Shannan has been crowed with the fame of "The Birthplace of Tibetan Culture". On the southern bank of the middle reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River, it is 3,600 meters above sea level. Shannan has a temperate climate.
Shannan, with its long established historical culture, occupies an important place in Tibetan politics and history. During the long years, Tsedang has had many "first", for instance, the first king Nyatri Tsenpo, the first palace Yumbu Lhakang, the first temple Tradruk, the first cropland Syarisotang, the first Tibetan Opera Pakhapu and the first Buddhist scripture Pangkong Chagya are all credited to Shannan. Here is also the place where king Songtsan Gampo united the whole Tibet and once lived with Princess Wencheng. The Tangka made and embroidered by Princess Wencheng herself is still kept in Tradruk Temple, which is a great treasure house of culture and art.
Towering at the summit of Mt. Tashitseri east bank of Yarlung river,Yumbulhakang is the first palace as well as one of the earliest constructions in Tibet. The legend says, it was established by "Bon" religious believers ofr the first Tibetan King Nyetri Tsanpo during the 2nd century B.C., and later it turned to be the summer palace of King Songtsan Gampo and Princess Wencheng in Shannan.
Built in the mid-8th century, Samye is first formal Buddhist Monastery for the monks in Tibet. The magnificent and unique Central Hall is three-story high. The first floor is of the Tibetan architectural style, the second the Han style and the third the Indian style. The halls in the monastery house many statues and murals. The monastery has bronze bells, carved marble lions and tablets marking the development of Buddhism. All these are valuable cultural relics. As described in a historical book, this monastery is considered "an unimaginable construction and incomparable monastery."
Traduk Monastery is one of earliest Buddhist temples in Tibetan history. Built in 541 A.D., it is said that king Songtsan Gampo established the temple to suppress the ogress in order to prosper his Kongkom. And later it became the winter palace of King Songtsan Gampo and Princess Wencheng in Shannan. Of all the treasures and relics kept in this monastery, the pearled Tangka--"Avalokitesvara at his rest" is the most remarkable one.
The Tombs of Tibetan Kings
Covering a total of 3.85 million square meters, the Tombs of Tibetan Kings in Chongkye County are the only tomb group of Tibet. Here buried the kings, ministers and some royal concubines from the 29th generation in the last (40th) of "Tupo" Dynasty, of all the tombs, the most remark remarkable one is king Songtsan Gampo's.
Lake Yamdrok Yumtso
In Nagartse County in Shannan Prefecture, the lake is 4,400 meters above sea level. It covers an area of 800 square kilometers and is 30-40 meters deep. Yamdrok means upper pasture and Yum means green jade in Tibetan. In a bird's-eye view, the lake is like a big piece of sapphire inlaid in the mountains and is very beautiful.
The lake is rich in hydropower resource. Its surface is more than 800 meters higher than the Yalutsanpo River at the foot of the mountain. Also here stands the Yamdrok Power Station well known for its high elevation in the world. To its south stands the magnificent Samding Monastery where Dorje Pamo, the only woman Living Buddha in Tibet, stayed and presided.
The monastery was built in the late 10th century and had its current name when it was rebuilt in 1677. It is one of the three great monasteries of the Nyingma Sect. The monastery has paid attention to the research of Buddhist classics, astronomical calendar, calligraphy rhetoric and Tibetan medicines and is famous for its achieve- ments in these fields. Over the years the recommendation of the "Chronology of the Tibetan Calendar" has been formulated by the monastery, and it is famous as the first academy of Lamaism in Tibet.