When you close your eyes and think about visiting Tibet, the visuals that appear are of vast and infinite lands, plateaus that sit in high altitudes. Arid and wildly rugged, yet Tibet’s landscapes present something soft and serene with emotions of freedom and aptitude that evolve.
Tibet presents architectural structures that are somewhat modern in their appearance. Take the monumental structure of the Potala Palace in Lhasa as a prime example. It embodies the best of the 17th century; no buildings before or after, compare with it. Its high-rise structural walls are unlike many of the buildings seen in that era in the West. When considering the hard-to-reach town and the lack of construction material, the Potala Palace was built using mostly locally sourced materials – a sustainable way of building and technical know-how beyond belief.
Across Tibet, various monasteries and stupas are brightly colored with shades of reds and blues - a striking contrast to the arid land.
Tibet’s Flora and Fauna
Some of the most gorgeous examples of exotic flowers seen in the West, including Rhododendron, Peony and Saxifrage were first brought from Tibet by early travellers such as the British botanist Kingdon Ward, who travelled to Tibet in search of exotic plants in 1919.
There are 400 species of Rhododendron on the Tibetan plateau (50 per cent of the world’s total species). Forest areas are home to several species of medicinal herbs and plants, including mock ginseng, Solomon’s seal and figwort. Tibet is also rich in varieties of fungi, having an estimated 5,000 species (82.4 per cent of the entire Chinese stock).
As far as animal life is concerned, the elusive snow leopard makes its home in the Tibetan mountains, as well as bears, wolves, blue sheep, musk deer, yaks and Tibetan antelope. The snow grouse can survive up around the snowline even during the harshest of winters.