Day1: November 28, 2023, Tuesday. Fly to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. Acclimatization, acquaintance with Tibet and the “city of Gods”.
Meet at the airport in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet (3650m above sea level). Transfer to the hotel. A scenic road from the airport to the city with high mountain scenery and views of Tibetan villages and views of the world’s highest river, the Yalutsangbu. The drive will take about an hour.
Check-in at the hotel. Walk around the evening “city of gods”. The hotel is located in the very center of the city, near the famous Barkhor Street, where pilgrims from all over the world come to pray and make kora around the Jokhang temple (17th century). Those who wish to do so are welcome to join. Jokhang Temple is still in use and pujas (services) and the famous monastic debates are still held here. Excursion to the territory of the temple.
Dinner with national Tibetan dances and songs.
Overnight in a 4* hotel in Lhasa.
Day 2: November 28, 2023, Tuesday. Sights of Lhasa. Potala Palace. Norbulinka Palace.
After breakfast visit to the winter palace of Dalai Lamas of many generations – Potala Palace. It is a royal palace and Buddhist temple complex. The palace was built from 641 AD to the 17th century. The palace has 999 luxurious rooms. From here you can enjoy a beautiful panorama of Lhasa. The Potala is the historical, architectural, political and religious center of Tibet. The magnificent halls of the Red and White Palaces, many chapels, and the covered terraces of the Dalai Lama’s residence fascinate with their architecture. Within the palace grounds at the Phakpa Lhakhang temple is a statue of Arya Lokeshwar, sacred to Buddhists. It also houses the Dalai Lama’s personal monastery, religious school, monks’ cells, treasury and store rooms.
After lunch we will walk around the summer residence of the Dalai Lamas – Norbulink Park. There was once a healing spring at the site of the present Norbulink Park. The 7th Dalai Lama Gesang Gyaltsu (1708-1757), who was characterized by poor health, came to bathe in the spring every year in summer. Thus was the beginning of the construction of the park. The park covers an area of 3600 thousand square meters. – It is the largest and highest artificial park in the world and is included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List.
Day 3: November 28, 2023, Tuesday. Lhasa and surrounding area. Drak Yerpa Cave Complex.
Today you will visit the Drak Yerpa cave complex, which is located 35 kilometers from Lhasa. It is also home to the Drak Yerpa Monastery, founded in the 12th century. It was here that the most famous teachers of Tibet – Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) and Atisha, as well as the king of Tibet – Songtsen Gampo – spent years in meditation. The monastery was also the summer residence of the Gyuto Tantric College. It is one of the three most important monasteries of the Gelug lineage honoring Maitreya Buddha (Buddha of the Future).
This place is incredibly beautiful and powerful in energy, it is located at an altitude of 4885 meters. Most of the way we pass by bus, but the last 500 meters uphill we will have to walk on our own. But it’s worth it!
The monastery is active. If we’re lucky, we’ll meet the abbot and get a blessing. It’s nice to have a little more quiet time here. And you’ll have time for that.
Overnight in a 4* hotel in Lhasa.
Day 4: November 28, 2023, Tuesday. Transfer to Gyantse and onward to Shigatse. The sacred lake of Yamdroktsho. Pelkhor Chode Monastery. Kumbum Stupa.
On the way, we will stop by one of the three Great Lakes of Tibet, Yandroyung Tsho (Yamdroktsho). The high-altitude lake is located at an altitude of 4,488 meters. Formerly a wealthy settlement strategically located at the confluence of several important trade routes. It is known for its mystical properties, predictions and magic. Those who wish can wash themselves in the sacred waters and take the water with them.
Today we will also see the Tibetan king of beasts – the yak and the biggest dogs in the world – Tibetan Mastiffs!
In the town of Gyantse, we will visit the Pelkhor Chode Monastery. Pelkor Chode Monastery was a complex of 15 monasteries of three different traditions, which in itself is a rarity in Tibetan Buddhism. 9 of the monasteries belonged to the Gelug, 3 to the Sakya and 3 to the small Budon tradition, whose main monastery, Shalu, was located near Shigatse.
The largest stupa in Central Tibet, Kumbum, is located here. It has five floors, many rooms, statues and altars. Kumbum – means “thousand” as there are 1000 images of Buddhas, deities and bodhisattvas. Usually you can’t go inside the stupa, but “Kumbum” is a special stupa with many small rooms with statues and images of different Buddhas around the perimeter. You will be able to choose “your” room and sit there in meditation.
Today we will also see an ancient fort built back in the 14th century. The fort is located in the center of the city and spectacularly crowns a rocky hill several hundred meters high. It was designed as a major defensive fortification on the road leading to Lhasa from the south. Numerous white stone buildings still make an impressive impression: high (5-8 m) and thick (up to 4 m) walls, powerful fortifications, massive buildings. It housed a garrison of 500 men in peacetime.
Overnight in Shigatza in a 3* hotel.
Day 5: November 28, 2023, Tuesday. Transfer from Shigatze to Tsedang. Panchen Lam Residence.
Morning visit Tashilunpo Monastery – Excursion to Tashilunpo Monastery where Panchen Lamas used to reside in previous centuries. It’s a working monastery. The monastery, which belongs to the Gelupta Sect, currently has 800 monks in training. The tombs of all the Panchen Lamas and the 13th Dalai Lama are preserved in the temple complex. The main temple houses an ancient statue of the Future Buddha Maitreya, 26 meters high.
Overnight in a 3* hotel in Cedang.
Day 6: November 28, 2023, Tuesday. Visit to Samye, the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet. Easy trekking to Mt. Chimpu.
Samye Monastery is the first and oldest Buddhist monastery in Tibet. It was founded by the legendary Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava). Samye Monastery is located on the northern bank of the Brahmaputra River. Built in the form of a mandala, it is the only structure of its kind in Tibet. In “A Short Biography of Padmasambhava” about Samye Monastery it says: “It was erected as a symbol of Mount Sumeru, surrounded by four large continents and eight small ones, the sun and the moon, and a wall of iron mountains”. The monastery has preserved relics related to Padmasambhava.
Mount Chimpu rises above the monastery and is home to many retreat caves and hermit huts. Even in our days, practitioners continue to hold retreats there.
We will visit Samye Monastery, and if we are lucky – we will participate in a Buddhist puja (service) in the oldest monastery in Tibet, and receive a blessing from the Lama.
After lunch, those who wish to do so can walk up the mountain to the caves, which offer scenic views of the valley. Here you can feel the spirit of Tibet, the antiquity of this land and its sacredness. Through contact with the outer silence, experience the silence of the inner silence.
Transfer to Lhasa. Overnight in a 4* hotel in Lhasa.
Day 7: November 28, 2023, Tuesday. Last day in Tibet. Lhasa.
Free time for shopping and walking around the city.
On this day, you can once again walk around the places you have already loved in Lhasa. To be alone with yourself in some temple or just contemplating the mountains. Buy gifts and souvenirs.
Transfer to Lhasa airport.