Kari Kobler's Mount Everest 2002 Expedition

Kari Kobler

Above the Clouds to Lhasa: Unforgettable Trip along the Himalayan Chain towards Lhasa with a first look at our high goal Sight Seeing in Lhasa

The impressing flight to Lhasa on April 6th revealed a grand northern view at the ever snow covered heights of the Himalayans - and in the distance, the giant on whose face we will blow the lungs out of our chests. What a long way! Hearts skip beats, and through the small plane windows cameras are pointed at the mountain. Then, Lhasa: the magical and mysterious name implies gone-by glorious times. Memories of Harrer's "Seven Years in Tibet", movie scenes flicker by. The Potala Palace thrones high above in the background, dominating the metropolis with its glory. An exciting, capturing view. Made from white stone which was used during the first building period 1645-1648 under the fifth Dalai Lama, and shimmering brown-red, thin, horizontally laid wood sticks, which represent the expansion and finishing phase in 1694, the palace fascinates with its size. The base consist of walls six (18feet) meters thick. Despite varying and displaced buildings, seemingly asymmetrical, there is no disharmony, rather a wonderful unity instead. The palace hasn't lost any of its glory; however, it stands in sharp contrast to the ever growing modern Chinese city, and one is made aware of the change in times.

Amazed, we trot through the semi dark interior of the Potala, barely lit by sparse beams of sunlight which peek through small windows, and by the thousands of butter candles which spread their unmistakable odor. The artistry of the bronze statues, paintings, wood carvings and murals is impressive. No wall or pillar is left out. Halls, chambers and rooms - in the hundreds - are connected by sometimes dangerously steep staircases. Here, also, the artistry is impressive. Bathing in the warm sun, we enjoy a wide view from the roof across the plateau. 

Below, the modern buildings, proof of the Chinese settlement program, border on the old local structures, a mixed image not necessarily enjoyable for our European eyes. And they build on, the Chinese. In the middle of the old walls there is the most important Tibetan temple, Jokhang, which is rounded day in day out by thousands of believers visiting from the most remote areas of Tibet, mumbling their prayers or turning the prayer drums. It is joy to simply sit down and watch the spectacle. Today, April 8th, we continue on by bus across the 5000m passes Kyogala La and Korala to Gyantze.

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