Lhasa, the heart and soul of Tibet, is a city of wonders. The visits to different sites in Lhasa would be an overwhelming experience. Potala Palace has been the focus of the travelers for centuries. It is the cardinal landmark and a structure of massive proportion. Similarly, Norbulingka is the summer palace of His Holiness Dalai Lama. Drepung Monastery is one of the world’s largest and most intact monasteries, Jokhang temple the heart of Tibet and Barkhor Market is the place to get the necessary resources for locals as well as souvenirs for tourists. At the end of this trip we visit the Samye Monastery, a place without which no journey to Tibet is complete.
|Day 1||Arrive in Lhasa||12000 ft||Hotel|
|Day 2||In Lhasa||Hotel|
|Day 3||In Lhasa||Hotel|
|Day 4||Drive to Shigatse||12,795 ft||Hotel|
|Day 5||Drive to Shegar||13285 ft||Hotel|
|Day 6||Visit EBC and back to Rongbuk||17,062 ft||EBC Hotel|
|Day 7||Visit Cho Oyu Base Camp and to Shegar||Hotel|
|Day 8||Drive back to Shigatse||Hotel|
|Day 9||Drive back to Lhasa||Hotel|
|Day 10||Final departure|
Today fly to Lhasa. Upon arrival at the Gonggar Airport, you will be transferred to the hotel as booked. Rest of the day is free to relax and acclimatize.
You can stroll around the Barkhor market in the late afternoon.
Lhasa, which means ‘the land of the gods’ is the heart and soul of Tibet. It is a city of wonders, the capital of the Tibet autonomous region of China. The city contains many culturally significant Tibetan Buddhist religious sites and lies in a valley next to the Lhasa River. For centuries this holy city has attracted travelers from all over the world, drawn by beautiful scenery, cultural heritage and its mysticism leaves the travelers captivated.
After breakfast we will start our sightseeing. Today’s sightseeing includes Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery.
Drepung Monastery: About 8km to the west of central Lhasa, Drepungis one of the "great three" Gelukpa university monasteries of Tibet. The other two are Ganden and Sera. Seen from afar, Drepung’s grand, white construction gives the monastery the appearance of a heap of rice hence; Drepung literally means ‘heaps of rice’. The fertility of its fields supported a monastic community that before 1959, ranked as Tibet’s largest monastery with 7,770 monks. Since the 1950s, Drepung Monastery, along with its peers Ganden and Sera have lost much of their independence and spiritual credibility in the eyes of Tibetans since they operate under the close watch of the Chinese security services.
Sera Monastery: 5km North of Lhasa, the Sera Monastery’s setting is one of the prettiest in Lhasa, hugging the ridge that forms the Northern wall of the Kyi Chu Valley. Founded in 1419, Sera Monastery is one of the "great three" Gelukpa university monasteries in Tibet. The other two are Ganden Monastery and Drepung Monastery. The origin of the name 'Sera' is not certain, but it may have come from the wild roses (se ra in Tibetan) surrounding the original site.
In its heyday, Sera hosted a huge monastic population and five colleges. Like Drepung, the colleges in Sera specialised in: Sera Me in fundamental precepts of Buddhism, Sera Je in instruction of itinerant monks and Sera Ngagpa in Tantric studies.
Today you will visit Potala Palace, Norbulinka, Jokhang and Barkhor Market.
Potala Palace, the chief residence of the Dalai Lama since the 7th century, has been the focus of the travelers for centuries. It is the cardinal landmark and a structure of massive proportion. It symbolizes Tibetan Buddhism and its role in the traditional administration of Tibet. It is an architectural gem that was built in the colossal monastic style of Central Tibet in the 7th century but rebuilt in the mid-17th century. The Tibetans themselves rarely speak of the sacred place as the "Potala", but rather as "Peak Potala" (TsePotala), or usually as "The Peak."
It stands 300m above the valley floor, atop the hill called MarpoRi, the ‘Red Hill’. The Potala Palace is an immense structure with an interior space of about 130,000 square meters, it has thirteen stories of buildings containing 1000 rooms, 1000 shrines and about 200,000 statues that date from 1645 when the fifth Dalai Lama began erecting a palace that would serve as a sacred and administrative center. It served all the succeeding Dalai Lamas until the 14th Dalai Lama who fled to Dharamshala, India during the 1959 Tibetan Uprising. Today, the Potala Palace has been converted into a museum by the Chinese authorities.
Built 100 years after the Potala palace, Norbulingka means ‘Treasure Park’ in Tibetan and is situated in the western suburb of Lhasa City, on the bank of the Kyichu River, about one kilometer southwest of the Potala Palace. It is the biggest man-made garden in Tibet. The park was built by the Seventh Dalai Lama in 1755, and became the summer residence of the Eighth Dalai Lama. The garden contains an abundance of chapels, gardens, fountains, and pools as well as a variety of beautiful flowers and trees. Norbulingka reflects both the ethnic and religious traits of the Tibetan people and embodies the architecture style of inland China. 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.
Jokhang meaning ‘House of the Lord’ in Tibetan is located at the center of the old Lhasa and is the oldest and the most revered religious structure in Tibet. Built in 647 by SongtsenGampo, it has a history of more than 1,300 years. It was built by craftsmen from Tibet, China and Nepal and thus features an intriguing mix of architectural styles.
Jokhang Temple also houses many invaluable cultural relics. Every year, the Great Prayer Festival is held here. The rites of Dalai Lamas and Panchen Lamas' initiation into lamahood are also held in the monastery.
Barkhor Street is the oldest street in Lhasa and runs through the center of the old city. It is a circular street where Tibetan culture, economy, religion and arts assemble. The word Barkhor refers to the middle of the three concentric holy circuits around the Jokhang. The Barkhor Circuit runs through the heart of the old city where life has changed little down the centuries and it gives you a curious sensation of having slipped through time into a medieval carnival. Tibetans walk clockwise around the Jokhang Temple to pay their respects to Sakyamuni, establishing Barkhor Street as Tibet's "Sacred Way". Each day hundreds of Buddhist pilgrims flow in from every corner of Tibet and across China to make the trek through Barkhor Street. Some merely walk, but some progress by body-lengths along the street clockwise every day into deep night to worship Sakyamuni. Barkhor will allow you to experience firsthand the religious fervor of Tibet.
After breakfast, visit Cho oyu base camp. The drive between Rongbuk and Cho oyu Base camp offers some excellent views of the upper sections of the north side of Everest in addition to great views of Cho Oyu (depending upon weather). After spending some time there, continue you drive to Shegar which takes approx. 6-7 hrs
After breakfast at the Hotel, start your drive back to Shigatse which takes approx. 5-6 hrs drive. Remaining time is at leisure.
Today you will be transferred to Lhasa Airport for your final departure.
Drive Time: 5.5 hour approx.
Distance: 360 km/ 223.6 miles
Altitude: 3,900 m
Today we will drive to Shigatse which is the second largest city in Tibet and the capital of the traditional Tibetan province of Tsang.
En route visit Yamdrok Lake, Kumbum Monastery and Phelkhor Monastery.
Yamdrok Lake is one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet. It is over 72 km (45 miles) long. The lake is surrounded by many snow-capped mountains and is fed by numerous small streams. The lake does have an outlet stream at its far western end. Around 90 km to the west of the lake lies the Tibetan town of Gyantse and Lhasa is a hundred km to the northeast. According to local mythology, Yamdok Yumtso Lake is the transformation of a goddess. Yamdrok Lake, has a power station that was completed and dedicated in 1996 near the small village of Pai-Ti at the lake western end. This power station is the largest in Tibet.
The lake with an area of 621 square kilometers and the unknown depth is fan-shaped, spreading to the South but narrowing up to the North. The mountainous lake has a dozen of islands, the largest of which is about 3,000 square kilometer. The lake freezes up in winter. Like mountains, lakes are considered sacred by the Tibetan people, the principle being that they are the dwelling places of protective deities and therefore invested with special spiritual powers.
Then continue your drive to Gyantse. En-route visit Located about 100 km east of Shigatse, the unique Palkhor Monastery, also named Palcho Monastery, is very different from other monasteries. It is reputed as the lord of Tibetan stupas and is famous for its architecture, sculpture, and mural painting art. Palkhor Monastery enjoys a high status in Tibetan Buddhism history because it houses three sects, Sakyapa, Kadampa and Gelugpa together. It was built in collaboration with the Newari architects and Tibetan artists.
The spectacular Bodhi stupa, or Kumbum in Tibetan was built in 1412 and completed 10 years later. Deemed as the symbol of the monastery, the spectacular "stupa" consists of hundreds of chapels in layers, housing about a hundred thousand images of various icons. The elegant structure is worth visiting. The famous Kumbum pagoda, built in collaboration with Newari artists from Nepal and Tibetan artists, also stands in the same courtyard with nine stories, 108 doors and 77 chapels containing clay sculptures and various murals. The Stupa raises over four symmetrical floors and is surmounted by a gold dome. The dome rises like a crown over four sets of eyes that gaze serenely out in the cardinal directions of the compass.
Upon arrival in Shigatse, transfer to the hotel as booked.
Distance: 235 km / 146 miles
Drive Time: 4 hours approx.
Altitude: 4,050 m
On the way from Shigatse to Shegar lies the Shakya Monastery, built in 1073.Sakya means ‘Grey Soil’ in Tibetan, a name given because of the grey soil in the surrounding area. The monastery is divided into Southern and Northern parts. The Northern Monastery is now visible as ruins.
There are a lot of historical articles in the monastery, among them are found a lot of the imperial certificates, gold signets, crowns, costumes bestowed by the Yuan Dynasty emperors. It has over 10,000 volumes of Tibetan books on astronomy, medicine, calligraphy, and history. So the Sakya monastery enjoys the title ‘the second Dun Huang Cave.’
After breakfast, drive to Rongbuk to visit EBC.
It's just over a two-hour walk each way from Rongbuk Monastery to the Everest Base Camp. Vehicles do the trip in about 15 minutes. Above Rongbuk the valley expands into a large glacial outwash plain. There is a short cut from behind the big Chorten at the Monastery, which cuts through a meadow and then past a superbly photogenic complex of ruins called Rong Chung. Until the communist takeover this was a thriving meditation retreat. The road climbs up through a jumble of boulders and glacial debris favoring the left side of the valley. Passing the recently built SherabCholing Hermitage (signposted as the Guru Rinpoche Monastery) you may see herds of deer and yak on the hillsides. From here it is only 30 minutes’ drive to Everest Base Camp.
Spend an hour or two to take pictures of the Everest. Then we will continue our drive back to Rongbuk.
Drive Time: 4 hours approx.
Distance: 280 kms / 173.9 miles
After breakfast visit Tashilhunpo Monastery.
Tashilunpo Monastery is a historic and culturally important monastery in Tibet. It is located on a hill in the center of Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet. Tashilunpo in Tibet means "all fortune and happiness gathered here" or "heap of glory".
Founded by the First Dalai Lama in 1447, the monastery is the traditional seat of successive Panchen Lamas, the second highest-ranking tulku lineage in the Gelukpa tradition. Tashilunpo in its prime had over 4,000 monks, but after the Tibetan national uprising that took place in 1959, a handful of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery monks along with many thousands of Tibetans escaped to India.
Since the early 1980s parts of the Tashilunpo monastery have been open to the public and it is an important tourist attraction in Tibet today.
The above cost includes:
• Necessary arrival/ departure transfers.
• 4 nights’ accommodation at - Lhasa using Single Room on Bed & Breakfast basis.
• 2 nights’ accommodation at - Shigatse using Single Room on full board basis.
• 2 nights’ accommodation at - Shegar using Single Room basis on full board basis.
• 1 nights’ accommodation at – Rongbuk using Single Room basis on full board basis.
• All the sightseeing tour and transfers as per the itinerary with local English speaking local guide by private vehicle.
• Entrance fees & Monument Fees
• Cho Oyu base camp permit
• Tibet Travel Permit fee
• Bottled water throughout the trip
The above cost that does not include:
• Chinese visa fee
• International Airfares.
• Meals which are not mentioned in the above program
• Refreshments, bottled drinks.
• Insurance and rescue of any form.
• Cost arising out of flight cancellation/road blockades/landslides/riots and events beyond our control.
• Expenses of personal nature and any other expenses not mentioned in the above cost.
• Photography charges in the monasteries and monuments.
• Any items, services and meals which are not included in the above cost inclusion or mentioned in the above itinerary