Traditional Tibetan Architecture
Traditional Tibetan Architecture is easily-Recognizable forms of architecture and one of the world’s most unique. Yet, studies of Tibetan architecture is still very much unexplored field. With the construction of the first Tibetan Buddhist temple in Central Tibet, we have 1300 year of written history of About Tibetan architecture. Tibetan construction activities can be traced back over 1300 years when the first Buddhist temples were built in central Tibet. Jokhang temple is said to be the first construction in Tibet. Yet there are some buildings which are said to be older than the Temple.
The earliest Tibetan Architectural Monuments show the strong influence from the Indian and Nepalese Prototypes. you can clearly see it in the Jokhang temple in Lhasa. Monuments and temples built after the second diffusion of Buddhism are build with locally developed architecture with very limited influences from foreign architecture. All the defensive architecture are based on indigenous technologies and design.
Later Tibetan people have perfected their own unique architectural style. few standard principles give Tibetan Building it Characteristic Organic design.
All our house and temple are heavy at the lower floor and lighter at the Higher levels. Walls are built with outside bending towards the building. All the roofs are flats, except for the golden rooftop for the Temples and Monasteries. which is not so common.
All the window are doors are elegantly painted with the different design. From the outside, you will see the black frames around the Doors and Windows. There is a complex wooden overhang decoration to all the doors and windows. All the interior timber frames on the ceiling follow intricate Carving by following the Design principles. All our architecture designs are organic and Building appears to grow from the landscape.
Our Tibetan Buildings are well suited for the local geographical and climatical Condition. It is a delightful blend of man-made Structure and nature. Our buildings often outlive their utility period. Every bit of the parts can be re-used. If the Building decade, it would simply merge back to nature.
For over thousands of year, Tibetan Architecture style has been the preferred architectural style for constructing Monasteries and palaces across the Himalayas and Inner Asia. Potala Palace in Lhasa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994 is the best-known example of Tibetan architecture.
Features in Tibetan Architecture
Our Tibetan architecture is a true reflection of our culture. There is plenty of influences from the nearby cultures like Chinese Tang, Traditional Indian Buddhist style, Mongols and Nepalese styles of architecture.
When you travel to Tibet, you will find the most unique Tibetan architecture style fascinating. You will find Tibetan Military fortifications in the Potala Palace and Sakya Monastery. You will also find usual Tibetan house with two floors. The lower floors are usually for the livestock and storing house for grains. The upper floor is for the family residence. The residential part of the family consist of the common room for gathering and sleeping, Chapel room for deities, Kitchen and the special room for married couples (which is available in only a few houses). The most common sight of the Tibetan residential house is the Prayer flags on the rooftop.
Some other features of the Tibetan Architecture are:
Build of elevated spot
All our houses and Monasteries are built on an elevated spot. it prevents the wall from the damage of the water and moisture. And it gives a better view of the areas.
All the window and doors and the courtyards are all facing the south. The reason it is facing south you will have more sun time each day especially in the winter. In Lhasa, the price of the new house or apartment is clearly defined by how many sunshine the house will get. More the sunlight it gets, more expensive the house will be. All the house has a big window on the south side of the house for more solar lights.
All the house in entire Tibet aspect for the Kongpo Region has the flat rooftop. The flat roof conserves the heat from the sunshine and also it is easier to clean the roof during the snowfall.
Different style of architecture in different region of Tibet
Socialogocal studies of Tibetan architecture
Tibetan house builds with great influences of local lifestyle, climates, and Geographical. It can also tell about the how well the family is doing and what is the primary occupation of the family. The rich families have a bigger house with a big courtyard and lots of sunspaces. When the family is building a new house, this family has to arrange the land and materials. Otherwise, all the villager and community members would come around to help. The family did have to pay for the labor but has to arrange lavish feast and drinks for the worker to enjoy. When it is a turn for another family to build a new house everybody has to join in the labor force.
You can also tell how well a family is doing by the number of firewood and number Yak dung around the rooftop. That is the economic indicator to show the family prosperity. every village and town has a temple or Monastery of any size. This monastery would become social gathering places.
Tibetan Architecture Now
Now days all the local government and regional government of Tibet is putting a great effort in conserving the Tibetan Architectural skills. All the old houses are getting listed into the Cultural heritage site and protected as per the law. There is also a great encouragement from the government to preserve the local craftsmanship of Tibetan architecture.
Tibet university has a special class for Tibetan architecture. There are often brought to the different areas and monasteries to learn a great deal of it from the first hand experiences.
I-Tibet travel and Tours is fully committed to responsible and Sustainable tourism practice in Tibet. Our privilege to be able to host you in Tibet also makes our responsibility in protecting nature and contributing back communities.
As a Local Tibetan travel agency in Lhasa. Our staffs are 100% local Tibetan tourism professionals. Additionally, We only use local Tibetan guides, other tours crews, and local business. 100% of the travel money goes to locals. Besides, We use 3% of the net profit into Environmental and social initiatives.
Being Tibetan, We know how vital the Tibetan environment is for the entire world. Mountains, glacier, and rivers are all cherished in our culture. We do our best to reduce the environmental impact of your tours in Tibet.
Following are Our ways:
a) No Small plastic bottles in the tour
All the drinking water are provided in the bigger container. So all visitors are asked to bring his/her own water bottle. In this way, we reduce hundreds and thousands of small plastic bottles. All the bigger containers are provided back to the manufacturer for reuse.
b) Incentives for practice
Incentives are given to guide and drivers. Who follow our strict directories on ethical practice towards sustainable and responsible tourism practice.
c) Staff Training every winter
Winter is a low season in Tibet tourism. We provide skill training required for the practice of Responsible and Sustainable tourism practice, first Aids and emergency first responder training. One of our managers is certified Humanity Supply Chain management by fritz institute. We work closely with individuals from institute like Tibet Eco Travel initiatives and Local Tibet Red Cross society and other NGOs.
d) Tree Plantation
Some portion of the tour money are save for our 1000 Tree plantation project. We will plant trees when we will have enough funds.
e) Smaller group size
All our tours are a small group to reduce environmental Impact. Since traveling in a smaller group has less impact on committed in an area than a big group. Therefore all our tour groups are small.
f) Trekking tours and environmental care in the wilderness of Tibet
During your trekking Tours, you will be walking across a very fragile ecosystem. We do take extra care in our trekking tours preventing environmental effects. Following are how are take care of our environment our trekking tours.
1: We nothing leave mother behind.
We make sure we take all our rubbish and leave nothing behind.
2: We protect the grassland
A little destruction of Tibet’s fragile environment is irreversible. So, in the trekking tours, we will not make drainage surrounding your tent. Instead, we will provide trekkers with a better tent with bathtub style floors which prevent water from getting into the tent. We don’t put a small tent toilet. Even if we try to put the grass back, it is not the same. So when you are answering your nature called please enjoy the view.
3: Collecting the garbage along the way.
We have a saying in Tibet, “if you can’t help, don’t harm.” Here is our helping part. We always have extra yaks carrying the Garbages, our yak men will be collecting while waiting for the clients at the campsite. Yak man walks faster than all, and they have free time at the camp. While cook prepares for meals and drinks, We pay yaks men’s incentives in collecting the rubbish around the camp.
I-Tibet travel and tours, identify its self as a social enterprise. For this, we dedicate 3% of our annual net profit to Social and environmental projects. Every winter we buy winter clothes for small children and donate to schools. In this way, besides donating winter cloth, we are also encouraging them to go to school.
It is important to make our guest understand Local Culture, Beliefs, and Ethics. Hence it will make it more comfortable during Our special tour arrangements. Like, your home visit, culture programs, and our others.