Lhasa Explore Tour - 5 days
Surrounded by colossal mountain ranges in southwestern China, the city of Lhasa ("Place of the Buddha Shakyamuni or Jowo Rinpoche") is the religious and political capital 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 Tsong-kha-pa and his disciples in the 15th century. Two centuries later, the Fifth Dalai Lama, Lobsang Gyatso (1617–1682) moved the center of his administration to Lhasa and began construction on the Potala Palace. After this, Lhasa gained its unquestioned status as the political capital of Tibet. Today most of the temples and monasteries of Lhasa remain active and visited by throngs of Tibetan Buddhist pilgrimage. 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. This is the shortest possible tour to Lhasa and it is very popular tour amongst foreign travelers as it offers a glimpse into the heart and soul of Tibet. The tour explore central Tibet including Potala Palace. 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 UNESCO 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 TodayJokhang Temple ("House of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas) 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 Lama.
Visit cultural markets in Lhasa. This Tibet holiday package is operational only between June and November because the flights to Lhasa are not available throughout the year. The Trans-Himalayan flights to Lhasa carry this mystical journey followed by a day’s rest to get acclimatized to higher altitudes. It is hard to imagine a thriving city at such an altitude performing as the religious, cultural and economic hub of Tibet.
Day 1: Arrival/ Acclimitization (overnight in 3 star hotel)
Day 2: Lhasa sightseeing visit Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street, Norbulinga Palace, Sera Monastery,
Day 3: Lhasa sightseeing visit Potala Palace, Drepung Monastery
Day 4: Outside Lhasa City- Gaden Monastery and Drayepa Cave
Day 5: Departure
Tour Detail Itenirary
01: Arrive in Lhasa (3,650m/11,972ft)
If you are flying from Kathmandu to Lhasa you will have 1 hour 10 minutes, Trans Himalayan Flight, considered one of the most beautiful flights in the world takes us over Everest (8848m) and Kanchenjunga (8536m). Those who wish to join in Lhasa, can arrive Lhasa on the date mentioned. We will be meeting at Gonggar Airport by our Tibetan guide. After immigration formalities take a 1.5-hour drive along 93 km road leading to Lhasa lying at an altitude of 3,650m/11,972ft meters. It's advisable to rest and take it easy for the remainder of the day due to Lhasa's altitude.
Day 02: Lhasa sightseeing visit Jokhang Temple, Bhakor market, Norbulingka, Sera Monastery,
Tour begins with a visit Jokhang Temple in the morning with an experienced tour guide who is also working as an interpreter escorts you to this preserved monastery of white-washed walls and golden roofs. Jokhang Temple is another important sacred site which unravels more deep seated mysteries of Tibetan Buddhism. Visit to Barkhor Market can be quite a change from other visits as we roam around the city savoring every tiny detail from stall hawkers coaxing their clients to purchase their goods to exhibition of Tibetan culture, custom and tradition. Norbulingka Palace, situated in the west side of Lhasa is just around a km southwest of Potala Palace. Norbulingka meaning 'Treasure Park' covers an area of around 360000 sq. m. and is considered to be the biggest man made garden in Tibet. You will be amazed to know that there are more than 370 rooms inside its premises. It is called summer palace because after the 7th Lama, Dalai Lamas used to visit here during summers to hold religious and government related activities. As a part of "Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace", UNESCO added Norbulingka in its list of world heritage sites. 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 Tsong Khapa. Jamchen Chojey, one of Tsong Khapa's disciples built the monastery in 1419 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The monastery was named Sera which mean wild rose in the Tibetan language, because the hill behind it was covered with wild roses in bloom when the monastery was built. The monastery is magnificent and covers an area of 114,946 square meters (28 acres). Its main buildings are the Coqen Hall, Zhacang (college) and Kamcun (dormitory). Scriptures written in gold powder, fine statues, scent cloth and unparalleled murals can be found in these halls. Colorful debates on Buddhist doctrines are held here and these employ a style distinctive from those at Lhasa's other famous monasteries.
About Barkhor Street: Barkhor Bazaar is the oldest street in Lhasa, as well as the most representative. It is a place full of religious atmosphere and a world of exotic articles. Traditional Tibetan houses and narrow lanes in and around the street whisper the stories of old Lhasa.
The Barkhor Bazaar Highlights: Located in the old area of Lhasa City, Tibet, Barkhor Street is a very ancient round street surrounding the Jokhang Temple. Combining ancient and modern, religious and everyday life in perfect harmony, Barkhor Street is indeed a must-see for all visitors.For tourists. Barkhor Street is a magical place showing the original outlook of Lhasa. The street was paved by hand-polished stone boards. A place full of religious atmosphere today many pilgrims hold the prayer wheels to walk clockwise there from dawn to dark. Also you can see some pilgrims walking or progressing body-lengths by body-lengths along the street. Even some of them are teenagers or have experienced thousands of miles' walk to reach this sacred place. The way they express their piety could make you understand the holiness of religion. Market place Barkhor Street is also a marketplace in which visitors can buy many beautiful souvenirs. Varied shops stand on both sides of the street and thousands of floating stands are on every corner. Most of them offer the prayer wheels, long-sleeve 'chuba' (the Tibetan people's traditional clothes), Tibetan knives and some religious articles for sale. Furthermore, some shops sell 'Thangka' (the Tibetan scroll painting), which is a unique art of Tibet with the themes of religion, history, literature, science and customs. Surprisingly, there are some articles from India and Nepal in this street as well.
Day 03: Lhasa sightseeing visit Potala palace, Drepung monastery
Potala Palace This hilltop site above the city of Lhasa originally hosted the meditation retreat of King Songtsen Gampo, who built the first palace there in 637 in order to greet his bride Princess Wencheng of China. Construction of the present palace began in 1645 under the fifth Dalai Lama, Lobsang Gyatso, and an important figure in Tibetan history. Known as the "Great Fifth," he unified Tibet and made the Yellow Hat sect the state religion. Drepung Monastery was 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.
Day 04: Gandan Monastery & Drakyepa Cave
Today we drive to Gandan Monastery and excursion around Temple. Gandan Monastery has extremely delicate and fine murals and sculptures. It also keeps an armor decorated with gems, which was worn by Emperor Qianlong and was bestowed to the monastery as an offering to Tsong Khapa. Afternoon drive to Drayerpa Cave, visit local Lama in caves. Drayepa cave is 35 km far from Lhasa city. There are more than 30 caves for silence thinker lamas. We require at least 1.5 hours visiting some of them, and we need give some monetary support for their wild cave life. In the evening we return back to Lhasa for overnight stay.
History of Ganden monastery: Ganden means "joyful" and is the Tibetan name for Tushita, the heaven where the bodhisattva Maitreya is said to reside. It was the original monastery of the Gelugpa order, founded by Je Tsongkhapa himself in 1409, and traditionally considered to be the seat of Gelugpa. It was the original monastery of the Gelug order, founded by Je Tsongkhapa himself in 1409, and traditionally considered to be the seat of Gelug administrative . The Ganden Tripa or 'throne-holder of Ganden' is the head of the Gelukpa school.?Tsongkhapa's preserved body was entombed there in a silver and gold encrusted tomb by his disciples in 1419. Being the farthest from Lhasa of the three university monasteries, Ganden traditionally had a smaller population with some 6,000 monks before 1959 (although Waddell reports an estimate of about 3,300 in the 1890s and there were, apparently only 2,000 in 1959.At this time there are about 300 monks. Ganden Monastery consisted of two principal original colleges, Jangtse and Shartse, meaning North Peak and East Peak respectively. The three main sights in the Ganden Monastery are the Serdung, which contains the tomb of Tsongkhapa, the Tsokchen Assembly Hall and the chapel where Tsongkhapa traditionally taught. The monastery houses artifacts which belonged to Tsongkhapa.It contained more than two dozen major chapels with large Buddha statues. The largest chapel was capable of seating 3,500 monks.
About Drakyepa Retreat Cave: Drak Yerpa is about 18 miles to the northeast of Lhasa, it is probably not of great interest for the average traveler, but for those with a particular interest in Tibetan Buddhism, Yerpa is one of the holiest cave retreats ever. At one time the hill at the base of the Cave— dotted cliffs was home to Yerpa Monastery. The history of Drakyepa includes many of the great names responsible for the establishment of Buddhism in Tibet Emperor Songtsen Gampo meditated in seclusion here: Guru Rimpoche and several of his disciples also meditated here. Here Jowo Atisha chose to preach extensively. Although the ancient Kadampa, Gompa has been destroyed, the geomantic qualities that made Drakyepa a major power place still remain and still attract hermits to its caves. The Yerpa Valley is about 16 km northeast of Lhasa on the northern bank of the Kyichu. From there, it is another 10 km to the famous ancient meditation caves in the spectacular limestone cliffs of the Yerpa Valley. Here you can find some remarkable caves of Guru Rinpoche and Songtsan Gampo contemplation site. Come back to Lhasa in the evening.
Day 05: Departure from Lhasa
From today comes to finish your days in Lhasa. You are responsible for making all the necessary arrangements and return journey to Nepal or towards to mainland China. However, if you would like to fly out from Lhasa to Kathmandu or any other city of mainland China, we can manage the air or Train ticket in advance and transportation to airport or train station. We end here our unforgettable Tibet Tour services and but warmheartedly welcome you back home forever. We would love to send you our best wishes for your continue happy journey.