Tibetan Culture Guide

Tibetan houses

Tibetan houses are widely different from region to regions, in the central Tibet it is built by combination of stone, earth and wood, where in the eastern part use mostly wood and very thin wall in the outermost, some part in the western and far-eastern(Khampa) use adobe and wood, only in eastern Tibet the houses has peak roof to accommodate the long monsoon in the region, other regions has a flat roof with Lungta (wind horse prayer flags) on each corner to disperse the prayers in the wind, all the doors and windows are beautifully decorated with paintings and colorful clothes called Shambu. Each family has a special room as temple and it is fully decorated with ritual items, images and thangka. In the villages there is a small compound around the house as animal shelter and southern walls of the houses are largely covered by circular cow-dung for drying.


Yak is most symbolic animal of Tibet plateau, which exists nowhere else in the world, yak is resistant to extreme cold of -30 or -40°. The nights in winter do not frighten the yak even in high winds. It provides everything like meat, milk of which one makes butter and oil for lamps, the long hair is useful for making ropes, clothing, blankets and tents, dung is used as fuel, to boil tea as it does not give enough calories to heat either a house or a tent. In the early days traders in Tibet were mainly depend on Yak as the only means transportation, and farmers use yak for ploughing fields.

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