Tibetan Wagon Train

There were not many vehicles in Tibet before the Chinese invasion. The Chinese have built roads and brought in trucks and cars; and they recently opened a railway connection too.

But, apart from Lhasa and the few towns, for the majority of Tibetans it’s not really a vehicular part of the world.

Tibetans use horses as personal transport and horse carts or wagons for carriage of goods. In mountain areas yaks are either ridden or used as a beast of burden. Pushcarts are used in the city. And Tibetans walk long distances. There is even a (secret) yogic practice that involves speed-walking long-distance in a trance-like state.

It took me a week to travel overland from Lhasa back down to Kathmandhu. I saw many of these wagons, and the bleak landscapes and primitive transport are a memory I treasure.

Rather than wooden wagon wheels, either bicycle or lightweight motorcycle wheels are used. But, as my only real point of reference was black and white cowboy films on TV from my childhood, the scenes evoked for me some sort of alternative American ‘wild west.’

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Tibet, November, 1994

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~ by lovedubs on March 9, 2007.

 
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