National Geographic : 1955 Jul
10 Hiking near Lhasa, Peter Aufschnaiter Jests with a Nobleman's Daughter Mr. Aufschnaiter, a skilled mountaineer, frequently roamed the Lhasa hills with Tibetan friends. Accompanied by Tess-La, daughter of Tsarong Shape (page 13), he pauses en route to a pilgrims' shrine. Tess-La later married Jigmie Dorji, son of neighboring Bhutan's prime minister (see "Bhutan, Land of the Thunder Dragon," by Burt Kerr Todd, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, December, 1952, pages 742-3). tainous border region of China's neighboring Tsinghai Province, where many Tibetans live. She attained almost regal status overnight. Yet she bore herself with the confident poise of a lady born (page 14). "It has been our privilege," she smiled, "to give three sons to the Church. Our eldest son, Tagtsel Rimpoche, was recognized long ago as an incarnation. Lobsang, here in the robes of a monk, is destined to a celibate life and service as a Government officer. Another boy is in school in China. Our fourth son was found to be the Esteemed King when he was two years old." A month later the Gyayum Chemo gave birth to a fifth son. He, too, was recognized as an incarnation. Unconsciously, the Great Mother minimized the existence of two daughters, both living in the family home. Despite their happy domi nance of the household, women have no voice in Tibet's public affairs. Ruler Has Many Names Tibetans, our hosts explained, never use the expression "Dalai Lama," Mongolian for "Wide Ocean." His subjects speak of the venerated ruler as Gyalpo Rim poche, "Esteemed King." To his immediate family he is Kundun, "the Presence." Later, I also was allowed to use this familiar term. Our hostess indicated that our interview was ended. She presented each of us with a 100-sang note, the equivalent of about $5. "I have an order from the Kun dun to help you in every way," she smiled. "Whatever you need, it is my wish that you tell me." Aufschnaiter and I strolled home in an exuberant mood. Servants bobbed behind us carrying gifts: sacks of tsampa meal, skin pouches bulging with yak butter, and lux urious Tibetan wool blankets. Soon after our visit, the Foreign Ministry sent word that we were free to roam in Lhasa. Immediately we learned the overpowering sounds, sights, and smells of the sacred city.* I explored shop after shop, a series of open cells in the thick walls of private homes. * See, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE: "The World's Strangest Capi tal," by John Claude White, March, 1916, and "The Most Extraordinary City in the World," by Shaoching H. Chuan, October, 1912.