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 Lhasa and Mount Kailash Tour
 Destination: Gyantse, Shingatse, saga,
 Lhatse, Paryang, Manasorvar, kailash
 Maximum Altitude: 5500M.
 Best time to visit: April, May, June,
 Aug, Sep & Oct
 Everest Base Camp Tour
 Destination: Nyalam, Tingri, Gyantse,
 Mt. Everest Base Camp, Shigatse, Lhasa
 Maximum Altitude: 5220M.
 Best time to visit: Jan, Feb, March,
 April, May, June, Aug, Sep & Oct
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 Home ›› Tibet Introduction
Lhasa - is the capital city of The Tibetan autonomous region. It is one of the most culturally rich cities in china. Its population is 367 000 people, mainly Tibetans and Han Chinese. The city of Lhasa is famous for its handicrafts and central market square. Here you can buy all kinds of things to take home with you. Also there are a number of sights to see in and around Lhasa.

Lhasa Area

The Potala Palace-
this stunning palace of the Dalai Lama is listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site. This imposing building is situated on a hillside in Lhasa and can be seen from all over the city. It was first constructed in the 7th century, and is considered as the most comprehensive art treasure house of cultural relics in the Tibetan area of China. Towering upon the Moburi Mountain in the Lhasa valley, the Palace is world renowned for its magnificence and exquisiteness. A serpentine stairway up the mountainside leads to the palace buildings at a height of 3,700 meters above sea level. Its stone-and-wood main building has 13 stories, measuring 110 meters in elevation. The Potala consists of the White and Red palaces with more than 1000 rooms. The white place was for secular use and contained living quarters, offices, the seminary and the printing house. The red Palace's function was religious. It contained gold stupas, which were the tombs of eight Dalai Lamas, the monks' assembly hall, numerous chapels and shrines, and libraries for Buddhist Scriptures. It is located in the west of Lhasa on what is known as the Red Hill and covers an area of 41 hectares. From the palace you can get stunning views all around Lhasa.

Jokhang Temple
-The Jokhang Monastery is the spiritual center of Tibet, the Holy of Holies, the destination of millions of Tibetan pilgrims. Unlike the lofty Potala, the Jokhang has intimate, human proportions, bustling with worshippers and redolent with mystery. The outer courtyard and porch of the temple are usually filled with pilgrims making full-length prostration towards the holy sanctum. Its innermost shrine contains the oldest, most precious object in Tibet - the original gold stature of Sakyamuni - the historical Buddha, which Princess Wen Cheng brought from Chang'an 1,300 years ago. This four story temple was built in the mid 10th century. The Jokhang Temple has not only concentrated the essence of Tibetan architectural arts, but also adopted a great deal of architectural styles of the Han, such as beam supports, mortise and tenon bracketing, caisson ceiling. Through several additions and renovations, it became a grand group of buildings. This place is very important to the Tibetan people and many religious rites are performed here. During the first month of Tibetan calendar, tens of thousands of lamas from various parts of Tibet gather in the Temple to worship Buddha and recite sutra. The Jokhang Temple is the symbol of religious authority as well as the center of Tibetan politics. In former days, it was the seat of the Tibetan government.

Barkhor Area-
The Barkhor refers to Lhasa's pilgrimage circuit, a quadrangle of streets that surrounds the Jokhang and some of the old buildings adjoining it. It is an area unrivalled in Tibet for its fascinating combination of deep religiosity and push-and-shove market economics. Barkhor is both the spiritual heart of the holy city and the main commercial district for Tibetans. In this area you can rub shoulders with monks, nomads, bent old women and men all making the pilgrimage around this ancient square. It’s a colorful and vibrant picture of Tibetan life.

The out skirts of Lhasa

Drepung Monastery-
Drepung lies 8 km west of Lhasa on a main road, then 3km north on a steep, unpaved road. Its name means Rice Heap after its jumble of white monastic buildings piled up on the hillside. It used to be world's largest monastery with more than 10,000 monks, and now is still Tibet's largest monastery.

Every year in early August, Tibetans celebrate their major festival - Shoton, the Yogurt Festival. The most important event of this festival – the Giant Buddha Show is held in Drepung Monastery.

Sera Monastery -
Sera Monastery, around 5km north of central Lhasa, is along with Drepung one of Lhasa's two great Gelugpa monasteries. Sera is famous for its "Buddhism Scripture Debating": monks can be seen preparing for monastic exam by staging mock debates in the ritual way. Some sit cross-legged under the trees, while others run from group to group giving vigorous hand-claps to end a statement or make a point. Master and dignitaries sit on the raised tiers when a real exam takes place. It’s a fascinating and beautiful place to visit.

Outside Lhasa

Ganden Monastery

This great monastery lies about 45km east of Lhasa. Situated at 4500m in a bowl-like amphitheater, Ganden was the first Gelugpa monastery and has remained the main seat of this major Buddhist order ever since. It was founded by Tsongkhapa, the revered reformer of the Gelugpa order. This monastery was the first one built by Tsong Khapa, founder of the Gelung (yellow) Sect of Lamaism, in the 15th century. Ganden is probably the best choice for one monastery excursion outside of Lhasa, with its stupendous views of the surrounding Kyi Chu Valley. A day trip outside of Lhasa is well worth the trip. From this monastery perched on a hillside you can also get amazing views of your surrounding environment.

Ngari Area

Mt. Kailash-
Kailash means 'Treasure or Saint of Snow Mountain' in Tibetan. The name originates from the year-round snow on its peak and its historical religious connections. The mountain is sometimes called 'Mother of Iceberg'. It appears to be gazing at another mountain, Namcha Barwa, or 'Father of Iceberg' in the far distance.

Mt. Kailash is the highest peak in the massive Gangdise mountain range with an altitude over 6,600 meters (21654 ft.). The peak is very pointed and looks like a pyramid piercing the sky. Seen from the south the vertical ice trough and horizontal rock formation combine as the Buddhist symbol Swastika '卐', which represents the eternal power of Buddha. More often that not, clouds will gather above the peak, so clear days are thought to be a blessing because local residents can get an unimpeded view.

Legend has it that a high lama named Milarepa competed with Naro Bonchung, the leader of Bon, for supernatural power. Milarepa was triumphant and thus the mountain came under the guidance of Buddhism. However, the mountain is also said to be the gathering place of masses of gods, among which are the highest gods of Hinduism. So it is no surprise that many pilgrims of different faiths visit here.

Walking around the mountain is a popular ceremony despite the length and difficult terrain. According to the sayings of Buddhism, one circle around the mountain can atone for all the sins committed throughout one's lifetime. Completing ten circles around the mountain will prevent eternal damnation of hell tribulation in one's reincarnations for 500 years. Completing one hundred circles will make a person one with Buddha. While walking, Buddhists follow clockwise while Bonists proceed in a counter-clockwise direction. In the horse year when Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism, is said to be born, worshippers get credit for thirteen circles for every one completed. Naturally, these years draw the largest number of tourists.

Mt. Kailash lies at the center of an area that is the key to the drainage system of the Tibetan plateau, and from which issues four of the great rivers of the Indian subcontinent: the Karnali, which feeds into the Ganges( south ), the Indus( north ), the Sutlej ( west ) and the Brahmaputra ( Yarlung Tsangpo, east ).

Mt Kailash, at 6714m, is not the mightiest of the mountains in the region but, with its hulking shape - like the handle of a millstone, according to Tibetans - and its year-long snow-capped peak, it stands apart from the pack. The mountain is known in Tibetan as Kang Rinpoche, or "Precious Jewel of Snow".

Kailash has long been an object of worship for four major religions. For the Hindus, Kailash is regarded as the center of the universe and the domain of Shiva, the Destroyer and Transformer. To the faithful Buddhist, Kailash is the abode of Demchok, a wrathful manifestation of Sakyamuni thought to be an equivalent of Hinduism's Shiva. The Jains of India also revere the mountain as the site at which the first of their saints was emancipated. And in the ancient Bon religion of Tibet, Kailash was the sacred nine stories Swastika Mountain, upon which the Bonpo founder Shenrab alighted from heaven.

Manasarovar Lake-
Mansarova lies about 20 km (12.43 mi.) southeast of Mt. Kailash. It means 'Invincible Jade Lake' in Tibetan. The name originates from a story that Buddhism wins a victory against Bon in a religious match beside the lake. The lake is the same 'Jade Pool of the Western Kingdom' described by the high monk Xuanzang of the Tang Dynasty (618-907) in his Westward Diary.

The altitude of the lake is about 4,588 meters (15,052.49 ft.), making it one of the highest fresh water lakes in the world. The water is very limpid and bright. The Hindu legend has that it is the amrita designed by the great god Brahma that can wash away all one's sins as well as any anxiety or improper thoughts. Many pilgrims bathe in the lake and take some water back as a gift to their relatives and friends. The surrounding area is the point of origin for India's two most famous rivers, the Indus and the Ganges.

Walking around the lake also has ceremonial value for the Tibetans. There are many temples along the way, the two most notable being the Jiwu and the Chugu.

Western Tibet

Ruins of the Guge Kingdom -Guge Kingdom established in 842AD, used to be very prosperous. But it was suddenly destroyed in 1650, leaving almost no traces. Its mystical disappearance has long been a puzzle until today. The ruins are highly valued for Tibetan history, culture, arts and religious study.

Zanda &Tholing Monastery-
Tholing and neighboring Tsaparang are the ruined former capitals of the ancient Guge Kingdom of Western Tibet. Apart from the monasteries, chortens and palaces at Tholing and Tsaparang the whole area is remarkable for its amazing eroded scenery, cut through by the Sutlej River on its way to the subcontinent. The monastic complex at Tholing was founded in early 11 century, was once Western Tibet's most important monastic complex.

Shannan Area

Samye Monastery- Samye was Tibet's very first monastery and has a history that spans over 1,200 years. It is designed to represent the Buddhist universe and many of the buildings in the courtyard are cosmological symbols. The central building of Samye, is its foremost feature, comprising a synthesis of architectural styles: the ground and first floors were originally Tibetan in style, the second floor was Chinese and the third floor Indian.

Yongbulakhang -
The castle of Yongbulakhang sprouting from a craggy ridge overlooking the patchwork fields of the Yarlung valley is reputed to be the oldest building in Tibet. The prominent tower is its most impressive feature. The best part of a visit is the walk up along the ridge above the building. There are fabulous views of Yongbulakhang and the Yarlung Valley from a promontory topped with prayer flags.

Chim-puk Hermitage-
Chim-puk Hermitage is a warren of caves that was once a retreat for Guru Rinpoche and other high ranking lamas. Chim-puk Hermitage is to the north-east of Samye. After crossing through the desert-like territory for a couple of hours, the path ascends into the surprisingly lush area in which the caves are found. It can be an ideal route for day hike.

Gyantse Area

It is located 260 km to the southwest of Lhasa. The trading was the major stop on the legendary India-Tibet caravan route. Gyantse’s highlight is the Kumbun monastery which is 32m high and contains 77 rooms and 1000,000 images of the Buddha.

On the old road between Gyantse (4040m) and Lhasa, the dazzling Yamdroktso (4441m) can be seen from the summit of the Kamba-la pass (5030m ). In clear weather, the lake is a fabulous shade of deep turquoise. Leaving Yamdroktso is as spectacular as arriving, since you have to cross the 5045m Karola, with its awesome roadside views of the Nojin Kangtsang Glacier

Namtso Lake -
Namtso, the Sky Lake, is like a crystal gem inlaid on the vast Qiangtang Plain. The Nyaiqen Tanglha mountain range, with peaks over 7000m, towers over the lake to the south. Thawed snow from this range makes the body of the lake, so the water is a miraculous shade of turquoise blue, and there are magnificent views of the nearby mountains. The wild open spaces are intoxicating and dotted with the tents of local nomad herders.

Basumco -
Basumco (4000m) means Water of Aquamarine, and it exactly is! Embraced by the snow-capped mountains and the primitive forest, decorated by a fine little island, Basumco is a fairyland of dreams. This lake, together with the delicate temple on the island, is regarded as sacred by the Red Sect of Tibetan Buddhism and attracts many pilgrims every year.

Shigatse Area

It lies 274km to the west of Lhasa. It is Tibet’s second largest city and has 500 years old history. The highway runs alongside the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) river passing through narrow gorges and broad river valleys. Farmers plowing fields with yaks, sheep grazing on the vast plains, awesome sand dunes and rocky hill in the distance are the scenic reward in this trip.

Tashilhunpo Monastery-
Tashilhunpo Monastery has long been the Panchen Lama's seat. It's Shigatse's foremost attraction. This gorgeous monastery can be detected miles away with its gold tops reflecting the sunshine. Tashilhunpo holds the giant Future Buddha statue- the biggest Buddha statue in the world. The statue is 26.2m high, 11.5m shoulder width, with numerous jewelries inlaid in the body, it’s unbelievably imposing.

Sakya Monastery-
Sakya reached its heyday in the second half of the 13th century, when it was showered with gifts and privileges and given control over all Tibet by Kublai Khan, the Mongolia emperor of China. A separate sect of Tibetan Buddhism, named Sakyapa, also took from here. Sakye is reputed as the "Tibetan Dunhuang", for its great amount of Mongolian fineries, porcelain, statues, fresco, precious Tangkas and original Buddhism Scriptures.

Mt. Everest

The Tibetan name for Mt. Everest is "Mt. Quomolangma" which literally means "The Third Goddess". Towering 8848.13 meters in the middle section of the Himalayas in Tingri County, Shigatse, and Mt. Quomolangma teems with snow-capped peaks and glaciers. It has four peaks above 8,000 meters and 38 peaks above 7,000 meter, thus is reputed as the Third Pole on the Earth. Glaciers of the modern era are located at the foot of the mountain, deep caves and snaking ice rivers present a magnificent view around the Quomolangma area.

Trandruk Monastery-
Trandruk Monastery is one of the earliest Buddhist monasteries in Tibet, a significant stop for Tibetan pilgrims. Dating back to the 7th century reign of Songtsen Gampo, it is one of the "Demoness Subduing" temples of Tibet. Trandruk Monastery is also famous for its " Pearl Tangka" which is the image of Compassion Buddha made up of almost 30,000 pearls, and many other jewelries

Qiangbalin Monastery-
Qiangbalin Monastery is similar to other major Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries, with the well-reserved statues, frescos and Tangkas. The monastery is famous for its religious dance named the Guqing which is performed in every Tibetan New Year. Dancers perform in splendid costumes with gruesome masks, all their movements in harmony. Such religious dance has a high reputation on the Tibetan plateau.

It is known as the cradle of Tibet civilization. This ancient town offers the numbers of side trips that illustrate Tibet’s early history.

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