Tibet Plateau is a vast, elevated plateau in the western part of China, commonly referred to as the “Three Provinces,” that are listed below
Tibet Autonomous Region
The central provinces of “U” and Tsang that extend from Ngari Gorsum in the west to Sokla Gyao.
Western Sichuan Province
Do Do, composing the region from Solka Gyao to the upper bend of the Machu River and includes the area of Kham.
Do Me, encompassing a region from the Machu River to an area called the “White Choden” including Sangchu county.
Today, When speaking of “Tibet” we refer to the area, which is named the “Tibet Autonomous Region” (the TAR), with Lhasa as the capital of this region.
In these notes we use the words “Tibetan Cultural Area” to refer to the whole Tibetan area including both the “TAR” and the eastern Tibetan areas of Kham and Amdo
Tibet Plateau geography – Brief
“Tibetan Cultural Area” is an area with almost the same size as Western Europe, and has various complex landforms such as high mountains, deep valleys, glaciers, and countless lakes. All the places in this region lie at an average altitude of more than 3,500 meters above sea level. This area is home to the indigenous Tibetan people, and also to other ethnic groups such as the Monpas, Lhobas and Khampas.
The Tibetan plateau has some of the world’s highest mountains, among those Mt. Everest (8,848 meters), is the highest peak on Earth. Several great rivers have their source in the Tibetan Plateau, most of them located in Amdo (present: Qinghai Province). These include Yangtze, Yellow River, Indus River, Mekong, Ganges, Salween and the Yarlung Tsanpo River (Brahmaputra River). The Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon is said to be the deepest and longest canyons in the world.
The Indus river and Brahmaputra river originate from a lake in Western Tibet, near Mt. Kailash in its north. Mt. Kailash in Tibetan called Khang Rinpoche is said to be the center of this planet, and also a holy mountain for both Hindus and Tibetan. The Hindus consider this mountain to be the home of Lord Shiva.
Because of its size and huge difference in elevation, the Tibet plateau has a great range of climatic conditions. It has scarce precipitation and a sharp contrast between dry and wet seasons. It is dry in the winter and spring, with frequent strong winds, as well as low oxygen. Agriculture and Livestock are the economic pillars of Tibet, cultivating mainly sheep, goats and yaks, and growing barley, wheat, potato and rape. Also, the region produces the famous herb medicinal, such as musk, pilose antler, snow lotus, and Caterpillar fungus. Nowadays, Tourism has gradually become another pillar industry of Tibet.
Tibet Plateau history- Brief
In the 7th century, King Songtsan Gambo united Tibet and established the Tubo kingdom. Buddhism was introduced in this time while the connection with the Chinese empire had been established. In the 13th century, Tibet became an administrative area under the Yuan Dynasty. In the 17th century, the 5thDalai Lama established the Kadam Potrang government. The Qing government accepted this local government and sent a minister to the region. After the Revolution of 1911, the Republican government established a representative office in Tibet to strengthen its management of the local authority.
Tibet plateau has a long history and exotic landscape. Its beautiful ancient monasteries and unique tribe customs have attracted visitors worldwide.