Shigatse Adventure Tours

Shigatse is a county-level city and the second-largest city in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), People’s Republic of China, with a population of 92000, about 250 km (160 mi) southwest of Lhasa and 90 km (56 mi) northwest of Gyantse. It is the administrative center of the modern Shigatse Prefecture, a region of the TAR. The city is located at an altitude of 3,840 meters (12,600 ft) at the confluence of the Yarlung Tsangpo (aka Brahmaputra) river and the Nyang River (Nyang Chu or Nyanchue) 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. Before military conflict between the PRC’s People’s Liberation Army and the Central Tibetan Administration, the Tibetan territory was divided into 53 prefecture districts called Dzongs.

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. 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 until their expulsion in 1912 by the 13th Dalai Lama. In 1952, shortly after the PRC sent forces to the region, Shigatse had a population of perhaps 12,000 people, making it the second-largest city in Tibet.

Shigatse has a monsoon-influenced, alpine version of a humid continental climate (Köppen Dwb), with frosty, very dry winters and warm, wet summers. Temperatures are relatively moderate for the Tibetan Plateau, as the annual mean temperature is 6.3 °C (43.3 °F). Barely any precipitation falls from November to March, when differences between day and night can frequently exceed 20 °C (36 °F). Nearly two-thirds of the annual rainfall occurs in July and August alone. Sunshine is abundant year-round, totaling 3248 hours annually.

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