TIBET– a sacred land of myths and mysteries was opened to tourism in 1985. Before this, it avoided influence from the west and this country developed its unique culture and religion independently. Since the spiritual leaders governed Tibet, monasteries and religious institutions were the backbone of power so the importance and prestige were shown by the size and magnificent architecture of these buildings. Tibetan Buddhism contains many elements of their older religion,” Bon Po” which worshipped the sky, moon, sun, fire, soil and even evil spirits and this is why a monastery such as Tashilhumpo contains thousands of unique statues, paintings (thangka), religious and historical books that to visit it in detail would take weeks. Pilgrims till today often travel long distances to have their wishes fulfilled and crowd the monasteries which shows that religion still holds a very important place in their daily lives.
Tibet – extremely remote and isolated by the most formidable Himalayan range in a fascinating world of timeless splendor, unique tradition and breathtaking scenery awaits all travelers to “the Roof of the World”.
After breakfast proceeds for a sightseeing tour Swayambhunath Stupa situated atop a hill from where you could get a bird’s eye view of Kathmandu Valley. The Swayambhunath Stupa is also known as the “Monkey Temple”!! and listed in a world heritage site.
Later proceed for sightseeing tour of Kathmandu city. It includes visit to the Hanuman Dhoka (Kathmandu DurbarSquare) – an ancient durbar (palace) with its numerous old palaces, temples and pagodas, the Temple of Living Goddess “Kumari”, and the Kasthamandap Temple, which is believed to be constructed from the wood of a single tree from which Kathmandu derives its name.
Lunch on your own in Kathmandu Durbar Square. After lunch proceed for a sightseeing tour of the ancient Patan City, this ancient city of Patan also known as Lalitpur or the city of fine arts is about five Kilometers southeast of Kathmandu. The city is full of Hindu temples and Buddhist monuments.
After breakfast proceed for a tour of Bouddhanath Stupa – an ancient colossal stupa and the center of Tibetan Buddhism in the world which is also listed in UNISCO world heritage site.
After the tour of Bouddhanath, proceed for a tour of Pashupatinath Temple – the Temple of Lord Shiva situated on the bank of the holy Bagmati River. The temple is listed on a UNISCO World Heritage Site.
Later drive to Bhaktapur City, literally the “City of Devotees”, is renowned for its elegant art, fabulous culture, colorful festivals, traditional dances and the typical Newari lifestyle. Here explore the Royal Palace, the Golden Gate, the entrance to the Palace of 55 Windows, known as the most significant piece of art in Nepal. Then visit the highest temple in the entire Kathmandu Valley- the Nyatapola Temple. This is also listed on a UNISCO world heritage site. After sightseeing tour transfer back to hotel.
Overnight at hotel.
Note: On day 02 & day 03, we will process your Chinese Visa at Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu.
Morning transfer to the airport for the hour-long flight to Lhasa. The Spectacular flight on Air China which. Crosses the main Himalayan range and the mountain views are magnificent. After arriving at Gonggar Airport in Tibet, It’s an hour drive to Lhasa. It’s advisable to rest and take an easy for the remainder of the day, due to Lhasa’s altitude.
This morning we will visit the Potala Palace, which dominates the city of Lhasa. A spectacular building, it contains the private quarters of the Dalai Lama as well as numerous grand staterooms and many important chapels. There has been a palace on this site since the 5th or 6th century, but the present palace was constructed in the 17th century. A visit to the Drepung Monastery this afternoon will complete a truly awe- inspiring day. Founded in the 14th century, this monastery was once the largest in the world with a population of around 10,000 monks. These days that figure is down to several hundred, but there is still much here of interest as it was left relatively unscathed during the Cultural Revolution.
Jokhang Temple: Situated in the heart of old Lhasa houses Tibet’s most precious religious relic, a golden Sakyamuni Buddha that was brought as a gift by the Chinese princess Wen Cheng on her wedding to the Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. Devout pilgrims prostrate themselves at the entrance of the temple and make the inner holy circuit to offer yak butter to the gods and pay homage to the golden statue of Sakyamuni. Surrounding the Jokhang Temple is the busy bustling Barkhor Bazaar. A marketplace, which is the religious and social focus of Lhasa. This is the Spiritual Center of Tibet and is also the heart of Lhasa.
Barkhor, a circular street at the center of Old Lhasa, is the oldest street in a very traditional city in Tibet. It is a place where Tibetan culture, economy, religion and arts assemble and a place to which a visit must be paid.
It has been said that in the seventh century Songtsen Gampo, the first Tibetan King (617 – 650) who unified Tibet, married Chinese Princess Wencheng and Nepal princess Tritsun. Later Princess Tritsun built Jokhang Temple to accommodate the twelve-year-old Jowo Sakyamuni, brought to Tibet by Princess Wencheng.
Barkhor is the road, where pilgrims tramped out around Jokhang Temple through centuries. Buddhist pilgrims walk or progress by body-lengths along the street clockwise every day into deep night. Most of Lhasa’s floating population is comprised of these pilgrims. The pilgrims walk outside four columns on which colorful scripture streamers are hung, a custom, which began in the Tubo period (633-877) as a way to show respect.
Am: Visit the SERA Monastery: 5 Km (3 miles) north of Lhasa. Sera’s setting is one of the prettiest Once a community of more than 5,000 monks, it was virtually extinguished by the Chinese invasion. The restored monastery sits below the brow of the hill on which Tsongkhapa built a hermitage and spent several years in meditation. One of the monk’s disciples started building the Sera in 1419 AD”. 2nd floor was Chinese and the 3rd floor Indian.
PM: Visit The Norbulingkha: The ‘Jewel Park’ as it is known in Tibetan, was built in the 18th century and served as the Summer Palace of the Dalai Lamas. This colorful garden landscape was the site of picnic and public gatherings. The place is richly decorated, creating an atmosphere of peaceful repose.
Today we start our overland journey towards Kathmandu. Traveling by jeep along the Friendship Highway we cross the Khamba La [4794m] from which there is stunning views across the waters of Yamdrok-tso Lake to the snowy summit of Nazin Kang Sa [7252m]. We continue westwards over another high pass the Karo La [5045m] where we are treated to the spectacular sight of a huge glacier tumbling down to within a few hundred meters of the road. After passing through beautiful valleys and colorful Tibetan villages we arrive in the town of Gyantse.
In Gyantse visit 14th century Gyantse Dzongand Gyantse Kumbum or fort. It is worth the stiff 20 minutes climb to its upper limits, more for the amazing views of Gyantse, the monastery, Nyang Chu valley. Some of the Dzong’s buildings can be entered and explored, sometimes to upper floors by means of rickety wooden ladders. The Kumbum is a large gold-domed stupa and its many small chapels house an impressive array of Tibetan Buddhist murals.
After excursion, we continue on to Shigatse, which is second largest city in Tibet. Upon arrival check in at hotel for refreshment.
After breakfast, go on a sightseeing tour of Panchen Lama’s Tashilhunpo Monastery founded in 1447 AD by Gendun Drup, the first Dalai Lama. It is the seat of the Panchen Lama who is second to the Dalai Lama in Tibetan Buddhist Hierarchy. This monastery is one of the largest functioning Monastery in Tibet and there is much to explore within its high surrounding wall. Later visit local market and have lunch in a nice restaurant.
After early lunch in Shigatse drive along the Tsangpo River with its combination of steep gorges, rushing waters, picturesque villages and the beautiful scenery. Upon arrival check in hotel for refreshment and lunch. Rest of the day if free for personal activities.
All arrival, departure, sightseeing and transfers by a private deluxe non-A/C vehicle with an English-speaking tour escort from Himalayan Holidays.
Two nights stay at 3 star or 4 star hotels in Kathmandu on full board basis.
Sightseeing tour of Kathmandu city as per the itinerary accompanied by an English speaking professional tour guide.
All monumental fees as applicable in Kathmandu.
Tibet Travel Permits issued by Tibet Tourism Federation (only upon issuance of this permit, the Chinese Embassy will then grant tourist visa to enter Tibet).
Tibet entry visa fees.
All transportation by deluxe A/C Van or Coaster.
Five nights stay at 3 Star hotel in Lhasa including all meals.
One-night stay at 3 Star hotel in Xigatse and Gyantse including all meals.
All sightseeing tour in Tibet conducted by English speaking guide.
Airfare for sector KTM / LXA / KTM with International departure tax.
All applicable entry fees and guided sightseeing tours throughout.
Services not Inclued
Nepal entry and re-entry visa fees (No charge for Indian nationals).
Any expenses of personal nature such as bar bills, alcoholic beverages, laundry,
telephone bills, extra mileage, tips to guide, drivers and porter.
Hire of extra Land Cruiser for personal use (could be arranged).
Photography fees in Tibet (as applicable).
Any expenses incurred during an emergency evacuation.
Any items not mentioned above.
The personal Insurance policy must be bought from a reputed and reliable firm covering thefts, loss of valuables, tour or flight cancellations due to weather conditions, political reasons or reasons beyond
our control, illness, accidents, hospitalization, etc.