Literally translated, Lhasa means ‘place of the gods’, an apt title for a city steeped in clouds and traditional Buddhist lore. Rising almost 3,500 metres above sea level, Lhasa, the capital of China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, is one of the highest cities in the world and the former seat of the Tibetan Empire. Religious activity is everywhere, from monks spinning their prayer wheels to aspirants meditating before statues of Buddha.
Surrounded by the Himalayan mountains and the Kyi River, a small tributary of the Yarlung Tsangpo River, Lhasa’s location atop the Tibetan Plateau renders it a place of expansive and otherworldly beauty. Chief among the city’s historic and religious architecture is the Jokhang Temple, considered by many to be the most sacred temple in Tibet. Originally constructed around 642, it is still an important site for Buddhist pilgrimages.