Exploration and Pilgrimage, Tibet 2006

In May 2006, with a guide, a driver and a precise itinerary as described on a Chinese permit, I traveled across Tibet’s Changtang Plateau from Lhasa to Mount Kailash. Motivated by the words and images of those who had explored Tibet, I wanted to see this land and its people through my own eyes. 

Ruins, such as the ones in Tholing, witness both the 10th century history and the. more recent destruction by the Cultural Revolution. Rebuilt monasteries, prayer flags everywhere and Tibetans walking Koras around sacred places are symbols of a deeply resilient spirit. Tibet continues to be a majestic land where its people struggle, caught between ancient traditions and modern Chinese life. 

The Tibetan plateau is also called “The third Pole” for its immense water reserves. It is in danger today, as development of transportation networks, mines and army camps take the land away from the people and the wildlife. The Tibetan respect for nature has been violated for decades, which has consequences for the health of our Planet. 

 In 2008, I was honored to be invited to show a Tibet exhibit at The Aspen Institute in honor of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to Aspen.