Surrounded by jagged mountains and steeped in mysticism, Lhasa continues to be defined by Buddhism. Busy markets, sweet incense and flowing yellow robes all greet you as you take your first step into the city. After spending hours gazing out of your airplane window at snow peaked mountains, the clouds finally open up to reveal a vast plain surrounded by mountains. It's as if you have arrived in another world of clouds, mountains and color. Lhasa is the heart of this Buddhist land hidden away in the mightiest mountain range in the world, the Himalayas.
In Lhasa you will find religion blended into every aspect of life -the city is the spiritual anchor of Tibet. Lhasa literally means “holy land” and it's a well-deserved name. With many holy sites, Lhasa is an Important Place of pilgrimage for people from all over Tibet who stream into the city from far-flung villages. They are easily identifiable with their prayer flags and prayer wheels; the signs of devotion abound throughout the land. It's easy to forget that you re already at an altitude of nearly 12 ,000 feet (3,650 m) as you look at the towering mountains that surround Lhasa, but that's why Tibet is also known as the"rooftop of the world. " The 58-mile(93 km)trip from the airport to the city follows the winding path of the scenic Lhasa River, past families working in fields of barley and yellow canola flowers and young monks walking along the roadside. Vivid colors are set against the mountains surrounded by ever-changing clouds and the deep blue sky.
Lhasa itself is a noisy vibrant city, a mixture of old and modern. The city has an eclectic mix of people, Tibetans with their colorful clothes, Sichuan migrants with their spicy cuisine, as well as explorers, mountaineers and tourists from all over the world. There is a saying describing Tibetans, “that if a Tibetan can talk, he can sing if he can walk, he can dance.” This aptly describes their lively and vibrant culture.