Tsetang (which means playground in Tibetan) is a small city located 183 km southeast of Lhasa in Tibet. Tsetang is the hub for numerous side trips to moansteries , castles and sites associated with Tibet’s earliest history. It was the capital of Yarlung, the valley of the Kings, and as such, a place of great importance. In the 19th century it is said to have contained some 1,000 houses, a bazaar, a gompa and a fort. It is now the capital of Shannan prefecture and the second-largest town in the region.
Yambu Lakhang Castle: This resplendent hill top structure is reputedly reconstruction of Tibet’s oldest building, although the current structure is a restored version. This is supposed to be the first fortified house in Tibet,built for the first Yarlung king and only transformed into a monastery in the 7th century. Some sources say that when Nyatri Tsenpo emerged as the first king of Tibet in 247 or 127BC, he was escorted here by his Bonpo followers and his first palace built.Later additions including Dalai Lama V’s gold roofs and Songtsen Gampo’s chapels were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and the current structure dates from 1982. the newly painted murals depict the history of Yarlung, the 8 form of Guru Rinpoche, and Shakyamuni and his forms of manifestation.
Chognye valley , the Valley of the kings lies 30km southwest of Tsetang.It is the ancient capital of the Yarlung Kings who established the Tibetan nation sometime before the 5th century.There are burial mounds of 11 of the 13 Tibetan kings.