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8 Days Tibetan culture In-depth

Tour Tibetan culture In-depth tour almost covers all the highlights of Central Tibet. In Lhasa, you will visit the World Heritage Sites of the Potala and Jokhang Temple and the Barkhor Pilgrimage circuit, the huge monastic institution of Drepung and Sera Monastery, in Tsedang, visit Tibet’s first Palace Yumbulakhang, Tibet’s first monastery Samye Monastery, on the way to Gyangtse, and has a glimpse of Holy Lake - Yamdrok Lake. In Gyangtse, visit the famous Gyangtse Kumbum Stupa. In Shigatse, visit the seat of Panchen Lama - Tashilhunpo Monastery.

The Potala Palace in Lhasa was the primary residence of the Dalai Lama until 1959.

Today the Potala Palace is a state museum, a popular tourist attraction, and a UNESC world heritage site. It was also recently named one of the "New Seven Wonders of the World" by the television show Good Morning America and the newspaper USA Today

Jokhang Temple ("House of the Lord") in Lhasa is the holiest site in Tibetan Buddhism, attracting crowds of prostrating Tibetan pilgrims and curious foreign tourists every year. It hosts the annual Great Prayer Festival, as well as all ceremonies of initiation for the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lamas.

 

8 Days Tibetan culture In-depth

Trip Outline

Day1: Arrival/ Acclimatization (3650M, stay in Lhasa three star hotel: Shangbala, Yak, Dhogu. Located in old town)

Day2: Lhasa sight seeing visit Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple ( 3650M, Stay in Lhasa three star hotel: Shangbala, Yak, Dhogu. Located in old town)

Day3: Lhasa sight seeing visit Drepung and Sera Monastery (3650M, stay in Lhasa three star hotel: Shangbala, Yak, Dhogu. Located in old town)

Day4: Lhasa- Samye- Tsedang (3515MStay in two or three star hotel in Tsedang: Postal, Yulong, Pigeon hotel) 

Day5: Tsedang- Yamdrok Lake- Gyangtse (3980M, Stay in two hotel in Gyangtse: Yeti, Jianzang hotel)

Day6: Gyangtse- Shalu Monastery- Shigatse (3840M, Stay in three or four hotel: Mansaravor, Tashi Chodar hotel)

Day7: Shigatse- Lhasa  (stay in Lhasa three star hotel: Shangbala, Yak, Dhogu. Located in old town)

Day8: Departure from Lhasa to your next trip (flight or train)

 

DETAILED ITINERARY 

Day1: Arrival at Lhasa 

Upon arrival at Lhasa airport or train station, You will greet by your tour Tibetan tour guide & driver and will transfer to your hotel / hostel in Lhasa, from the airport it is 68km to Lhasa and it takes one and half hour, from the train station it is only 15km and it takes 20 minutes. Afternoon have a good rest to acclimatize the high altitude. Overnight at Lhasa.

Day2: Lhasa City sightseeing visit Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple 

Today is your first day of sightseeing on the high plateau, so we have purposely arranged only to visit Jokhang temple and Potala Palace. Over night at Lhasa City in 3 star hotel. The Potala Palace is made of two main parts, easily distinguished by their color: the Red Palace and White Palace. The two are joined by a smaller, yellow-painted structure that houses the sacred banners hung on the exterior for the New Year festivals. The rooms inside the palace are identified by numbers as well as names. The most important shrine in the Potala is the Saint's Chapel in the White Palace, which contains a revered statue of Chenrezi, bodhisattva of compassion. Below the Saint's Chapel is the Dharma Cave, where King Songtsen Gampo studied the Buddhist scriptures after his conversion in the 7th century. These rooms are the oldest part of the Potala Palace. Jokhang Temple was founded in 647 by King Songtsen Gampo (r.617-49), the first ruler of a unified Tibet, and his two foreign wives who are credited with bringing Buddhism to Tibet. The king's first wife, Princess Bhrikuti (married in the 630s), was the sister of the Nepalese king, while his second wife, Princess Wencheng (married 641), was the niece or daughter of the Chinese emperor. The temple was constructed to house a sacred image of the Buddha, the Jowo Rinpoche, which Queen Wencheng brought with her from China as a dowry. This statue is still enshrined within the temple and is the holiest object in Tibet.

Day3: Lhasa City sightseeing visit Drepung monastery and Sera monastery 

Today you will be arranged to visit Drepung monastery in the morning and Sera monasteries in the afternoon. Overnight at Lhasa. Drepung Monastery founded in 1416, Drepung Monastery on the outskirts of Lhasa was once Tibet's largest and most influential monastery, with over 10,000 monks. Today, Drepung houses about 700 monks and attracts pilgrims and visitors from around the world. Drepung is especially known as the site of the annual Shoton Festival, with its dramatic unfurling of a giant Thangka painting on the hillside. The Sera Monastery at the foot of Tatipu Hill is located in the northern suburb of Lhasa City. It is one of three famous monasteries in Lhasa along with the Drepung monastery  and the Ganden monastery The Sera Monastery is dedicated to the Gelugpa or Yellow Hat Sect, a branch of Tibetan Buddhism, founded by Tsongkhapa. Jamchen Chojey, one of Tsongkhapa disciples built the monastery in 1419 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

Day4: Lhasa-Samye-Tsedang (290KM, 3-4hours)

Morning drive to Tsedang city which is located at the Yarlung Valley, it is also reputed as 'the cradle of Tibetan civilization'. After process the PSB at local Tsedang PSB office, drive along the bank of Brahmaputra River to visit Samye Monastery, which is believed to be the first Monastery in Tibet with a history of over 1,200 years. Late afternoon drive back to Tsedang, visit Yumbulakhang Palace - the first palace in Tibet. Overnight at Tsedang. 

Samye: Built in the 8th century, Samye Monastery was the first Buddhist monastery to be founded in Tibet. It is also notable as the site of the "Great Debate" (792-794) between the Indian Mahayanists and Chinese Chán (Zen) Buddhists. Samye is famous for its sacred Mandala design: the central temple symbolizes the legendary Mount Meru, center of the universe. It is a popular pilgrimage destination for Tibetan Buddhists, some of whom travel on foot for weeks to reach it.

History: Samye Monastery was founded in the 8th century during the reign of King Trisong Detsen with the help of the Indian Buddhist masters Padmasambhava and Shantarakshita, whom the king had invited to Tibet to help spread Buddhism. Padamasambhava is credited with subduing the local spirits and winning them over to Buddhism. The first Tibetan monks were ordained here after examination, and are referred to as the Seven Examined Men. Over the centuries Samye has been associated with various schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Padmasambhava's involvement makes Samye important in the Nyingma school, but it was later taken over by the Sakya and Gelugpa schools. Today, Tibetans of all traditions come to worship here. 

What to See: A unique monastery and village rolled into one, Samye is a highlight of a visit to Tibet. Situated amidst breathtaking scenery, the journey to Samye is splendid no matter how you arrive. The layout of the huge monastery complex forms a giant mandala, a representation of the Buddhist universe, and is modeled after the Indian temple of Odantapuri in Bihar. The complex is surrounded by a strong wall topped by 1008 (108 is a sacred number) tiny chortens and pierced by gates at the four cardinal points. The main temple in the center represents Mt. Meru, the mythical mountain at the center of the Buddhist universe. The four continents in the ocean around Mt. Meru are represented by the four lingshi temples at the cardinal points, each flanked by two smaller temples (lingtren) to symbolize islands in the ocean. There are four large chortens at the corners of the main temple in four different colors, and there is a nyima (Sun) temple in the north and a dawa (Moon) temple to the south.

The Main Temple, or Utse, at Samye is a grand six-story building that takes a couple of hours to thoroughly explore. Bring a flashlight to see the murals hidden in the shadows. The first floor is the most impressive of the six, and is dominated by the main assembly hall, with old mandalas on the high ceiling. Flanking the entrance to the main chapel are statues of historical figures associated with Samye's founding: Shantarakshita, Padmasambhava, Trisong Detsen and Songtsen Gampo are among those on the left. The chapel, Jowo Khang, is accessed through three tall doorways and enshrines a statue of Buddha at the age of 38. Left of the assembly hall is a small temple, Chenresi Lhakhang, which houses a beautiful statue of Chenresi with a eye carefully painted on the palm of each of his thousand hands. This is perhaps the artistic highlight of Samye. To the right of the assembly hall is the Gonkhang, a protector chapel, with eerie statues of former Bon demons that were turned into fierce Buddhist protector deities. The second floor is an open roof area, where monks and locals carry out the craft work for the temple. The third floor contains the Quarters of the Dalai Lama, with a small anteroom, throne room and bedroom. In the bedroom is a barred, glass-fronted case full of wonderful relics: Padmasambhava hair and walking stick, a Tara statue that is reputed to speak, and the skull of Shantarakshita.

Naturally, this room is of utmost importance to Tibetan pilgrims so there is often a crush of bodies that makes it difficult to linger very long. The top floors have little to see in themselves, but provide excellent views from their balconies.

The four brightly-colored chorten (black, white, red and green) at the main temple's corners are modern and each one is slightly different. Inside them are stairs and tiny chapels. Most visitors either love them or hate them.

The rest of the buildings are in varying stages of renovation, with some being used as stables and others still showing the effects of the Cultural Revolution. The finest murals are in Mani Lhakhangs in the northwest of the complex. East of the complex, you can climb the sacred Hypo Ri for splendid views. It was here that Padmasambhava is said to have subdue the local spirits and won them over to Buddhism.

Day5: Tsedang-Yamdrok Lake-Gyangtse (300KM, 6-7hours)

After breakfast at Hotel, start to drive up to Kampala pass which is 4794m high, you will have a glimpse of Yamdrok-Tso, one of the three holy lakes in Tibet. After lunch at Nangartse County, keep driving along the Friendship southern Hwy to Gyangtse; visit the famous Stupa Gyangtse Kumbum, the most stunning architectural wonder in Tibet. Overnight at Gyantse.

Day6: Gyangtse- Shalu Monastery-Shigatse (120KM, 2 hours)

Morning visit Gyangtse Dzong where you will see the whole Gyangtse city. Afterwards drive to Shalu monastery, which is around 20km south of Shigatse. After sightseeing at Shalu monastery, drive to Shigatse, visit Tashilunpo Monastery and the spectacular tombs of Panchen Lamas in Shigatse, and do its kora. Overnight at Shigatse. In Shigatse you can visit Amazing Tashilunpo monastery. Tashilhunpo Monastery is one of the Six Big Monasteries of Gelugpa (or Yellow Hat Sect) in Tibet. Also called the Heap of Glory, the monastery is located at the foot of Drolmari (Tara's Mountain), Shigatse. Founded by the First Dailai Lama in 1447, the monastery's structure was expanded by the Fourth and successive Panchen Lamas. Tashilhunpo Monastery covers an area of nearly 300,000 square meters (3,229,279 sq. ft.). The main structures found in the Tashilhunpo Monastery are The Maitreya Chapel, The Panchen Lama's Palace and The Kelsang Temple. Tashilhunpo is the seat of the Panchen Lama since the Fourth Panchen Lama took charge in the monastery, and there are now nearly 800 lamas.

Day7: Shigatse-Lhasa (280KM, 5hours)

After breakfast drive back to Lhasa along the northern friendship way, marvelous landscapes and sceneries along the Brahmaputra River will accompany you all the way back to Lhasa. Overnight at Lhasa.

Day8: Departure from Lhasa airport /train station

Your guide and driver will see you off at the airport or train station, end of the trip. Tibet warmheartedly welcome you back home forever. we would love to send you all the best wishes for your continue happy journey.

 

Book your Tibet trip to local travel agency in Lhasa.

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