Monasteries and Palaces

Trip Facts:

Tour Name : TIBET - 9 DAYS
Entry / Exit : Fly In / Fly Out
Grade : Easy to Adventurous
Max Elevation : 5200m/17056ft
Accommodation : Hotel /Home stay
Meal : Bed & breakfast in Hotels and Full board during camping.
Transport : Flight & Private vehicle

Trip summary:

Tibetan practiced Bonpo a tantric tradition but when Buddhism was brought to Tibet, it spread like wildfire and eventually Buddhist evolved into Tibetan traditional life style. Later Tibetan Buddhism expanded further into various branches lead by great masters Tsongkhapa founded Geluk order, Padmasambhawa Ngima order which further branch out to many other tradition like Karmapa, Karma Kagyu, and Sakyapa. There are thousands of temple and monasteries scattered around Tibet mostly central and eastern Tibet belong to various tradition.

This Tour is dedicated to Monk and become a part of daily life of Buddhism in Tibet True to its nickname, “the Roof of the world”, Tibet is more or less an untamed land of nomads (drokpas), monasteries, yaks, sand dunes, and high altitude desert that goes as far as the eyes can take it. This high altitude trekking offers opportunity to experience rural life of Tibetan people, Nomads (Drokpa), flora and fauna. Enjoy breath taking view of mighty Mt. Everest, highest monastery on earth. Journey continues to ancient city of Shigatse, Gyantse, Holy Lake of Yamdrok Tso and finally reached Lhasa visiting Monasteries and Palaces.

SERVICES INCLUDED:

Twin sharing accommodation as per the itinerary on bed & breakfast (BB) basis and full board during camping as per the itinerary.
English speaking Tibetan Guide.
Transportation as per the itinerary by necessary vehicle.
Monastery entrance fee & Rongbuk Entry Fee.
Everest Conservation Fee.
Transfer from Rongbuk to EBC by bus.
Tibet Travel permits.
Emergency mineral water in the vehicle.
Emergency portable oxygen cylinder in the vehicle.
Trip briefing by Tibet expert & entertain question.
Trip Information pack.
Gift pack (prayer flag or string of flag & paper prayer Lungtha).

Note: Offer Prayer flag or Lungtha (string of prayer flag) in high passes, temple for good fortune & long life.

SERVICES EXCLUDED:

Tibet Visa Fee (Acceptable in US$ cash only)

Airfare: Kathmandu – Lhasa - Kathmandu
Expenses during any rescue operation.
Lunch and Dinner
Alcoholic beverages & bar bills.
All expenses of personal nature, phone calls, laundry etc.
Gratuity to staff.
Services of Porterage and other vehicles in between in case of landslides and other natural calamities beyond our control and expenses incurred during rescue services.
Services not mentioned herein.

Itinerary

Day 01: Fly to Gongkar Airport & drive to Lhasa (3600m/11811ft) 65 km, 1hr:

Arrival and your Tibetan guide will welcome you by offering khada (scarf) at Gongkar Airport. You will drive for around 45 minutes to reach the ancient city, of Lhasa. After checking in at your hotel, you are advised to take rest, drink plenty of fluids and most importantly let your body get used to Lhasa’s high altitude. During afternoon you can go around the hotel area for light walk and sightseeing. O/N at Hotel in Lhasa (BB)

Day 02: Sightseeing tour of Jokhang Temple, Sera Monastery and Barkhor Market (3600m/11811ft):

After breakfast you will be briefed about the day’s program. Then your guide will take you on a tour to Jokhang Temple, Sera Monastery and Barkhor Market respectively.

Jokhang Temple: Jokhang a seventh-century geomantic temple at the heart of Lhasa is the most sacred temple of all Tibet. It is considered to be a Power Place in all Tibet. Queen Bhrikuti, a Nepalese princess married to King Songtsen Gampo founded Jokhang Temple and in recognition of Queen Bhrikuti the main gate of the temple faces west towards Nepal.  The most impressive structure of the Jokhang Temple is the many chapels surrounding the temple. Received blessing from the most sacred statue of Tibet original sculpture crafted when Siddhartha Gautama was only 12 years old said to be blessed by Buddha himself.

Sera Monastery: This monastery is approx. 5km drive away from Lhasa. Sera Monastery was founded in 1419. It sits in the prettiest and most charming atmosphere at the base of Mount Purbuchok. Sera Monastery used to be an important center for learning where in the past approx. 5,000 to 6,000 monks resided. Currently about 550 monks are supposed to be living there. Here one can witness the practicing of debate among the monks, who pitch their knowledge against each other, Debating is one of the most important part of learning in school of Buddhism and Sera is the only Monastery Debating takes place in Central Tibet. Your Tibetan Guide can translate the conversation; you are not allowed to take pictures to avoid disruption. 

Barkhor Market (Bazaar): The most popular Barkhor Market (colorful Bazaar) is a square where Tibetan handicraft items, Buddhist artifacts, carpets, paintings etc. are all in sale for your delight. You will witness dedication of Tibetan in their religion as hundreds of local making Kora (sacred walk clockwise and Prostrating 108 times). At the end of the day your guide will escort you back to your hotel. Lhasa offers variety of Restaurant for both Lunch and Dinners. O/N at Hotel in Lhasa (BB)

Day 03: Sightseeing tour of Potala Palace & Local Village Tour:

After an early breakfast, you will be escorted by your guide to the majestic Potala Palace and the beautifully landscaped Drepung Monastery.

Potala Palace: Also known as the “winter palace”. The imposing structure of the palace dominates the landscape of Lhasa. is a 13th storied complex monument rising to a height of above 117m which houses 10,000 shrines and over 200,000 images and about 1000 rooms.As you are guided through the ancient chambers of the palace, you get to see Tibetan art at its best. The Potala Palace has a vast array of intricate Tibetan murals and beautiful statues. You will also get to view the tombs of the eight Dalai Lamas.

Shal Village: Shal is located approx 10 km (half an hr drive) east of Lhasa with population with approx 150 families. Shal is an old Village town and most of the people are farmers or nomads. Village is quite popular for potato and barley farming and now interestingly, domestic tourist have buying local product and started to reserve crops for next season which has encouraged village farmers to cultivate more cash crops and its generating income for villagers. During the village of village, guest can enjoy hiking in nearby Holy Mountain.  The place offers a breathtaking view of the high mountains, fresh flowing stream and the open green pastures.  The best part of this hike is the opportunity to see the nomad’s community, during summer time from May to October when they live in the pastures grazing their cattle. There is nunnery in the village to visit, if time permits.

Note: Since only a limited number of visitors are allowed inside the Potala palace every day, the order of sightseeing places will be decided upon by your guide.

Day 04: Drive to Tsedang. Visit Samye Monastery & Mindorling Monastery (3510 /11512ft), 160km, and 3hrs:

After hearty breakfast at hotel, you will drive towards Tsedang the third largest city in Tibet. Here in Tsedang, we visit Samye Monastery & Mindorling Monastery respectively

Samye Monastery: First Buddhist Monastery to be built in Tibet with the help of great tantric master Padmasambhava who was invited by King Trison Detsan after being disturbed by demonic force from building the monastery, Padmasambhawa successfully subdued demon by his super national power of tantric ritual perform in nearby hill of Hipory and transform in the path of Dharma. The monastery was designed on the plan of the Odantapuri temple in present day Bihar, Bihar and mirrored the basic structure of the universe. As described in Buddhist cosmology. The central temple represents Mt. Sumeru the mythical mountain at the centre of the cosmos. Around it are four temples called “ling” which represent the four continents (ling) situated in the vast ocean to the north, south, east, and west of Sumeru. To the right and left of each of these temples are two smaller temples called “ling-tren,” representing the subcontinents (ling-tren) of the Buddhist universe. O/N at Hotel in Tsedang (BB)

Day 05: Visit Yarlung Valley:

The Yarlung Valley is formed by the Yarlung Tsangpo River and refers especially to the district where it joins with the Chongye River, and broadens out into a large plain about 2 km wide, before they flow north into the Yarlung Tsangpo River or Brahmaputra. It is situated in Nedong County of Lhokha Prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China The valley, often referred to as the "cradle of Tibetan civilization", is only 72 km long, but contains a number of important castles, monasteries, temples, meditation caves, peaks and stupas. There are three renowned power places, Sheldrak, Tradruk, and Yumbu Lagang or (Yungbulakang Palace), time permits visit Chimpu nunnery and hermitage to receive blessing from the monks. O/N Tsedang (BB).

Mindroling Monastery: The area around Mindroling is famous as the birthplace of many renowned Nyingma teachers: Drapa Ngonshe, Orgyen Lingpa, Terdak Lingpa, and Longchen Rabjampa, all of whom spent much of most important Nyingma monastery in Central Tibet. In fact it was the first large monastic establishment of the school, which until the seventeenth century was based in small temples and hermitages throughout Tibet. It was founded by the tertön Terdak Lingpa (1646 – 1714) in 1676.

Tandruk Temple: Tandruk is situated in the middle of village of the same name 5 km south of Tsethang upthe Yarlung Valley. It is one of the first Buddhist temples built in Tibet. As with the Jokhang and Ramoche temples, its founding is attributed to King Songtsen Gampo in the seventh century. He is said to have erected it to house spontaneously formed image of Tara, and also served as a winter palace for the King. Like the Katsel Temple near Medrogungkar, it is a“demoness-subduing” temple. It was repaired and enlarged by King Trisong Detsen, further expanded in the fourteenth and seventh centuries.

Yumbulagang Monastery: a further 6 km up the Yarlung Valley a small road winds up to the left and takes you to what is regarded as the site of the oldest building in Tibet. Yumbulagang is believed by Tibetans to have originally built by the first king of the Yarlung Dynasty Nyatri Tsenpo. This tall, dignified building rises erect on the spur of the hill, commanding view of the entire valley, Scholars    believe that this building that stood on this site until the mid-sixties probably dated back to the seventh or eighth century may have been built by either Songten Gampo or Trisong Detsen. Tibetan murals suggest that it found its final form during the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama. O/N at Hotel in Tsedang (BB)

Day 06: Drive to Gyantse. Visit Khumbum & Pelkor Stupa (3950m/12956ft) 310km, 6hrs:

This morning you will leave Tsedang and continue your journey towards Gyantse. Gyantse is almost 310 km away from Tsedang and takes almost 6hours of drive. En-route we will drive over two spectacular high passes – the Khamba La at 4970m and Karo La at 5045m, over, and along the beautiful deep blue green Lake called Yamdrok Lake or Turquoise Lake. Here in Gyantse we will visit the Khumbum & Pelkhor Stupa respectively

Pelkhor Chöde: Work started on the monastery by Rabten Kunzang in 1418 under spiritual guidance of Tsongkhapa’s disciple Khedrup Je, and was completed seven years later in 1425. Remarkably preserved, many statues and paintings inside date back to the time of its founding. Although the shrines are predominantly Shakya, it was traditionally unaffiliated and used as common assembly place. Today it is looked after by the Gelukpas.

Kumbum: Rabten Kunzang in July 1427 embarked on his most ambitious project – the construction of the Kumbum (or Tashi Gomang Chöten), which was probably completed in 1439. The gilded copper roofing and the final consecration ceremonies, however not completed until 1474. The term Khumbun means having 100,000 images and refers to a particular style of stupa construction in which chapels are housed in ascending symmetrical stories. O/N at Hotel in Gyantse (BB)

Day 07: Drive to Shigatse. Visit Tashilumpho Monastery:

We further drive 90km to Shigatse, the second largest town in Tibet for an overnight.  There are about 39 amazing chapels inside including the huge Maitreya Chapel coated with gold; its workmanship certainly impresses everyone. Here you will be visiting Tashilumpho Monastery.

Tashilhumpo Monastery: Located in on the western edge of modern Shigatse was founded in 1447 by Gendun Drup, a disciple of Tsongkhapa, who was subsequently recognized as the Dalai Lama. Gendun Drup was entombed in Tashilhunpo, one of two Dalai Lamas (the other was the sixth) whose remains are not enshrined in Lhasa. It was here that the Fifth Dalai Lama declared his teacher, Losang Chökyi Gyeltsen, and then abbot of Tashilhunpo Monastery, to be a manifestation of Buddha Amitabha fourth in a line of incarnate lamas starting from Khedrup Je, one of Tsongkhapa’s two chief disciples. Since the abbot of Tashilhunpo was already referred to by the title Panchen (great scholar), these incarnate lamas were called the Panchen Lamas. Losang Chökyi Gyeltsen thus became the fourth Panchen Lama. It is one of the main Geluk Monasteries. After detailed visit of Shigatse, we will visit the local markets for shopping and local sightseeing. O/N at Hotel in Shigatse (BB)

Day 08: Drive to Lhasa via the North Route (3600m /11811ft) 280km, 4 hrs:

After hearty breakfast at hotel you will be guided to explore the local market. Then you continue your journey back to Lhasa which is almost 4 hours of drive via the Northern route. O/N at Hotel in Lhasa (BB)

Day 09: Tour Concludes (3600m/11811ft) 65 km, 1hr:

After breakfast, your guide will give you a final departure transfer for your next destination.  Tour Concludes.