Journey to Lhasa 6 days
From Chengdu we fly into Lhasa, the capital of Tibet and the holiest city of Tibetan pilgrims. Located in the Lhasa River Valley at over 12,000 feet elevation, also known as "City of Sunlight", it is one of the highest ciries in the world. It lies in its tranquil and ethereal beauty, which shines from its many historical relics, abundant spiritual houses and hospitable people...
Arrive in Chendu, met by your guide and transferred to the Hotel for one night stay.
An early morning flight takes us to Gongar Airport, the highest airport in the world. Upon arrival, you are met by your Tibetan guide and transferred to the hotel for four nights stay. Afternoon is free at leisure so that you can get acclimatized to the high altitude.(B,L)
Today's Lhasa is an interesting combination of traditional way of life and new developments. The highlights of our visit include the famous Jokhang, Bharkor Bazaar, the towering Potala Palace and the former summer residence of Dalai Lama - Norbulingka.
Built in the 7th century, the Potala is one of the architectural wonder of mankind. Towering over the Dmarpori (red) Mountain, its magnificent presence has attracted pilgrims and visitors alike from all over the world. Its building was started by the Fifth Dalai Lama who died before it was completed. It used to be the center of the Tibetan Government and the winter residence of Dalai Lama. Now it still has about 10,000 rooms that consist of two parts: the Red Palace in the center, and the White Palace in its Flank. The view from the roof over Lhasa, the vally and to the mountains is just spectacular.
As one of Tibet's holiest shrines, it was built some 1300 years ago in celebration of the marriage of the Tang dynasty princess Wen Cheng and King Songtsen Gampo. It houses a golden statue of the Buddha Sukyiamuni brought by the princess.
This square around the Jokhang temple, the spiritual and commercial hub of old Lhasa, is now the only part of the city that has not been heavily impacted by modernization process. You may join the pilgrims making the Barkhor circuit and you will step back into the "Forbidden City", passing monks sitting before their alms bowls, chanting mantras.
The circuit is crammed with stalls where vendors sell trinkets, carpets, hats, prayers, shawls, and just about anything you can imagine. (B.L)
We have a day excursion to one of the most magnificent monasteries nearby Lhasa. Some 8 km west of the Potala lies the monastery Drepung. This biggest and richest monastery of Tibet was once the place where the Dalai Lama was educated. Founded in 1416 by a disciple of Tsong Khapa, with a noble family as patron. The Fifth Dalai Lama enlarged it and ruled there while the Potala was being built. In its heydays Drepung had over 10,000 monks. Today, about 400 monks and novices live here. If time permits, we will also visit a traditional Tibetan medical clinic upon return to the city. (B, L)
Day5 Excursion to Ganden
Tody we drive through the awe-inspiring landscape Tibetan countryside to visit Fanden monastery. Founded in 1409 by Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelugpa sect, it was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. Since 1980s, Tibetans have put tremendous effort into lhasa in trucks to pay homage to the sacred sites and relics. The overland drive is approximately three hours round trip, and a picnic style lunch will be served on the way. (B,L)
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to Chengdu. (B)
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