Enjoy Lingka-Tibetan’s Leisure Time in the Parks

Lingka in Tibetan language means “garden”, and the Norblingka Summer Palace used to be the “treasure garden” for the high officials and noble lords in Tibet. 

Norbulingka Summer Palace
Norbulingka Summer Palace

But now for many Tibetans “ Do Lingka” does not necessarily have to be in a garden, as long as there is a woods and a meadow for people to set up tents, then they could do a pleasant Lingka. Seems like the Tibetan way to have picnic. 

“Do Lingka” is the most common form of entertainment for Tibetans, mostly during June to September. When the season comes, you could see a lot of dressed up local Tibetans move to the suburb “lingka”. You can see the cars, mules, horses and motorbikes carrying table and chairs, food, cookery.

The main places to do lingka in Lhasa are Norblingka Summer Palace, The people’s park, the Dzongyab Lukhang Park and the woods near Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery

Tibetans Do Lingka in Summer
Tibetans Do Lingka in Summer

The people in Shigatse mainly do Lingka at the new palace of the Panchen Lama. And the people in Tsedang do Lingka near Yarlung Zangbo River and at the foot of Gongburi Holy Mountain.  When doing Lingka, the tibetans gather together with family and friends, having delicious food, singing and dancing. 

The Tibetans love nature very much. Doing Lingka is a habit formed for a long time under the climate and living environment of the Tibet plateau. Tibet has very short summer, extremely cold and long winter. For the local Tibetans, the warm and bright season is very precious and cherished gift of the nature. Also this time period is a slack season in farming, that leaves more leisure time for local people to enjoy and experience the infinite beauty of nature, and the quality time with family and friends. 

Bringing tents and blankets, with their home-made barley wine, butter tea, and delicious snacks, the locals come to the tree lined woods, set up tents, and have food while enjoying the nature. Some of the Tibetan people even wear their festival costumes. Tents belong to different family might  invite each other to share food, sing and dance together.

Dzonggyab Lukhang Park
Dzonggyab Lukhang Park

The Children’s day on 1st June is the most grand festival in Tibet. the Saga Dawa Festival held at Shigatse area also around this time period. The Tibetan would have a holiday of three days. 

There are various activities for doing Lingka, but generally speaking, only two themes: worship and entertainment. Another saying is that people doing Lingka is the way to commemorate Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava beat all the demons in Tibet in may of the year of monkey. 

Spending time in the nature from morning to the evening, singing all the way back. Some people like to do Linkgka near the river, talking with families and friends while washing clothes and shoes and socks. Then just eat and drink, enjoy the splendid nature and the time spend with friends and family, or lay on the grassland, wait for sun to dry the clothes. Then go home with a delightful mood when sunset.

This is one of the feature characteristic of Tibetan culture. In the past, some people called it "suburb Banquet", and outsiders like to call this activity "Lingka Festival". In fact, there is no so-called festival, it is more like a passionate and enthusiastic lifestyle of the Tibetan people. 

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