About Tibet “Roof of the World”
Tibet is the highest region on earth a plateau region north of the Himalayas, it shares national borders with India, Kashmir, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim and Myanmar in the south and west, while within China it abuts Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Qinghai, Sichuan, and Yunnan provinces to the north, east, and south. The region is sparsely populated with a total population of 2.9 million occupying an area of 1.25 million square kilometers, about the size of Western Europe. The majority of the indigenous rural population derives its livelihood from agriculture and nomadic pastoralism.
Due to the size and its huge difference in elevation, Tibet has a wide range of climatic conditions. The northern regions, with vast open plains and an average altitude of 16,000feet, have the harshest climate, with consistently low temperatures all year long and biting winds. In summer, temperature range from 65 to 85°F, and in winter they sometimes drop to –30°F. Yearly rainfall average between six and eight inches. The rocky soil is generally incapable of supporting agriculture, and the nomads who feed their herds on the sparse vegetation have to move regularly in order to avoid overgrazing.
Throughout all of Tibet, the air is thin, and the sun is strong. The high altitude is often debilitating for people from lower elevations, many of whom suffer altitude sickness and shortness of breath. The central valley enjoys a much more temperate climate than the northern plateaus, and areas below 12,000 feet are able to sustain settled agriculture.
More than 80% of the population of the TAR are ethnic Tibetans, about 25% of whom are nomads. There are an estimated 2 million Tibetans in the Tibet Autonomous Region that practice some form of nomadism. For centuries these nomads have ranged across the grasslands of the Tibetan plateau with their grazing herds of sheep, cattle, goats, and yaks. Herding families tend to be poor and money is earned by trading animals for grain or selling them or their meat for money. Other ethnic groups include the Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and considerable numbers of Han and Hui people. Due to its generally harsh terrain, is the least densely populated provincial-level division of the PRC.
Tibet has some of the world’s tallest mountains, and several major rivers have their source in the Tibetan Plateau. The Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon, along the Yarlung Zangbo River, is one of the deepest and longest canyons in the world. It has also two world heritage sites – the Potala Palace and Norbulingka, which were the residences of the Dalai Lama. Lhasa the capital contains several significant temples and monasteries, including the Jokhang Temple.
Tibetan traditional clothing has a strong connection with the people and the climate of the Tibetan plateau. They tend to be conservative in their dress, and though some have taken to wearing western clothes, traditional styles still abound, especially in rural and nomadic villages. Each area of Tibet has its own distinct style of clothing. The clothes are influenced by the religion and environment.
The history of Tibet is more clearly recorded since the seventh century. It was the time when a unified Tibet came into existence under the ruler of the 33rd Tibetan King, Songtsan Gampo. The recorded history owes much to the fact that a written standard script came into existence. It was devised by Thonmi Sambota, who is traditionally regarded as the inventor of the Tibetan script. The history is full of mysteries and legends. The Tibetan history trajectory can be divided into five major phases, such as 1) The Primitive Historic Phase; 2) The Tsenpo Phase; 3) The Decentralisation Phase, 4) The Sakya, Pagdru and Tsangpa Kingdom Phase; and 5) The Ganden Podrang Phase.
The economy of Tibet is dominated by subsistence agriculture, though tourism is an increasingly significant source of revenue. Due to limited arable land, the primary occupation is raising livestock, such as sheep, cattle, goats, camels, yaks, and horses. The main crops grown are barley, wheat, buckwheat, rye, potatoes, and assorted fruits and vegetables.
The Tibetans have developed a distinct religion (what many describes as the Science of Mind) cultures. It has strongly been influenced by the local Bon religion and Buddhism. In the hearts of the Tibetan people, respect to nature is considered to be the key or the foundation of a healthy and happy life. Moreover, people take refuge in the “Three Jewels of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha”. People also take appreciation and a sense of gratitude to parents and respect for teachers, doctors, and elders.
The land is blessed with amazingly rich arts and crafts, architecture and music, and festival traditions. These are all reflective of a rich cultural heritage of local roots as well as influence from the trans-Himalayan region. Most noteworthy that every Tibetan takes a strong pride in about the heritage. In many respects, Tibet is synonymous with the image of Shangri-La and exoticism of a mystical land gifted with remarkable natural landscapes, deeply devout people, and rich culture.
Tourism is a pillar industry in Tibet. The Local government reports that 23 million visitors entered the Tibetan Autonomous Region in the year 2018, an 11-fold increase in a decade since it opened a train route across the high-altitude plateau. It is projecting arrivals to rise to 35 million visitors by 2020; tourism already makes up one-fifth of the economy of the Tibetan Autonomous Region.