Trip Highlights :-Kathmandu | Lhasa | Jokhang Temple | Gyantse | Shigatse | Lhatse | Nyalam | Kodari |
Tour duration : 07 Nights / 08 Days
Arrival Lhasa and acclimatization (Lhasa follows mainland China time and its 2.15 hrs. ahead of Nepal time). Welcome to Tibet at Gonggar Airport, Lhasa, the capital of China's Tibet Autonomous Region, has a history of more than 1,300 years. It is the political, economic, cultural and transport center of the region. Lhasa covers an area of close to 30,000 square km. It has a downtown of 544 square km and a population of 400,000; 140,000 of its people live in the downtown area. Lhasa is home to the Tibetan, Han, and Hui peoples, as well as many other ethnic groups, but the Tibetan ethnic group makes up 87 percent of the total population. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to the hotel. Here, air is extremely pure and the sky is deep blue. This day would be kept for your acclimatization. It is advisable to drink plenty of water and have a good sleep for next day's program.
Visit Potala Palace and Jokhang Monastery today, then walk on the Barkhor street surrounding Jokhang, a big free market with its prolific stalls for selling local specialties.
Potala Palace: This architectural wonder is Lhasa' cardinal landmark. It can be seen from all directions for miles around. Potala was set up in the 7th
century AD during the reign of King Songtsen Gampo. It's located on the Red Hill, covers an area of 41 hectares. At an elevation of more than 3,700m, the Potala occupies an area of more than 360,000m. Its 13-story main portion rises 117m. The whole complex, consisting of halls, stupa-tomb halls (where the relics of the supreme lamas are preserved), shrines, prayer rooms, monks' dormitories and courtyards, is recognized as the world's highest and largest castle palace.
(NOTE: The palace is made of clay and wood, it could becomes very fragile and may collapse if too many tourists enter the palace at the same time. As such to visit Potala Palace, now very limited no. of tourists are allowed every hour and the maximum time inside the palace has also been limited to just one hour. Due to this, your sightseeing program may vary from morning to afternoon or from one day to another as per the entry ticket availability at Potala palace as such kindly be flexible.)
Jokhang Temple: The Jokhang temple, a massive building consisting of three floors and an open roof all filled with chapels and chambers, has undergone extensive reconstructions and additions since the 7th century, particularly during the 17th century reign of the fifth Dalai Lama. While parts of the existing temple structure date from earlier times, most of the murals are from the 18th and 19th centuries and few statues (with the notable exception of the Joyo Sakyamuni) are older than the 1980's. The temple was sacked several times during Mongol incursions but its worst treatment has been at the hands of the Chinese since their occupation of Tibet in 1959. The Jokhang is the most celebrated temple in Tibet. Because the temple is not controlled by a particular sect of Tibetan Buddhism it attracts adherents of all the sects as well as followers of Bon-Po, Tibet's indigenous religion. Three pilgrimage circuits exist in Lhasa, each directing pilgrims to the Jowo Sakyamuni statue: the Lingkhor, which encircles the city's sacred district; the Barkhor, which encloses the Jokhang temple; and the Nangkhor, a ritual corridor inside the Jokhang. Every day throughout the year hundreds of pilgrims walk around each of these three circuits. Some pilgrims will cover the entire distance by prostrating every few feet, and others will walk slowly, chanting sacred mantras and spinning hand-held prayer wheels. For more than a thousand years millions of pilgrims have trod these sacred paths with devotion in their hearts; this cumulative focusing of intention and love has charged the Jokhang with an enormously powerful field of sanctity
Barkhor Street: The center of the old Lhasa, Barkhor is a circular street, which is the oldest street in Lhasa and remains very traditional. It is a place where Tibetan culture, economy, religion and arts assemble and a place to which a visit must be paid. It was said that in the 7th century when Songtsen Gampo, the first Tibetan King who unified Tibet, married Chinese Princess Wencheng and Nepal princess Tritsun. Later Princess Tritsun built Jokhang Temple to accommodate the Jowo Sakyamuni aged 12, brought to Tibet by Princess Wencheng. Barkhor is the road which pilgrims tramped out around Jokhang Temple through centuries. Buddhist pilgrims walk or progress by body-lengths along the street clockwise every day into deep night. They comprise most of Lhasa's floating population.
Visit Drepung Monastery for the whole morning, later after lunch, visit Sera monastery. We can do the Sera Kora walk of about 1 hr and then catch the famous debate session (if the debate session is in process) of the monks before returning back to Lhasa.
Drepung Monastery: Drepung Monastery was established near Lhasa, Tibet in 1416 by Chojey Tashi Palden. It had four departments, of which Loseling, or "The Hermitage of the Radiant Mind," was the largest, housing more than three quarters of Drepung's ten to fifteen thousand monks. Drepung Loseling was especially close to the Dalai Lama incarnations; the Second Dalai Lama made his residence here in 1494, and subsequent incarnations maintained this link
Sera Monastery: The Sera Monasteries are known as the 3 great monasteries of Tibet. All belonging to the lineage of Gelugpa started by Je Tsong Khapa in early 15th century and all are within Lhasa, capital of Tibet. Contrary to common understanding, these great monasteries are not places of worship and rituals but are in reality monastic universities providing religious education to the monks from age 8 to up to 70 in some cases.
Today after breakfast you will leave for Lhasa. Enroute you will enjoy the beautiful Scorpion shaped Yamdrok Lake. Before that you will visit the Drolma Lhakang Temple. You will have you best picture shot of Yamdrok lake at the higest alivation enroute to Gyantse, Kampa La above below 4800meters.
Yamdrok Lake: After an hour or so driving from Lhasa, you will reach the foothill of Kampa la. From the view point of Kampa La, you will have your best view of Yamdrok Lake. Though you will not see the scorpion shaped lake (view map) but you will see the sky blue water also snow capped in winter. You will drive along the Yamdrok lake for about an hour to Gyantse. On arrival to Gyantse you certain will be tired. Driver and guide will drove you to the hotel where its booked. Take rest and have dinner. Overnight in Gyantse.
After breakfast visit Kumbum and Pelku Chode. These are the very important sightseeing spots of Gyantse.
Kumbum: The first Kumbum was founded in the year 1427 by a Gyantse prince. It has nine lhakangs or levels, is 35 metres (115 ft) high surmounted by a golden dome, and contains 77 chapels which line its walls. It is in the shape of a 108-sided mandala. Kumbum means 10,000 images. The stupa raises over four symmetrical floors and is surmounted by a gold dome, which rises like a crown over four sets of eyes that gaze serenely out in the cardinal directions of the compass. Many statues were destroyed during the cultural revolutions and have been replaced by clay images. But it lacks the artistic merits of original.
Pelku Chode: The Phalkor Monastery was founded in 1418 and was designed by Newari architects from Nepal. The former has a special influence over Buddhism owing its unity of Gelugpa, Sakyapa and Bhuton sects. Pelku Chode is the Monastery inside the same compound of Kumbum. After finished with sightseeing of Kumbum and Pelku Chode, you will drive to Shigatse. It about 95kms from Gyantse. On arrival to Shigatse you will be driven to Hotel followed by visit of Shalu Monastry. Oernight in Shigatse. Afternoon drive to Shigatse & visit Tashilunpo Monastery Shigatse is the second largest city in Tibet and the capital of the traditional Tibetan province of Tsang. Tashilunpo Monastery. The first Dalai Lama founded the Tashilunpo Monastery in 1447. This monastery is one of the few monasteries in Tibet that weathered the stormy seas of the Cultural Revolution. This monastery houses the Maitreya Buddha statue weighing 275kg and made of gold and is 26 meters in height.
Tashilunpo Monastery: Tashilunpo Monastery was founded in 1447 and is the largest Yellow Hat sect monastery in Tibet. Shigaste is Tibets 2nd most important city and Tashilunpo was the seat of the Panchen Lamas. Tashilunpo contains chortens, temples and the Panchen Lama?s palace. At its peak, Tashilunpo had more than 4,000 monks in its 4 monasteries. Upon the death of a Panchen Lama, it was the 4 abbots of these monasteries that would lead the search for his infant reincarnation. The monastery is a striking red, white and black Tibetan structure with a golden roof. Within the monastery there is a 5 story temple, which contains a 26 meters (86ft) sitting statue of the Maitreya Buddha. The statue was cast from 6,700 ounces of gold and over 115,000 kg of copper, making it the biggest copper Buddhist statue in the world. The massive Thangka wall at Tashilunpo can be clearly seen from most points in Shigaste. The wall is used for displaying enormous Thangkas - religious painted banners - for only a few festival days each year.
Today after breakfast, drive to Lhatse VIA Sakya Monastery
Sakya Monastery, is a Buddhist monastery situated 25 km southeast of a bridge which is about 127 km west of Shigatse on the road to Tingri in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China.The seat of the Sakya or Sakyapa school of Tibetan Buddhism, it was founded in 1073, by Konchok Gyelpo (1034-1102), originally a Nyingmapa monk of the powerful noble family of the Tsang and became the first Sakya Trizin. Its powerful abbots governed Tibet during the whole of the 13th century after the downfall of the kings until they were eclipsed by the rise of the new Gelukpa school of Tibetan Buddhism.
Its Mongolian architecture is quite different from that of temples in Lhasa and Yarlung. The only surviving ancient building is the Lhakang Chempo or Sibgon Trulpa. Originally a cave in the mountainside, it was built in 1268 by Ponchen Sakya Sangpo in 1268 and restored in the 16th century. It contains some of the most magnificent surviving artwork in all of Tibet, which appears not to have been damaged in recent times.The Gompa grounds cover more than 18,000 square metres, while the huge main hall covers some 6,000 square metres. Most of the buildings of the monastery are in ruins, because they were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. Lhatse is small town with basic accommodation facility.
To Nyalam it is scenic drive along the Bhote Koshi River crossing Nyalam Pass & panoramic Higher Himalayan Ranges will bring next to snow caped Great Summits like Mt. Langtang, Mt. Makalu etc. After crossing the Vast Tibetan Plateau you will enter Higher Himalayan Ranges.
After breakfast, leave for Kodari Border via Zhangmu which is one of the most busiest town in Tibet being a border town and a trade route between India / Nepal and Tibet. From Zhangmu, drive down to Kodari after crossing China Emigration where Nepalese counterpart awaits for further journey to Kathamndu via Dhulikhel which takes around 3-4 hours
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