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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tibetan transcription(s)
 - Tibetan གཞིས་ཀ་རྩེ་
 - Wylie transliteration gzhis ka rtse
Chinese transcription(s)
 - Traditional 日喀則
 - Simplified 日喀则
 - Pinyin Rìkāzé
Downtown Shigatse, 1993
Shigatse is located in Tibet
Coordinates: 29°15′N 88°53′E / 29.25°N 88.883°E / 29.25; 88.883
Country China
Province Tibet Autonomous Region
Prefecture Xigazê Prefecture
County Xigazê County
 - Total 80,000
Time zone CST (UTC+8)

Shigatse or Rikaze (official spelling: Xigazê; other spellings: Rìkāzé (Rikaze), Shigatse, Shikatse, Zhigatsey simplified Chinese: 日喀则traditional Chinese: 日喀則), Tibetan: གཞིས་ཀ་རྩེ་, is a county-level city and the second largest city in Tibet Autonomous Region, People's Republic of China, with a population of 80,000, about 250 km (160 mi) southwest of Lhasa and 90 km (56 mi) northwest of Gyantse. It is the administrative centre of modern Xigazê County in the Xigazê Prefecture, a region of Tibet.

The city is located at an altitude of 3,840 metres (12,600 ft) at the confluence of the Yarlung Zangbo (aka Brahmaputra) and Nianchuhe (Nyang Chu) rivers in west Tibet and was the ancient capital of Ü-Tsang province. It is also the name of the surrounding county.



Shigatse was previously known as Samdruptse.

In the 19th century the "Tashi" or Panchen Lama had temporal power over Tashilhunpo Monastery and three small districts, though not over the town of Shigatse itself, which was administered by two Dzongpön (Prefects) appointed from Lhasa.[1] Before Chinese invasion of Tibet, the Tibetan territory was divided into 53 prefecture districts called Dzongs.[2]

There were two Dzongpöns for every Dzong—a lama (Tse-dung) and a layman. They were entrusted with both civil and military powers and are equal in all respects, though subordinate to the generals and the Chinese Amban in military matters.[3] However, there were only one or two Ambans representing the Chinese emperor residing in Lhasa, directing a little garrison, and their power installed since 1728, progressively declined to end-up as observer at the eve of their expulsion in 1912 by the 13th Dalai Lama.[2] At the time of the Chinese occupation in 1952, Shigatse had a population of perhaps 12,000 people, making it the second largest city in Tibet.[4]


Shigatse contains the huge Tashilhunpo Monastery, founded in 1447 by Gendun Drup, the First Dalai Lama.[5] It is the traditional seat of the Panchen Lamas. Until the Chinese arrived in the 1950s, the "Tashi" or Panchen Lama had temporal power over three small districts, though not over the town of Shigatse itself, which was administered by a dzongpön (general) appointed from Lhasa.[6] In the 2nd week of the 5th lunar month (around June/July), Tashilhunpo Monastery is the scene of a 3-day festival and a huge thangka is displayed.[7]

Shigatse fortress. Samdrubtse Dzong. 1938.
The reconstructed castle (dzong) of Shigatse. 2007.

The imposing castle, Samdrubtse Dzong or "Shigatse Dzong", was probably built in the 15th century. It looked something like a smaller version of the Potala, and had turret-like fortifications at the ends and a central Red Palace. It was totally dismantled, rock by rock, by hundreds of Tibetans at the instigation of the Chinese in 1961.[8][9] It was previously the seat of the kings of Ü-Tsang and the capital of the province of Ü-Tsang or Tsang.[10] Between 2005 and 2007, the building was reconstructed, financed by donations from Shanghai. The basis of the reconstruction were old photos, yet reconstruction was executed in cement/concrete.[11] Afterwards, the outside was to be wainscotted with natural stones. The dzong which, in the 17th century, clearly was taken as example when the Potala palace was constructed in Lhasa, will become a museum on Tibetan culture.

Nearby attractions include:

Infrastructure & Transport


  1. ^ Chapman, Spencer F. (1940). Lhasa: The Holy City, p. 141. Readers Union Ltd., London.
  2. ^ a b Le Tibet, Marc Moniez, Christian Deweirdt, Monique Masse, Éditions de l'Adret, Paris, 1999, ISBN 2-907629-46-8
  3. ^ Das, Sarat Chandra. (1902). Lhasa and Central Tibet. Reprint (1988): Mehra Offset Press, Delhi, p. 176.
  4. ^ Richardson (1984), p. 7.
  5. ^ Chö Yang: The Voice of Tibetan Religion and Culture. (1991) Year of Tibet Edition, p.79. Gangchen Kyishong, Dharmasala, H.P., India.
  6. ^ Chapman, Spencer F. (1940). Lhasa: The Holy City, p. 141. Readers Union Ltd., London.
  7. ^ "Introducing Shigatse." [1]
  8. ^ Tibet: a travel survival kit, p. 168. (1986). Michael Buckley and Robert Strauss. Lonely Planet Publications, South Yarra, Vic., Australia. ISBN 0-908086-88-1.
  9. ^ Tibet: A Fascinating Look at the Roof of the World, Its People and Culture, p. 115. (1982). Elisabeth B. Booz. Passport Books.
  10. ^ Mayhew, Bradley and Kohn, Michael. (2005). Tibet, p. 172. 6th Edition. Lonely Planet Publications. ISBN 978-1740595230.
  11. ^ Cp. Shigatse Dzong
  12. ^ Lhasa-Shigatse Railway
  13. ^


  • Das, Sarat Chandra. 1902. Lhasa and Central Tibet. Reprint: Mehra Offset Press, Delhi. 1988. ISBN 81-86230-17-3
  • Dorje, Gyurme. 1999. Footprint Tibet Handbook. 2nd Edition. Bath, England. ISBN 1 900949 33 4. Also published in Chicago, U.S.A. ISBN 0 8442-2190-2.
  • Dowman, Keith. 1988. The Power-Places of Central Tibet: The Pilgrim's Guide, p. 59. Routledge & Kegan Paul. London. ISBN 0-7102-1370-0 (ppk).
  • Richardson, Hugh E (1984). Tibet and its History. Second Edition, Revised and Updated. Shambhala Publications, Boston. ISBN 0-87773-376-7.

External links

Coordinates: 29°15′N 88°53′E / 29.25°N 88.883°E / 29.25; 88.883


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Xigatse article)

From Wikitravel

Xigatse (日喀则; Rìkāzé - Tibetan: གཞིས་ཀ་རྩ), also spelled Shigatse is the second largest city in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. It is located 3800 meters abouve sea level.


With a population or about 50,000, it is an important trading and administrative center.

Get in

Located at the intersection of several highways, the city of Xigatse is positioned on the Friendship Hwy. Buses and Mini-buses travel the distance from Lhasa. There is public transportation to Gyantse, Lhatse, Sakya, Dromo, Gampa and Khangmar on a semi-regular basis.

Get around

All sites of interest are within easy walking distance. Auto-rickshaws are also available.

  • Tashilhunpo Monastery. The traditional seat of the Panchen Lamas. It was constructed in 1447 and is where the Panchen Lamas resided and conducted their religious and secular duties. Covering a floorspace of 300,000 square meters, the monastery is enshrined with the world's largest gilded bronze Buddhist statue, the 22.4 meter high statue of Maitreya Buddha.
  • The free market and the gift market in Old Town
  • The ruins of the Xigatse Fortress


Travelers' checks (but not credit cards) can be used to access cash at the The Bank of China branch near the Shigatse Hotel.

  • David Zakus, 155 College St, #576, 416 978-1458. Check out the beautiful silk carpets for good prices from the local factory in town.  edit


Lots of restaurants around Samdup Hotel


Accommodation in Xigatse is more expensive than in Lhasa and there are only a few budget options.

  • Fruit Hotel - located across from Tashilhunpo Monastery
  • Samdup Hotel (Sangzhuzi Fandian) Tel:+86 892 882-2252
  • Tenzin Hotel - located across from gift market in Old Town below Shigatse Dzong
  • Shigatse Hotel (Xigatse Binguan), Jiefang Zhong Lu. Tel:+86 892 882-5525 Fax:+86 892 882-1900
  • Zhufeng Friendship Hotel (Zhufengyouyi Binguan), Dechen Potrang Lu. Tel:+86 892 882-1929 - good hotel, but a little far from the downtown area.

Get out

Xigatse is one of the best places in Tibet to pick up a travel permit, issued at the police station with only an hour or two of waiting. The permit is valid for anyplace in Xigatse Prefecture that you specify. That allows you to go up to the border with Nepal. Interesting places to visit in Xigatse Prefecture include Sakya, Gyantse, Mount Everest, and Tingri.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SHIGATSE, one of the largest towns in Tibet, next in importance to Lhasa, the capital. The town, which is at the confluence of the Nyang chu with the Tsangpo, contains about 9000 inhabitants (exclusive of priests), and is about 4 m. long by a 2 m. broad. About i m. to the north-east is situated a monastery called Konkaling, whilst to the south-west is the far-famed Tashilhunpo monastery, the residence of one of the great high priests of Tibet, co-equal with the Dalai-Lama of Lhasa. Between the Tashilhunpo monastery and the city is the Thom or open market, where all the business of the place is daily transacted. A wall about i m. in circumference surrounds the Tashilhunpo monastery, within which are numerous temples and houses, four of the larger temples being decorated with gilded spires. A great wealth of jewels and precious metal is said to enrich the numerous idols of Tashilhunpo. The monastery maintains 3300 priests. The city is protected by a fort which stands on a low hill to the north-west, and a garrison of 1000 Tibetan soldiers is quartered here. The municipal government is in the hands of two depen assisted by resident Jongpons. The soil around Shigatse is rich and productive, the elevation being between i i ,000 and 12,000 ft. Shigatse lay to the west of the British route of advance on Lhasa in 1904, but it was visited by Captain Rawling on his way to open the market at Gartok.

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