sights uncovered
Travel with Tessa

Women of the World – TIBET

A palpable aura of spirituality envelops the heart of Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet, where Buddhism is a part of the smallest detail of everyday living. The iconic Portola Palace – which for centuries was the home of the Dalai Lama – watches over the Old City.


Wednesday is the holiest day of the week in Tibet. Pilgrims come from far and wide to circumambulate the Portola Palace. As they walk they spin prayer wheels and – softly, almost inaudibly – chant the mantra of the Compassionate Buddha “Om Mani Padme Hum.”


The Jokhang Temple at the core of the Old City is the most sacred temple and holiest destination for Tibetan Pilgrims. They come from the far reaches of Tibet to visit the temple and walk the circuitous “Holy Way’ on Bakhor Street in a clockwise direction, around the Jokhang Temple.



In addition to its spiritual importance, Bakhor Street is a vibrant meeting and market place where a wide variety of handcrafted Tibetan wares from prayer wheels, to handbags, carpets, prayer flags, beads, scarves, and ‘thangkas’-scroll paintings of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and teachings – are sold.


There is no better setting to see a gathering of the women from all corners of Tibet than Bakhor Street.


In Northern Tibet, we met nomads who move from the icy weather to warmer ground during the coldest winter months.


The fabrics, the jewelry, the belts, the headgear, that make up the ‘wardrobe’ of the women of Tibet are bold, colorful, and exotic. They would inspire any fashionista in the West to whip out their sketch pad and incorporate elements of Tibetan clothing into their creations.