Lassa, Or H'Lassa, a city of Asia, capital of Thibet, situated in a fertile plain on an affluent of the Sampo or Dzang-ba-tzin, in lat. 30° 48' N., lon. 91° 25', 600 m. N. N. E. of Calcutta; pop. about 50,000, a large portion of whom are Buddhist priests or lamas. The streets are in general wide and regular, and the houses, whether constructed of mud, brick, or stone, have their walls whitened, and their doors and window frames painted red and yellow. It is surrounded with a wall, and contains some fine public edifices, the chief of which is a lamasery or monastery. Lassa is a place of considerable commerce, and the resort of merchants from all parts of Asia. The most important articles of trade are linens, woollen cloth, cashmere shawls, sable furs, raw silk, musk, sugar, dried fruits, bullion, glass, and cutlery. N. W. of the city, and connected with it by two avenues, is the Buddhala, or "mountain of Buddha," on which stands the palace of the grand lama, a magnificent structure four stories high, crowned by a gilded dome, and supported by columns covered with plates of gold.
This is the residence of the dalai lama or grand lama, the Buddhist sovereign pontiff of central Asia. Thither pilgrims resort from all parts of eastern Asia to perform their devotions, and do homage to the supposed incarnation of deity.