Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/400

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steppes the wind is bitterly cold. The French traveller Gabet had the skin peeled almost entirely off his face when travelling to Lhasa; and the balls of tsamba placed when hot in the morning under three or four thicknesses of clothing were in the evening found frozen hard. In spring and summer there are heavy hail-storms. During April, May, and June the air is wonderfully clear and pure. The rainy season of India makes itself felt to a certain extent throughout Tibet, and not infrequently snow falls in the height of summer. The wind, which blows unceasingly all the year round, is one of the traveller's greatest trials.

Tibet is a great land of lakes, and the winter season is chosen by travellers that an easier way over frozen lakes and rivers may be found. Among the largest of the lakes are Kokonor, Tengrinor, and Yamdok.

The main routes from China into Tibet are: (1) The official route, which leaves Tachienlu by way of Batang and Chamdo. For the greater part of the way this route leads over rocky and precipitous ledges, and three months are needed to reach Lhasa. The Government postal couriers travel this route by day and night with relays of horses, and while usually taking somewhat under two months for the journey, have reached Peking from Lhasa within one month. (2) The second route from Tachienlu, longer, but over easier gradients, traverses the undulating downs of Drango, Derge, and Kegudo, and then strikes south-west to Lhasa. This route is traversed by the yak caravans bearing tea, and was followed by Rockhill and others entering China. (3) The third route is viá Sining in Kansu, Lake Kokonor and the Tsaidam, thence across the terrible Chang-tang (north desert) to Lhasa. All Chinese entering Tibet have to secure a passport. Various passes from India and Kashmir are all closely guarded, and at present access from those parts is difficult, if not impossible.

The chief Tibetan exports are gold-dust, musk, and wool. The musk is taken from the musk-deer, and is largely bought by the Chinese at Tachienlu. The musk-bag is