Roof of the World - The Magic of Tibet

Duration: 6 days

Highlights: Yumbu Lakang, Trandruk Monastery, Mindrolling Temple, Potala Palace, Norbulingka, Sera Monastery, Sangye Tungu, Drepung Monastery, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor.

Steeped in mystery and seemingly cut off from the realities of today’s world, Tibet remains one of the greatest travel adventures on earth. Spend 6 days in Tibet exploring its treasure trove of iconic sights from the grandeur of her monasteries to the simple and deeply moving devotion of her people.

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Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive Lhasa - Tsedang

Today you will arrive at Lhasa’s Gonggar Airport where, after clearing arrival formalities, you will be met and transferred overland from the airport to the city of Tsedang (elevation 3,100 metres or 10,200 feet) , a drive of about 2.5 hours (approximately 95 kilometres or 59 miles).  Tsedang is the fourth largest city in Tibet and one of the cradles of early Tibetan civilization.

On arrival into the city transfer to your hotel. 

Time permitting enjoy an orientation of the city area including the central market.

Overnight: Tsedang Hotel, Tesdang

Meal Plan: B,L,D

 

Day 2 - Tsedang

This morning, after meeting your guide, transfer to the Yumbu Lakang, reputed to be the first palace in Tibetan history and also one of the oldest buildings in Tibet.  The foundations of the structure can be dated to the 1st century B.C.

Following your visit to the Yumbu Lakang you will return to Tsedang and visit the historic Tandruk Monastery which is located two kilometres (1.2 miles) outside of the city.  While little remains of the original structure legend relates that the monastery was constructed in the 7th century to commemorate the subduing of a five-headed dragon by the great Tibetan king, Songsten Gampo.  The monastery has rebuilt in the 18th century and holds one of the most sacred of Tibetan Buddhist images, the “Pearl Thangka” an exquisite scroll (2 metres in length (7 feet) and 1 metre (3 feet) wide) depicting the Bodhisattva Guan Yin made with 29,000 pearls.

Your day will end with a visit to the Valley of the Kings where a series of tombs of the first line of Tibetan kings is located.  These represent the important transitional period from a pre-Buddhist to Buddhist society.

Overnight: Tsedang Hotel, Tesdang

Meal Plan: B,L,D

 

Day 3 - Tsedang - Lhasa

This morning you will transfer overland from Tsedang to the historic Samye Monastery which is located 34 kilometres (21 miles) to the east of the city.  Samye is believed to be the oldest extant monastery in Tibet having been first constructed between the years 787 – 791 during the reign of the Tibetan king, Trisong Detsen.  The monastery is modelled after the Odantapuri monastery in Bihar, India.  The monastery is designed in the shape of a mandala and remains an important place of pilgrimage for Tibetan Buddhists.  Among the many highlights of Samye are a series of 11th century mural paintings considered the most exquisite of their kind in Tibet.

Following your visit to the Samye Monastery you will drive overland to Lhasa (183 kilometres or 114 miles)  where, upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel.

Overnight: The Shangri-La Hotel, Lhasa

Meal Plan: B,L

 

Day 4 - Lhasa

Enjoy two full days of sightseeing and exploration in Lhasa, capital of the TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region) and the most sacred city in Tibetan Buddhism.  Situated at an elevation of 3,656 metres (approximately 12,000 feet) Lhasa is a vibrant city of 300,000, the cultural, educational and administrative centre for Tibet.

Early this morning you first visit Sangye Tungu (rock carvings) a sacred pilgrimage site located in the southern part of Lhasa.  Part of the “Lingkor” or circumambulation route around the city of Lhasa, the rock carvings on the cliff face are among the most sacred in Lhasa.  Each morning crowds of devout pilgrims come to the site to pray and support the dedicated men and women who carve mantras on stones piling them into massive books.

You then visit the Potala Palace formerly the winter residential palace of the Dalai Lama and the location of the offices of government until 1959 and the Dalai Lama’s departure to India.  Today the palace is a public museum that showcases the history of the rule of the Dalai Lamas and includes many exquisite Buddhist treasures.

Visit the true heart of Lhasa at the Jokhang Temple which marks the central core of the Tibetan city.  The temple is considered by Tibetans to be the holiest site in Lhasa.  Constructed during the reign of King Songsten Gampo (618 – 650) the temple is believed to house a sacred image of the Buddha brought to Tibet by the Tang Chinese princess, Wenchang,  The temple has been rebuilt and expanded through the centuries.  The temple opens onto the Barkhor a sacred pilgrims route that encircles the Jokhang – enjoy some time watching the crowds of pilgrims that flock to the Barkhor, attired in their finest costumes and also take in the shops and market stalls selling all manner of Buddhist iconography.

Overnight: The Shangri-La Hotel, Lhasa

Meal Plan: B,L

 

Day 5 - Lhasa

Your morning will start with a visit to the Drepung Monastery, the largest of all Tibetan Monasteries and considered one of the “Great Three” (the others being the Sera and the Ganden monasteries).  Located 10 kilometres (6 miles) outside of the city, Drepung (which means “rice heap”) dates to the early 15th century and once housed 7,700 monks; today there are no more than 300 monks in Drepung.

Return to the city and visit the Norbulingka Palace which is set within the city’s most beautiful park.  The palace was first constructed in 1755 and served as the summer residence of the Dalai Lamas from the late 18th century through the year 1959 and the reign of the current or 14th Dalai Lama.  The palace has been painstakingly restored and maintained and provides visitors with a wonderful look at how the Dalai Lamas lived.

This afternoon enjoy the spirited debates that go on in the Sera Monastery, the great esoteric teaching monastery.  The debates are held in an outdoor courtyard garden and involve senior lamas (monks) debating with a student monk – these debates normally focus on the esoteric teachings of Tibetan Buddhis philosophy.

Overnight: The Shangri-La Hotel, Lhasa

Meal Plan: B,L

 

Day 6 - Depart Lhasa

Today you will meet your guide and transfer overland (travel time is about 90 minutes) from Lhasa to the Gonggar Airport where, upon arrival, you are assisted with the check-in for your departure flight.

Meal Plan: B

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