Arrive Kathmandu. On the next day take a full day sightseeing tour of Kathmandu and Patan Durbarsquare. On third day we fly to Lhasa. Upon arrival we take you to a wonderful and fascinating journey into the cultural heartland of Tibet - Yarlung Valley, Samye gompa, and Lhasa. Yarlung valley is the cradle of Tibetan culture and burial place of first Tibetan king. The valleys are full of legends and myths. The most impressive is regarding Yumbu Lhakhang. It is reputed to be the oldest building in Tibet. Legend has it that this impressive tapering structure was built as a tribute to the first king of Tibet, Nyentri Tsenpo, who is believed to have descended from heaven. These valleys are also known as birthplace of the Tibetan people. The legendary monkey’s cave is way up on a hill called Gangpo Ri known as the ‘Valley of Tombs’. En-route to Lhasa we travel to Samey, the oldest monastery founded in 779 AD. While in Lhasa we will wander around the Barkor bazaar, its narrow streets and neighborhoods that has rich traditional Tibetan life. Here you have chance to discover Old Tibet. You would be amazed to see the sight of pilgrims prostrating themselves in front of Jhokang temple. Tibetans from remote parts of the country makes their pilgrimage of a life time to Lhasa to prostrate around the temple. In this city center you would encounter tall Khampas with red braids in their hair, Chinese tourists, and traders selling goods that you cannot imagine. We visit photogenic Potala palace, Drepung and Sera monastery. This is a wonderful tour to experience and see insight of Tibetan life, their philosophy and religion. Fly back to Kathmandu, stay overnight and leave Kathmandu next day.
Potala Palace was built in 1645 and completed in 1693. It dominates the landscape in Lhasa. The palace is the former winter residence of the Dalai Lama. It used to be the official residence of 13 Dalai Lamas. The magnificent building has over 1000 rooms. Inside there are many chambers; you can see brilliant frescoes paintings and great view of Lhasa. Jokhang Temple has valuable relics of Buddha and magnificent statues related to Tibet Buddhism. Often you come across devotees, who have come from far flung of Tibet, prostrating in and around. The sight of pilgrims prostrating themselves in front of Jhokang must be seen to be comprehended. This is something you can never see elsewhere. Jokhan temple in Lhasa is the spiritual center of Tibet where in the summer nomads meet other pilgrims on their way to the high pasture.
Sera monastery is one of the three important monasteries. It was built in 15th century. Once upon a time it used to have 5000 monks. It belongs to Gelugpa order known as Yellow Hat. The other important monastery around Lhasa is Drepung monastery. It used to have 8000 monks. They are thought in the tradition of Vajrayana, Tantra and Sutra.
Visit to the historical place of Zedang involve a long drive. It is 190 km to the east of Lhasa in the Yarlung valley which is linked with the birth of Tibet's history. It would be very interesting to visit Samye monastery which is one of the oldest monastery in Tibet. The monastery is simply breathtaking and inspiring.
The flight over the Himalayas makes spectacular crossing rarely seen anywhere in the world. The lush green colour in Nepal slowly fades away and arid and dull gray plateau appears which in turn turns into blue sky as you land at Lhasa. The highest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest, and another 8000-meter peak of Mt. Makalu dominates the breathtaking view.
This is a cultural tour to the heartland of Tibet's ancient civilization rarely visited by many tourists who come to Lhasa. Normal sightseeing place like Potala Palace and monasteries around Lhasa are included in the programme. You can see insight of this mystery land.
1. Arrive Kathmandu. In Kathmandu(BB)
Our representative meet you at the airport upon arrival and provide transfer to your hotel.
2. In Kathmandu (BB):
Full day sightseeing tour of Kathmandu and Patan: In the morning we visit Kathmandu Durbar square. You walk through Asan to Hanuman Dhoka. The narrow lane is crowded with pedestrian. It gives you chance to meet Nepalese in most traditional manner. Asan is one of the oldest market place for shopping; it used to be the center of business in those days. Walking tour of Kathmandu Durbar square: Includes Asan tol, Durbar square, Hanuman Dhoka, temple of living Goddess, and Kastha Mandap. You go through medieval wonders that have given Kathmandu much of its mystery and atmosphere. The city itself is a labyrinth of streets and markets, crowded with exotic products and a bewildering mix of people. One can see Tibetan women in their stripped aprons, traders from India and Sadhus - Hindu holy men, who are perhaps on pilgrimage to one of the countless shrines and temples spread in the valley. As you wander, your tour guide will explain the intricacies of Nepal’s distinct blend of Hinduism and Buddhism.
After lunch visit Swayambhunath and Patan: Swambhunath is well known 2000 years old Buddhist stupa (Chaitya), used to be known as monkey temple, is located on the summit of a hill overlooking Kathmandu valley. Beside Boudhanath this is one of the popular Buddhist pilgrimage site. The legend has it that once upon a time Kathmandu valley was a lake and the God Manjushri found a shrine here after he drained the water from the lake. Swambhunath is one of the most important temple and pilgrimage sites for both Hindus and Buddhist alike. Its vantage point provides panoramic view over the surrounding city and countryside. With its tremendous white stupa shrines, it has truly memorable sights. Travel onword to Patan: This is another city adjacent to Kathmandu; it is located across Bagmati river. Sightseeing places includes Durbar Square, Hiranya Varna Mahavira, Mahaboudha are very close to the old palace which is believed to have been built in 299AD. There are many beautifully carved windows, doors and balconies for which it is famous. Mahaboudha is made of Terracotta bricks and pagoda style structure of Mahavira dedicated to Lord Buddha built in 13th century. At the Tibetan Handicraft Center in Jawalekhel you can see carpet weaving by Tibetans.
3. Fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa. In Lhasa
We depart from Kathmandu on an early morning flight to Lhasa. Schedule departure time is 10.25 am, arrive Lhasa at 1.45 pm local time. This spectacular flight takes us right across the main Himalayan range and provides us with magnificent mountain views. After landing at Gonggar Airport our Tibetan guide meet you and provide transfer to your hotel in Lhasa. The drive from the airport to Lhasa take about an hour.
4. In Lhasa (BB):
In the morning we visit Potala Palace (seat of Dalai Lama). Potala Palace is a magnificent white, black, red and gold palace; it dominates the skyline of Lhasa. The palace used to be winter home of the Dalai Lama. It has jewel, encrusted gold and silver stupas of previous Dalai Lamas. There are numerous grand state rooms and many important chapels. There has been a palace on this site since the 5th century but the present palace was constructed in the 17th century.
Next we visit Jhokang temple and Barkhuo bazaar. Jokhang is the holiest temple in Tibet that shelter the sacred Jowo Sakyamuni statue. The pilgrims, smell of butter lamps in the air, statues of Gods in hidden annexes, and the procession of devout Tibetans through the complex are intriguing sight around Jokhang. First we walk around the holy inner circle and then make a complete circuit of the Barkor – the market that surround Jokhang. It is the best place to shop everything that are Tibetan.
Norbulingka is the summer palace of the Dalai Lama, set in a quiet and relaxing garden which used to house the Dalai Lama’s pets. One particularly interesting mural inside depicts the history of Tibet and all the Dalai Lamas. The park covered 360,000 square meter. It is used to be summer place of all Dalai Lama after the 7th Dalai Lama. The park was extended by the 13th Dalai Lama Tudeng Jiacuao (1876-1933). The new palace was built in 1954 by the 14th Dalai Lama, Denzengf Jiacuo.
5. In Lhasa (BB):
Drepung and Sera Monasteriesare important active monasteries. Sera is one of the best preserved monasteries in Tibet, renown for its lively debating sessions in the courtyard each afternoon. Within its whitewashed walls and golden roofs, several hundred monks live and study. Drepung was founded in the 14th century and was once the largest gompa in the world, with a population of around 10,000 monks. These days the figure has been reduced to several hundred, but there is still much of interest to see here, as the structure escaped relatively unscathed during the Cultural Revolution.
6. In Lhasa (BB).Drive to Tsetang in Yarlung valley. Visit Samye enroute:
After breakfast we drive to Tsetang; It is about 183 kilometers southeast from Lhasa situated in the Yarlung valley. We explore Yarlung and Samye valleys. These valleys has many legends and myths. Most impressive one has to do with Yumbu Lhakhang. It is widely believed that it is the oldest building in Tibet. Legend say that this impressive, tapering structure was built in tribute to the first king of Tibet - Nyentri Tsenpo who descended from heaven on a sky cord. Originally it was built as a dzong (fortress); now it is being used as a chapel by a few resident monks. The views of the fertile Yarlung Valley from the hill above the Yumbu Lhakhang are incredible. There are many gompas nearby like Rechung-puk and Tangboche. There are so much to see it is impossible to cover in a short visit.
Yarlung valley is believed to be the origination of Tibetans. The legendary monkey’s cave known as Gangpo Ri is located high up on a hill; This is known as the Valley of Tombs because great kings were buried at this place.
On our return to Lhasa we may visit Samye Gompa. It is the oldest monastery in Tibet, founded 1200 years ago by King Tresong Detsen. The monastery cab only be reached by crossing the scenic river. Architectural design of Samye gompa is based on a mandala, a symbolic representation of the universe. The central temple represents Mount Meru, while the surrounding temples are the oceans and continents that encircle the sacred mountain in Buddhist cosmology. This ancient monastery represents the victory of Buddhism over the more ancient Bon religion. It is believed that at Samye the Guru Rimpoche defeated the Bon deity and conquered the demons of Tibet to prepare the path for Tibetan Buddhism.
7. Fly Lhasa to Kathmandu
Transfer to Gonggar airport. The schedule departure time is 10.25 am (Beijing time). We arrive at Kathmandu Tribhuvan International airport at 9.25am local time. Upon arrival transfer to your hotel. Free day in Kathmandu
8.Depart Kathmandu. Transfer to airport. Fly home.
We can customize the tour to suit your requirements.
For more comprehensive cultural tour add 2 night that includes Tsurphu Gompa and Ganden Gompa
Tsurphu Gompa is the seat of Karmapa branch of the Kagyupa order of Tibetan Buddhism, where we will start with a kora of the gompa and a tour of this ancient monastery, with its gilded rooftops and colorful prayer rooms and murals. The region we drive through to get back and forth from the gompa is very traditionally Tibetan, so we have a good introduction to rural life and the countryside of Tibet. We can stop to take photographs en route! We can also take a walk up the valley a ways from the gompa (this is the start of a trek from Tsurphu to Yangpachen, and the valley is stunning, with nomadic encampments en route).
And Ganden Gompa:
The drive to Ganden Gompa is wonderful. It used to be one of the largest and most important gompa (monastery) in the region of Lhasa, Mostly part of the monastery was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. It has been rebuilt. It is a rollercoaster ride up and switchbacks to get to Ganden. It is an exciting journey. We pass through the country side that has small Tibetan villages and cultivated fields.
The inside of the gompa has many interesting things to see. Tibetan pilgrims go around the close by peak with constant prayer for good karma.
Tibetan Medicine and Astrology:
Beside the monasteries extension of the tour would allow you to visit Tibetan Institute of Medicine and Astrology to see painting on silk about the history of Tibetan medicine. There are local arts and crafts centers where carpets are made in traditional methods. Allow another day to add this visit.
Note: Tour is exclusively private, personal guide as per your choice languages,own transport and own schedule.
Programme as outlines above is guideline only. It is subject to change due to logistics, weather and technical condition. There is no refund against unused service.
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