The Holy Lhasa tour begins in iconic Lhasa city, located in the center of the Tibetan Plateau in a valley of the Kyichu River, a tributary of the Yarlung Zangbo (Brahmaputra). Lhasa is the center of Tibetan commercial and spiritual life, luring merchants and pilgrims from all over Asia to participate in the trade or religious festivals.
The most important cultural sites in Lhasa are the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, the Barkhor market, and the monasteries of Sera and Drepung. The 13-story Potala Palace is located in the center of the city on Red Hill, 300 meters above the Lhasa Valley. It was built by the 5th Dalai Lama in the 17th century and is named for Mt. Potalaka, the heavenly home of Chenrezig, the Buddha of Compassion. It served as the traditional home of the Dalai Lama and the seat of Tibetan government.
Whether you are considering a short visit to Tibet or stopping by as part of an extended trip, the Holy Lhasa Journey is perfect for you. As the commercial and spiritual center for Tibetans, the quintessential Tibetan city of Lhasa offers visitors a wonderful opportunity to experience Tibet.
A short flight to Tibet gives you a panorama of the snowy Himalayan ranges. If coming by train, the days of ride over the high plateau crossing the mighty Thangu La ranges gets you to Lhasa with beautiful sceneries along the route. Upon your arrival at the Gonggar airport or Lhasa Train Station, you will be greeted by our Tibetan guide and driver. You will be dropped off at your hotel in Lhasa city, where you will be resting for the rest of the day to acclimatize to the high altitude.
Jokhang Temple is located in the center of the Old Lhasa city. It is one of the most sacred temples of Tibet and is always bustling with local pilgrims from all over Tibet. After that you have time to walk around the Bakhor street, which has been a thriving trade market since the end of the 17th century and also a circumambulation route for the pilgrims. The day will end with a visit to the Sera Monastery, which houses several hundred monks. Built in the fifteenth century, the monastery is famous for its philosophical court yard debates among the monks on the Buddhist doctrine.
The Potala Palace is the cardinal landmark of Tibet. It is a masterpiece of Tibetan architecture and considered a world heritage. The palace was first built in the 7th century by Tibet’s 33rd king Songtsen Gampo. Rebuilt in the 17th century by the 5th Dalai Lama, it has been home to the successive Dalai Lamas since then. In the afternoon, we will visit the Drepung monastery, which was once the world’s largest monastery housing more than 10,000 monks. Visitors will enjoy walking through the twists and turns of the narrow lanes lined with small apartment houses of the monks.
Namtso lake is one of the Tibet’s three most holy lakes and Tibetans circumambulate around the lake as a pilgrimage and it takes about a month. However, we will explore the most sacred part of the lake which includes Tashi peninsula, the Tashi Dhor monastery and Tibetan hermits. Part of the fun activities could also include a short hike up a nearby mountain for a great view, challenge the nomads to a game of pool, and get a picture riding a yak. We drive to the northwest of Lhasa via Qinghai-Tibet highway, tracing the Tibet railway to Damshong and then cross the Lagen la pass (5190m) by driving further west to Namtso lake and return back to Lhasa in the evening. Namtso Lake is located 250km north of Lhasa at the east end of Changtang Plateau.
For those with an interest in Tibetan Buddhism, Drakyerpa Hermitage, located about 16 kilometers (10 miles) northeast of Lhasa, is one of the holiest cave retreats in Tibet Autonomous Region. Among the many ascetics who have sojourned here are Guru Rinpoche and Atisha, the Indian Buddhist master, who spent 12 years proselytising in Tibet. Drakyerpa is a peaceful place offering lovely views and is a great day trip from Lhasa. We’ll make sure you can catch your flight on time.
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