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Lhasa

tibet, city, lama, ib, dalai, miles and ex

LHASA, Ihi'sa, or LASSA, las'si, Tibet, the capital of the country and the °Rome* or "Mecca" of Buddhism, its name signifying the °Place of God,° is picturesquely situated in a valley plain surrounded by mountains rising from the K-chu, a left affluent of the Sanpo or Upper Brahmaputra, about 280 miles in a direct line northeast of Darjiling. Access being exclu sively forbidden to Europeans, three only hav ing visited it during the 19th century, the place had a mysterious celebrity, until the British ex pedition under Col. G. J. Younghusband (q.v.) reached the city in 1904. The accounts since published corroborate the information previ ously obtained from Asiatic pilgrims and ex plorers. Broad roads lined by luxurious gar dens lead past the well-built houses of the sub urbs to the closely guarded gates of the walled city, which is dominated by the imposing Potala bill-palace and other hill-top edifices. The prin cipal streets of the city are wide, regular and clean, lined with well-stocked stores and houses of two and three stories; but the side streets and lower parts of the town are very dirty and daily crowded by importunate beggars. The houses are generally two or three stories high, built of stone, brick or earth, terraced at the summit and uniformly whitened externally, the windows and door-frames being painted with the sacred or lamanesque colors, red and yel low. Internally, however, they are exceedingly dirty and comfortless 'and have no chimneys. A yak stable occupies the ground floor. There is no heavy traffic on the streets, yak and horse being the only means of conveyance. In the heart of the city is the convent of Moru, with a large printing establishment, from which numerous religious works are issued; and on the outskirts, toward the cardinal points, are four other large monasteries — Praehung on the west, Sera on the north, Khaldan on the east and Samie on the south or southeast side. All these have several thousand inmates, being greatly resorted to from China, Turkestan, Nepal, etc., as schools of philosophy and Bud dhism. About PA miles northwest from the city and connected with it by two avenues of trees is the Potala, Bottala or Buddha-la, the residence of the Dalai or Tale (Grand) Lama, the ecclesiastical sovereign of Tibet and su preme pontiff of the vast regions forming cen tral, eastern and southeastern Asia. A triple

peaked hill here rises abruptly out of the plain to the height of 367 feet ; it is covered with convents and cells of monks and in the centre is the palace of the Dalai Lama, a fine edifice 1,000 feet long, four stories in height, with over 490 rooms and a large dome, vAlich, like the columns of the peristyle surrounding the structure, is covered with gilding. The inte rior is full of idols, treasure and works of art. The chief public edifices are the Buddhist mon asteries, some of them among the noblest speci mens of architecture in Asia. The buildings were begun 1,200 years ago, the •most recent parts being 200 years old. Seven miles to the west is the largest monastery of Tibet, the sum mer residence of the Dalai Lama. About 7,500 monks inhabit it, and it has room enough to ac commodate the largest of American universities. Lhasa is the principal emporium of Tibet and a rendezvous of people from all parts of Asia; silk stuffs, tea and other articles being here ex changed for Tibetan, Indian and European goods. British troops under Colonel Young husband occupied Lhasa in 1904, and after great difficulties concluded a treaty with the authorities in behalf of British interests. Pop. of city estimated at 10,000, exclusive of the great number of Buddhist lamas or priests and students in the monasteries (computed at 15,000). Associated with the Dalai Lama are two ambans, appointed every four years, who direct political administration, and the regent, who is the most learned lama in the country. Lhaia is the scene of a great annual religious gathering, attended by 80,000 lamas. The trade is entirely in the hands of women. As a great centre of pilgrimage, it is visited by great throngs from Tibet and Mongolia. (See TIBET). Consult Candler, 'The Unveiling of Lhasa' (London 1905) ; Chaan (a member of the Chi nese mission of 1906-07), 'The Most Extraordi nary City in the World' (in the National Geo graphic Magazine for October 1912) ; Holdich, T. H., 'Tibet the Mysterious' (New York 1906) ; Hac, (Travels in Tartary, Tibet, etc.' (2 vols., London 1852) ; Landor, A. H. S., (The Opening of Tibet' (ib. 1905) ; Millington, 'To Lhasa at Last' (ib. 1905) ; Waddell, L. A., 'Lhasa and Its Mysteries' (ib. 1905) ; Young husband, F. E., (India and Thiliet) (ib. 1910).