Tibet 1986 and Beyond

Tibetan travel & study

Introduction to Tibet 86 and Beyond

This blog is more of a repository of notes, experiences, lists, photographs, and descriptions regarding study and travel in Tibet. The genesis of this blog is my transferring materials from 1985 and 1986 to digital format for a possible return to the high plateau in 2012.

Any reader that has questions, comments, etc. is encouraged to respond. I am not a scholar but do endeavour to be accurate and helpful to those who may have an interest in Tibet. My scholarly sources are old (although trying to catch up) and include those publications in English that were available in the mid 1980s including Tucci, Kessler, Desideri, Roerich, Stein, Snelgrove, Richardson, Kawaguchi, Das, de Nebesky-Wojkowitz, etc. If you find anything in these posts worthy of citation, just let me know.

The mid 1980s was a great time to visit Tibet. Individual travelers could go where they wished without any restrictions to speak of. Even the “off limits” areas took effort to visit but the authorities did not mind much. The only folks who had any problems were near the border areas or military bases.

I met numerous people with a deep interest in Tibet as it had been closed to foreigners up to that point. The travel was rough and primitive so it was not for the ordinary traveler. I feel very fortunate to have visited a very special place at a very special time.

Throughout this blog, Tibetan terms (Wylie and Tibetan script) will be used for places that are not that well known.

Places visited are mostly standard for many going to Tibet these days but were often difficult to reach in the mid 1980s. Locations include:

  • Kham — Tarsumdo, Gatar, Kandze, Derge, Drolmalhakhang, Chamdo. We also took a long trek between Derge up the Dri Chu to Drolmalhakhang and visited many Sakya and Bonpo towns along the way.
  • Lhasa and surrounding area
  • Sakya
  • Chongya/Zhetang
  • Samyas
  • Shigatse
  • Gyantse

The purpose of this blog is not to provide commentary or observations on the economic or political conditions.


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