Tibetan places outside Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR)
In Dege, the last town before Tibet province, lies the red-walled printing monastery Bakong. It is a sacred place where pilgrims supposedly circle the outer walls a thousand times. Inside, Tibetan scriptures are printed by hand and put to dry, as they have been done for centuries. The store rooms are filled from floor to ceiling with almost 300,000 engraved woodblocks with Tibetan texts. You can watch the printing process in the printing hall, where printers in almost trance turn out pages at an incredible speed. The majority of the Tibetan monasteries still get their textbooks from this printing monastery, and it is considered as one of the most important cultural center for Tibetans along with Potala Palads and Sakya monastery, both in Tibet.
Sky burial is a Tibetan custom for giving back the earthly remains after death, when the soul has left the body for reincarnation. The body is simply sliced open and offered to waiting vultures that rip the flesh from the bones within minutes. Afterwards, the bones, along with the skull and brain, are smashed to pieces with an axe and mixed with barley flour and again offered to the still waiting vultures. Besides being a mind blowing experience (and not for the faint hearted), it's also a very rare opportunity to get close to these monster birds of prey, some of them very rare (such as Black and Bearded vultures). Remember this is not a tourist attraction and an invitation should be obtained before attending. (The picture was taken with permission from the descendants).