This five day tour of Lhasa, 3,650 meters (11,972 feet) capitol of the Tibet Autonomous Region, delves into the very heart of Tibetan culture. Within a relatively short distance from one another we are able to visit the Potala Palace, past residence of the Dalai Lamas and the Norbulingka Park, the summer palace for these religious monarchs of Tibet. Two important monasteries, Sera and Gandan, were once home to more than 10,000 monks each. Indeed during its heyday nearly a quarter of the population of Tibet were active religious contemplatives, surely the highest percentage in world history.
The Jokang Temple acts as the hub of downtown Lhasa and is Tibet’s most sacred sanctuary as it houses a statue called the Jowo Rinpoche. Images of this statue can be found on altars maintained by Tibetans all over the world, regardless of sectarian affiliation. The immediate environs of the Jokhang, along the circumabulatory route used to venerate this temple complex, is an enormous market brimming with antiques and Tibetan cultural items galore. The market, called the Barkor, is simply not to be missed.
We will also visit the picturesque Drayerpa Cave, once the meditative retreat of Guru Rinpoche, circa 8th century, the learned Indian adept who purportedly brought Buddhism to the Tibetan plateau. The Drayerpa Cave continues to serve as a retreat for modern recluses. This holiday is operational only between June and November because flights in and out of Lhasa cease during the severe winter weather. Please note that the flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa is itself an extraordinary tourist attraction providing close up views of the Himalayan chain of mountains from both sides of the aircraft.
Day 01: Arrive Lhasa, 3,650 meters (11,972 feet)
Note: The hour and 10 minute trans Himalayan flight is considered one of the most beautiful air excursions in the world with opportunities to see both Mount Everest (8,848 meters) and Kanchenjunga (8,536 meters). The rest of this enormous mountainous backbone of earth spreads out incomprehensibly below you. It's advisable to rest for the remainder of the day due to Lhasa's altitude.
Day 02: Sightseeing in Lhasa
Day 03: Sightseeing in Lhasa
Day 04: Drive to Sera and Gandan Monastery and on to Drayerpa Cave
Day 05: Return to Kathmandu