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Place to Visit in Tibet

Place to Visit TibetA land of mystery, adventure and spirituality; a home of legends, awesome landscapes, artistic monasteries and centuries-old caravan trails, Tibet is a destination out of an ordinary, long closed to the outside world. However, in 1980, Tibet's doors were inched open, giving the world its first glimpse of the country's breathtakingly beautiful landscape. Today, visitors are drawn to the country's spectacular Buddhist temples, ancient cities, enduring traditions and spectacular mountain scenery. This autonomous region of China is a plateau at an average elevation of 13,000 feet above the sea level. We offer many different types of tour to Tibet, with a range of hotels to suit every pocket. What's more, as we understand that a visit to this special country is a highly personal experience, we can also arrange a tour to meet your specific needs.

Lhasa (3,650m)
The magnificent Potala Palace dominates the city of Lhasa. It contains the winter quarters of the Dalai Lama, the jewel-encrusted gold and silver stupas of previous Dalai Lamas as well as numerous grand staterooms and many important chapels. There are many superb statues, mandalas, murals and thangkas to see within the chapels of this imposing palace. There has been a palace on this site since the 5th or 6th century, but the present palace was only built in the 17th century.

The Jokhang is the spiritual heart of the city and its visit is a must when travelling to Tibet. It is surrounded by the Barkhor and pilgrims from all over Tibet come to complete a circumambulation of this famous and fascinating market. Here you can find everything from prayer flags to jewel-encrusted yak skulls and it is considered good luck to walk around the Barkhor before entering the Jokhang temple.

The Jokhang is the holiest Gompa in Tibet. Shuffle among the pilgrims and enjoy the atmosphere of this amazing place, where the smell of thousands of butterlamps fills the air. The Jokhang, which was built in 647 AD by the great king Songsten Gampo, contains the serene and sacred statue of Jowo Sakyamuni, which is believed to be a likeness of the Buddha when he was 12 years old.

The Sera monastery is one of the best preserved monasteries in Tibet, renowned for its lively debating sessions in the courtyard in the afternoons. The monastery houses several hundred monks, who live and study within its whitewashed walls and golden roofs. Another monastery to see is the Dreprung, which was founded in the 14th century and with a population of around 10,000 monks it used to be the largest Gompa in the world. These days the figure has been reduced to several hundred but there is still much of interest to see here.

Norbulingka, the summer palace of the Dalai Lama, lies in a quiet and beautiful garden. One particular mural inside depicts the history of Tibet and all the Dalai Lamas. The rooms have remained as they were when the Dalai Lama left in 1959. Here you can also see where Heinrich Harrer ("Seven Years in Tibet") lived and taught English, as well as the cars which the Great 13th Dalai Lama imported to Tibet.

Potala Palace
Potala Palace, located on the red hill, was built in 640 A.D. during the reign of Songtsen Gompo. The original Potala Palace was destroyed in the 9th century but was rebuilt in the 17th century during the reign of the 5th Dalai Lama. It is best viewed from outside, where one can observe the different aspects & moods of its sophisticated design. The architectural wonder stands 117m high, has 13 stories and over 1,000 rooms. The most poignant areas are the roof terraces housing the Dalai Lama’s residences, the large courtyard & the spectacular multi–storied interior atriums that extend upwards to the roof terraces. It is replete with ancient artifacts; the sacred statue of Arya Lokeshwara, ornate burial Chortens of the Dalai Lamas, galleries and chapels noted for their murals, the intricate three-dimensional Mandala & much more.

Norbulinka Park
Norbulinka means “the jeweled garden” is the summer palace of the Dalai Lama. This large complex of small palaces like Gesang Palace, Jianse Palace and Daktanmiju lies within a walled garden that covers 360,000 sq. mts. The whole garden consists of two main parts – Norbulinkha at the western area & Jianselingka at the eastern area. It has fascinating murals in excellent condition, superb Mandalas & frescoes.

Sera Monastery
Sera means hail stone in Tibetan language. Set at the foot of the Wudu hill to the north of Lhasa city, Sera comprises of a great sutra chanting hall, a college and 32 sections that covers 114,964 sq. mts. Founded by Jamchenchupje in 1419, Sera was famous for its fighting monks, who spent years perfecting the martial arts.

Jokhang Temple
Jokhang temple was built in 647 A.D and is the spiritual center of Tibet and the holiest destination for Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims. It houses the sitting statue of Sakyamuni, when he was 12 years old. From dawn till dusk, one can see an astounding display of chanting, prostrating pilgrims circumambulating the temple. Hundreds of faces, ornaments, clothes & colors swirl round in a gigantic whirlpool of religious fervor.

Drepung Monastery
It is located at the foot of the West Valley Mountain (Gyephel-Ou-Tse) about 10 kms from Lhasa. Drepung Monastery was built by Jamyang-Choje Tashi-Phiden in 1416 AD. Drepung is one of the six largest monasteries of the Gelupa sect & comprises of six main temples: Ganden Palace, Tsochen, Ngakpa, Losaling, Gomang & Dyeyang. The main relics in these temples are image of Maitreya, Yamantaka, Mitrukpa, Sutrakangyur with golden letters, Thankas, Silk scrolls (which are very precious & are rarely seen in the world), various gilded statures, Buddhist scriptures & countless other cultural relics. There are monastic colleges for the study of Philosophy & one for the practice of Tantric Buddhism. The monastery covers an area of over 20, 000 sq. mts.

Yarlung Valley
In the trace of origins of Yarlung Valley, the Monkey Cave on Mt. Gongpori tells us that Yarlung is the origin of the Tibetans. The stone wares unearthed from Traduk & Yartu further confirm that the Yarlung is the cradle of Tibetan civilization. Over several thousands of years, Yarlung culture, as an important component of Tibetan culture, has had an impact on the history of Tibet & the country as a whole. The Yarlung people have created their own unique folk culture including marriage ceremonies, funeral arrangements, rites, clothing, food, tattoo & farming that depicts a full picture of the good nature of the people of the plateau.

Yarlung and Tsedang
Yarlung and Tsethang are known as the Valley of Tombs and the cradle of Tibetan civilization. The Tibetans believe they were born of a monkey and an ogress, and Tsethang is the home of the mysterious Monkey Cave. The old earth tombs of the great ancient Tibetan kings, including Songsten Gampo, scatter the plains in the highest royal graveyard in the world. You will also see small but charming temples containing statues of Songten Gampo, his wives and ministers. This area also boasts Tibet's oldest building, constructed in the 2nd century. Yambu Lakhang was built for the first Tibetan king Nyatri Tsenpo and is perched high in the mountains overlooking the plains. Once used as a summer palace by Songsten Gampo, it was converted to a monastery after he moved the capital to Lhasa.

The Yarlung Tsedang Po canyon is the largest in the world, a magnificent gorge set amongst lush forests. This area is home to many rare and beautiful species of flora and fauna, including blue sheep, kiang (Tibetan donkey), and magnificent rhododendron forests.

Shigatse (3,900m)
Shigatse is most famous for its Tashilumpo Monastery – the seats of the Panchen Lama, who is regarded as the reincarnation of the Buddha of Endless Enlightenment. Items of interest inside this monastery built in 1447 by the first Dalai Lama are: the relics of Sakyamuni, the Hall of Maitreya & a mind-boggling collection of Thankas, frescoes & statues. There is a bustling ‘free’ market at the foot of the ruins of the Shigatse Fortress, where one can buy local handicrafts, embedded with coral & turquoise, Tibetan draggers, Chinese porcelain & yak butter.

Tashilumpo Monastery
Founded by the first Dalai Lama, Gedun Drupa in 1447 is one of the four “Yellow hat Sect” monasteries of Tibetan Buddhists. The monastery comprises of congregation hall from 5th to 9th century Panchen Lama’s stupa and chapels, the golden stupa of 10th century and the big Maitreya statue of the Buddha in gold & copper alloy. It occupies an area of 300,000 sq. mts.

Gyantse (3,572m)
Gyantse is a small agricultural town famous for its woolen carpets & the Phalkor Chorten. Amongst the Lamasery & the fort, this unique structure built in 1414 AD consists of five stories representing the five steps to enlightenment, topped by thirteen rings, which symbolize the stages of advancement towards Buddhahood. There are 108 halls inside, each with frescoes & Buddha shrines, the frescoes showing a strong Indian influence. Before 1959 traders coming from Kalimpong & Gangtok used to enter Tibet through Yandong and then to Gyantse, en route to Lhasa.

Samye Monastery
Established in the mid 8th century and covering an area of 25,000 sq. mts, Samye Monastery is located in Zhang county on the northern bank of the Yarlung Zhangpo river. The three–storey building was built in Han, Tibetan & Indian styles. It was the first formal monastery in Tibet.

Khumbum Chorten
This stupa was one of the eight Buddhist stupas known as Tashi Multi stupa that stood 42m high & was said to have 108 cells containing venerable mural paintings & holy images amounting to 1,00,000 pieces of art. The Chorten is located in Gyantse.

Xegar (4,350m)
Xegar is a new Chinese commune built at the foot of the ruins of Xegar Dzong and is 7 km from the main highway. With a population of about 3,000 inhabitants, its importance lies in the fact that it is the center of this large and remote country and also a base from where expeditions to Mt. Everest & other peaks are launched from the Chinese side.

Everest Base Camp
The northern Everest Base Camp is one of the highlights for adventure travellers in Tibet and it provides stunning views of the Everest massif, as well as Makalu and Shishapangma. The spectacular Rongbuk glacier forms part of the amazing panorama you will be able to enjoy from your tent. Rongbuk monastery, which was founded in 1902 around a series of meditation caves which had been in use for over 400 years, is the last hint of civilization in this area. The lama here traditionally blesses all expeditions aiming for the summit of Mt. Everest. The trek to Advance Base Camp provides even more incredible views and a real sense of the awesome grandeur of this mountain.

Zhangmu (2,350m)
Zhangmu, better known by its Tibetan name Khasa, is a small settlement clinging to a hillside 10kms inland from the Friendship Bridge across the Bhotekoshi river which serves as the border with Nepal. After the closure of the China/India border from Gangtok, Zhangmu has become the major trading post between Tibet & Nepal. The hills around Zhangmu are heavily wooded with innumerable waterfalls in the summer & frozen ‘icicles’ during the winter.

Mountain Kailash
Mount Kailash is 6,714m high and with its four sheer walls and snow capped peak it is an awe-inspiring sight. Shaped like a diamond it is venerated among peaks like an eight-pedalled lotus. It also has geographical significance as four great rivers flow from it: the Karnali, the Indus, the Sutlej and the Brahmaputra, which drain the vast Tibetan Plateau. However, it is most famous for its religious significance; Kailash is an object of devout pilgrimage for Buddhists and Hindus, who believe it is the abode of the Gods.

Lake mansarovar
Lake Manasarovar is situated approximately 30km from Mt. Kailash and is one of the highest freshwater lakes in the world. This beautiful and sacred lake is an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists and Hindus, as it is believed that bathing in the holy (and cold) waters will cleanse one's sins. With views to Gurla Mandhata (7,728m) this is a place of serene beauty. On the northwest shore of the lake is the picturesque Chiu Monastery.

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