Locked in by towering mountains, the Tibet Autonomous Region, on China’s southwestern border, lies in the main part of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, the highest in the world. Set up as an autonomous region in 1965, it is situated 78’24”-99’06” east longitude and 26’52”-36’32” north latitude with an area of more than 1.2 million square kilometers, acc ounting for 1/8 of the country’s total area and ranking 2nd only to Northeast China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in the country. Tibet neighbors Qinghai Province and Xinjiang in the north, Yunnan Province in the southeast, and Kashmir, India, Nepal, Sikkim (state in India), Bhutan, and Burma in the west and south.
Tibet owns some of the world’s tallest mountains, with several of them making the top 10 list. Mount Everest, at 8,848 metres (29,029 ft), is the highest mountain on earth, located on the border with Nepal. Several major rivers have their source in the Tibetan Plateau (mostly in present-day Qinghai Province). These include Yangtze, Yellow River, Indus River, Mekong, Ganges, Salween and the Yarlung Zangbo River. The Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon, along the Yarlung Zangbo River, is one of the deepest and longest canyons in the world. The Indus and Brahmaputra rivers originate from a lake in Western Tibet, near Mount Kailash. The mountain is a holy pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Tibetans. The Hindus consider the mountain to be the abode of Lord Shiva. The Tibetan name for Mt. Kailash is Khang Rinpoche. Tibet has numerous high-altitude lakes with stunning landscape. These include Qinghai Lake, Lake Manasarovar, Namtso, Pangong Tso, Yamdrok Lake, Lhamo La-tso, Lake Puma Yumco, Lake Paiku, Lake Rakshastal, Dagze Co and Dong Co. The Qinghai Lake (Koko Nor) is the largest lake in China.