Sunday, September 24, 2006

Zanda and the ruins of the Guge Kingdom

"UN-BE-LIEV-ABLE! I was confused! It was like the moon!"
-Robert S.

Today I saw the Guge Kingdom ruins, an epicenter for Tibetan Buddhism, built over 1,000 years ago and thriving for some 500 years. I am in awe of what these people were able to accomplish given the harsh landscape and extreme weather conditions.

What makes this place special is the paintings (tankas) found on temple walls and cave walls in and around the palace ruins. The style is seen in only one other known place, near Ladahk, India. It's a shame the place is not well maintained and litter and a kind of grafiti (carved into the sandstone) is prevalent. Nonetheless, it is a special place and well worth the long, tough drive to get to the area and the challenging climb up to the top and climb down into the caves that comprise the Winter Palace.

A very fun dinner with jeep mates, extended jeep mates (we've become a convoy of 2 landcruisers, having adopted two Germans who have a similar itinerary -- or did they adopt us?) and a Swiss-German couple whom we met at the ruins -- at a boisterous, home-style Chinese/Tibetan restaurant (where there was only one price, they did not gouge the tourists) -- was a good follow-up and fuel-up after a long day of sand, sun, wind, bumpy roads and steep up and down climbs. I'm still smiling.


Anonymous D said...

Beautiful photos... and writing about your Tibetan impressions & experiences!

I hope you are well and taking good care of yourself.
Wondering where in the World (as they say) you are now? I'm very impressed by your strength on the various treks you have made so far. Hope you have enough relaxing times off too!

Be well,
Daniela x

7:22 PM  

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