Holy City Lhasa Tour - 4 Days
Surrounded by colossal mountain ranges in southwestern China, the city of Lhasa ("Place of the Buddha ") is the spiritual heart of the Tibetan world. Every Tibetan Buddhist aims to visit Lhasa at least once in his or her lifetime. Lhasa rose to prominence following the founding of three large Gelugpa monasteries by Tsongkhapa and his disciples in the 15th century. Two centuries later, the Fifth Dalai Lama, Lobsang Gyatso (1617–1682) moved to Lhasa and began expansion of the Potala Palace. Today, although most of the temples and monasteries of Lhasa remain active and visited by Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims. Over 1 million visitors come to Tibet each year. Lhasa tourists and pilgrims alike spend most of their time in the Tibetan Quarter, also known as the Barkhor District, which centers on the sacred Jokhang Temple.
Day 1: Pick you up from airport/ train station by Tibetan guide and driver, rest for acclimatization
Day 2: Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Explore Lhasa City (three star hotels, Dhougu Hotel or Shangbala Hotel) 3650 meters altitude
Day 3: Drepung Monastery, Norbulingka Palace and Sera Monastery (three star hotel, Dhougu Hotel or Shangbala Hotel)
Day 4: send you back to airport/ train station by the guide (three star hotel, Dhougu Hotel or Shangbala Hotel)
Itinerary Details from day to day
Day 1: arrival Gonggar airport -Lhasa
Thrilling Trans Himalayan flight from Kathmandu can take you Lhasa around 1 hour. Your local guide will pick up you from Gonggar airport and will escort you to Lhasa city which will take merely 1 hour drive. En route you'll enjoy the magnificent views along the Yarlung Tsangpo River. After your arrival at hotel, rest of the day is free for you to explore the local area and acclimatize yourself to the high altitude.
Day 2: Explore Lhasa, Potala palace and Jokhang temple
The Potala Palace in Lhasa is the primary residence of the Dalai Lama until 1959.
Construction on the Red Palace was still underway when the Great Fifth died in 1682. Fearing the project would be abandoned, the monks kept his death a secret for 10 years until the Red Palace was completed. In the meantime, the Dalai Lama was impersonated by a monk who looked most like him.
Built on a rocky hill overlooking the city of Lhasa, the Potala Palace has a sturdy fortress-like appearance. It contains more than a thousand rooms spreading over an area of 1,300 feet by 1,000 feet. The stone walls are 16 feet thick at the base, but more finely constructed (without the use of nails) in the upper stories. 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.
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.
Day 3: Norbu Lingka Park, Drepung monastery and Sera monastery.
Norbu Lingka (literally "The Jeweled Park") is a palace and surrounding park in Lhasa , built from 1755.It served as the traditional summer residence of the successive Dalai lamas Part of the "Historic Ensemble of the Potala palace ", Norbulingka is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site , It was built by the 7th Dalai Lama and served as religious centre. It is a unique representation of Tibetan palace architecture. Norbulingka Palace is situated in the west side of Lhasa, a short distance to the southwest of Potala Palace. Norbulingka covers an area of around 36 hectares (89 acres) and considered to be the largest man made garden in Tibet. Norbulingka Park is considered the premier park of all such horticultural parks in similar ethnic settings in Tibet. During the summer and autumn months, the parks in Tibet, including the Norbulingka, become hubs of entertainment with dancing, singing, music and festivities. The park is where the annual Shun ton or 'Yoghurt Festival' is held. Norbulingka consists of several palace complexes, such as the Kelsang Potrang, Tsokyil Potrang, Golden Linka and Takten Migyur Potrang. Each palace complex is divided into three sections - the palace section, the section in front of the palaces and the woods. Norbulingka both reflects the ethnical, religious features of the Tibetan people and embodies the architecture style. It is of great cultural value and was listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 2001 as an extension of Potala Palace
Drepung monastery was founded in 1416; 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. Drepung Monastery was founded in 1416 by Tsongkapa's disciple Jamyang Choeje. It was the home of the Dalai Lamas before the Potala palace was built in the 17th century. Resembling a heap of white rice from a distance, it was dubbed "Monastery of the Collecting-Rice" in Tibetan. The first floor of the Assembly Hall holds a striking statue of Dalai Lama XIII, magnificently lit by filtered sunshine and pungent yak butter lamps. Readings of the scriptures are often held here at midday, during which novices race one another to fetch tea from the kitchen for their elders. To the left (west) of the Assembly Hall is the kitchen, where butter tea is prepared and donations are accepted. The most revered image at Drepung is a 15m (49-ft.) tall statue of the 8-year old Maitreya Buddha (the future Buddha), designed by Tsongkhapa and housed on the third floor of the main building. Visitors are offered holy water; to receive it, cup your right hand above your left, take a sip, and splash the rest on your head. Several courtyards in the forest around the monastery are used by the monks for debating the sutras (Buddhist scriptures). The winners of the debates can take a test to earn the senior degree of Geshi.
Sera monastery is one of the great Gelugpa school of learning centre and famous debate session of monks on Buddhist sciences of philosophy, metaphysics, psychology and epistemology .The history of Sera monastery is strongly connected to master lama Tsongkhapa (1357-1419).
Day 4: Lhasa Departure
Today we end up here an unforgettable experience tour in Tibet. Your private Tibetan guide and driver will drive you to airport and take flight or train. We would love to send you all our best wishes for your continuous happy journey and Tibet warm heartedly welcome you back forever.
Festivals and Activities
This is the origin of the Shoton Festival at Drepung, which takes place every August. Today, the Shoton Festival is a time for monks to go the mountains for contemplation, after which time their families will meet them on the mountainside. Many lay Buddhists make a pilgrimage to Drepung during this time and participate in the festivities, which include performances by the Tibetan Opera.