We woke up in the morning to another beautiful day in Tsetang. However, before we finished breakfast, it had already started raining. It was a fairly light drizzle, so aside from needing to wear our rain gear, it didn’t interfere with the day.
And an amazing day it was!
We started off at Traduk Temple, an 8th century temple and monastery. It was finely decorated. Having been destroyed and refurbished many times over the years, the wall mural is only about 20 years old.
While researching the temple, I found this wonderful video (click on the word “video”) of the restoration showing the traditional Tibetan way of working on such structures. Tibetans have songs they sing for specific types of work and in this clip, you see them working almost as if they were a chorus line of singers and dancers in a show. It is not a performance. It is how they work!
Later we went on to Yumbulagang Palace. It is the first palace built in Tibet, according to legend, in the 2nd century BCE. Tibetan folklore holds that the first Tibetan king Nyatri Tsenpo was seen descending in this valley from a ladder from heaven. Herdsmen told the story and he became the first king. Over time, the palace retained its significance and it became the summer palace of the 33rd king Songtsen Gampo and his wife, the Chinese princess Wencheng.
The palace was high on a hill and the local people took advantage of the opportunity to profit. There were horses that one could ride to the top, guided by the people who owned them. Sadly, never having sat upon a horse, I had no clue as to how to mount one, and so after I almost caused the poor animal to fall on his side, I decided to walk up the mountain. My faithful husband and a few of our travelers walked with me, but most went up by horse. You can probably see them in the distance in the picture above.
The rooms inside serve as places of religious rite and pilgrimage rather than as rooms in which people dwelled. However, we did see some monks having soup, noodles, and yak butter tea in some of the rooms.
Here we are on the mountain with the palace behind us. Our raincoats were bought for us by kind travelers on a former tour who wanted to be able to find us in a crowd.
From the top of the mountain we were able to see the first cultivated field in Tibet. It is called Zortang. It is considered to be a very special field and until this day, there are farmers who will sprinkle soil from Zortang on their own fields to ensure a good harvest.
Here is Zortang
and yes, it is small.
Later in the day we made our way to Lhasa. But that’s a story for another day.