hill also gave me a great view of the area and part of Lhasa.  The view was so clear, there being no pollution, so I just sat awhile and enjoyed.  It was also a little sad to realize that my pollution-free view will be lost within the next 10-15 years as the new railway, as well as the Chinese influence, is resulting in both lessening the Tibetan influence and probably turning Lhasa into just another pollution-filled city like most others in China (I'm trying to avoid a tangent on the things happening here).  Anyway, after descending the hill we continued looking around the monastery before catching the truck and bus back into town...for tomorrow brings the Palace!
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