Tips For Finding Places In Tibet & The Himalayas

THL Toolbox > Places & Geography > Tips For Finding Places In Tibet & The Himalayas

Tips for Finding Places in Tibet and the Himalayas

Contributor(s): THL Staff.


This site is devoted to collecting tips and resources for locating resources on places in and/or relevant to Tibet and the Himalayas, whether in THL, on the Web, in print resources, or elsewhere. Thus if you want to know about Lhasa, Kathmandu, Leh or other places – where do you look? This is a community driven project, so please contact us at if you would like to contribute.

Finding Latitudes and Longitudes

Contemporary technology such as GIS allows for powerful analysis and mapping through latitude and longitude coordinates for a given place. Unfortunately this is particularly difficult to know for historical sites, both since their precise geographical location may be uncertain, and because even when known, you may not know where to find the latitude and longitude. The first place to try is the extensive government and other publications that have been appearing over the last several decades which function as gazetteers of various regions. These publications often provide a place name and latitude/longitude coordinates. We are currently preparing an annotated bibliography of such resources for reference. Keep in mind, however, that often historical places shift over time, especially during the recent turbulent history of Tibet, such that modern administrative regions, villages or even monasteries with a well-known name are not necessarily in the same physical location as the historical feature of that name. Another strategy is to try to locate the feature in question within a contemporary administrative region – a county, township, and so forth – and then use THL's extant latitude/longitude values for that region to create an imprecise georeferencing for the feature.

This online service below offers a tool for locating lat/long on a Google Map. Note that accuracy of this map is not yet determined.

> external link:

Reference Works for Descriptions of Places

Place name indexes to historical works are especially helpful in researching geographical features and their names. In addition, certain secondary language scholarly works are particularly helpful with place name indexes in their appendices. We are currently preparing an annotated bibliography of such resources for reference.

Online Resources for Searching for Place Names

THL itself offers a Gazetteer, essentially a searchable dictionary of place names in Tibet and the Himalayas. external link:

external link:;jsessionid=3D3C91CBF95092A7E60F7E638F67F103?collection=Places

Online Mapping Services

Note that the following web services are not necessarily part of the THL website. Full URL's are included as source link.

  • THE NEW* Yahoo Map service is offering very impressive roadmap overlays on satellite imagery of Tibet. external link:
  • Google maps in English thus far is only offering satellite imagery in Tibet; (Better satellite city detail than Yahoo however.) external link:
  • This chinese Language Google Map includes detailed street maps of China but only main arteries of the Tibetan road network. external link:

Provided for unrestricted use by the external link: Tibetan and Himalayan Library