Shigatse Ethnic Culture
Shigatse boasts abundant tourist resources in Tibet, including splendid Tibetan monasteries, magnificent snow mountains, stunning lakes, unique ethnic culture and the like. Tingri County in Shigatse has the world’s highest peak-Mount Everest. There is one of the three holy lakes in Tibet, Yamdrok Lake. Samzhubze Palace and Gyantse Fortress were once the center of church and state. There are also a number of famous monasteries such as Tashilhunpo temple, Pelkor Chode Monastery, Sayka Temple and so on.
Shigatse covers an area of nearly 182,000 square kilometers with a population of about 845,300 in 2017. There are more than 10 ethnic groups in Shigatse, including Tibetan, Han, Hui, Mongol, Tu, Man, Miao, Zhuang and the like, of which Tibetan is the main ethnic group, accounting for more than 90% of the total population.
Traditional Ethnic Village
Monasteries in Shigatse
Temples are the main manifestation of Tibetan Buddhist culture, there are many monasteries in Shigatse, here below are part of them.
Various Tibetan festivals are celebrated in different ways in Shigatse. It is suggested to visit Shigatse during the festivals and enjoy the lively scenes with the local Tibetan people if time is sufficient. Festival is the best way to experience the diverse culture and tradition of the local and their ethnic affinity. There are festivals in Shigatse including Tibetan New Year, Lingka Festival, Tashilhunpo Festival and Gyantse Damar Festival, etc.
Tibetan culture was influenced by both internal and external factors over the centuries, cultural impact of the neighboring countries also plays a significant role in Tibetan culture, including Nepal, India and Bhutan in the southwest of China. Later, the introduction of the Buddhism from its origin country India made a great difference over the whole plateau in the 7th and 8th century, since then Buddhism became indispensable part of the Tibetan culture. Cultural variations came to exist because of the regional and environmental distinction in different parts of the Tibet. The culture variation in Tibet can generally be described by Utsang(central and western Tibet), Kham (far-eastern part) and Amdo(northern part). Its geographical remoteness and inaccessibility isolate the region from the world and preserved its rich and indigenous culture without any influence from the outside world.
Tibet has a tremendous boost in its economic development in phase of modernization since it was widely opened for outsiders after 1980s, naturally the exotic cultural influence lead to a long gap between the elderly people and youngsters within the country in the way of their speaking, attitude, clothing, belief, manner and so on. However, the Buddhism has deeply rooted in their daily life.
Making pilgrimages to distant monasteries, holy mountains and lakes are becoming indispensable part of their life. Pilgrimage is the custom of Tibetan people, it’s an act of religious observance and respect for nature, undertake a pilgrimage on foot around some sacred places like a mountain, a lake or a temple. Each year multitudes of pilgrims spare no efforts and travel long to conduct their Buddhist circumambulations to Holy Mountains and Lakes for good luck and ascending to the paradise after death.