TIBET TOUR

Place to see in Tibet
Lhasa (3650 m)
Lhasa, the heart and soul of Tibet and an object of devout pilgrimage, is still a city of wonders. "Lhasa" in Tibetan means "the land of gods" and is the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region is located between 29o 36'N and 19o 06' E at the north bank of Kyichu river, a tributary of the Yarlung Tsangpo River, at an altitude of 3650 meters above he sea level. Lhasa has history of more than 1300 years and it's been the center of politics, economy, culture and religion in Tibet since ancient times. Places of interest include the Potala, the 13 storey vast white and ochre fortress of theDalai Lama, dominates the Lhasa skyline. Once the seat of Tibetan government and the location of the tombs of previous Dalai Lamas, the Potala serves as a symbolic focus for Tibetan aspirations. The Drepung monastery (8 kilometers (5 miles) west of Lhasa under Mt. Gambo Utse)is the largest and richest monastery in Tibet.and the Sera monastery are the most famous. The summer palace of the Dalai Lama, Norbulingka; and the Jokhang Temple, the holiest shrine of Tibet are the major attractions in Lhasa. The circular Barkhor Street with innumerable shops and wayside peddlers intermingle with the devotees. The Ganden Monastery and the Yangpachen are the two most famous place in the surrounding of Lhasa which are a must see for tourists.

Potala Palace
Built in the 17th century, the Potala Palace, a pearl on the plateau is one of the architectural wonders of the world. The word "Potala" comes from Sanskrit. In the 7th century, after the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo's marriage with Princess Wencheng of the Tang Court, the Palace was built for meditation. In the mid-17th century, it was re-built by the 5th Dalai Lama to its present size, and ever since it became the Winter Palace of the Dalai Lamas. The construction took fifty years from its beginning to completion.Potala Palace is located on top of a red hill in Lhasa's city centre. It stands at the site of older structures, dating back another thousand years. In the center is the older, red palace, surrounded by the large white palace. With over 1000 rooms, the one storeyed palace covers an area of 10,000 square meters. It witnessed the life of the Dalai Lamas and the important politicaland religious activities in the past centuries. There are grand palaces within palaces. The Palace stands up so high that it resembles a magnificent castle in the heaven. It makes itself a good example of the ancient Tibetan culture and architecture. There also stored the world treasure-the goldhand-written Buddhist scriptures, valuable gifts from the Chinese emperors and a lot of priceless antiques.You will be amazed bythe colorful sculptures and paintings. The Potala Palace deserves the title of art gallery and museum. It is a symbol of the wisdom and power of the Tibetan people. It is a majestic architectural work and the cream Tibetan culture and complex of Tibetan and Han culture. The view from the roof over Lhasa, the valley and to the mountains is just spectacular.

Jokhang temple and Bharkhor bazzar
Jokhang Monastery is located on Barkhor Square in Lhasa. For most Tibetans it is the most sacred and important temple in Tibet. It is in some regards pan-sectarian, but is controlled by the Gelug school. The temple's architectural style is a mixture of Indian vihara design, Chinese Tang Dynasty design, and Nepalese design.
It was founded during the reign of king Songsten Gampo. According to tradition, the temple was built for the two brides of the king, Princess Wencheng of the Chinese Tang Dynasty and Princess Bhrikuti of Nepal. Both wives are said to have brought important Buddhist statues and images from China and Nepal to Tibet as part of their dowries, and they were housed here. Many Nepalese artists worked to construct this temple.[1]
During the Bon period of Tibet the temple was (and sometimes still is), called the Zuglagkang (House of Religious Science or House of Wisdom). The term zuglag refers to the 'sciences' such as geomancy, astrology, and divination which formed part of the pre-Buddhist shamanistic religion now referred to as Bon.[2] It is more commonly known today as the Jokhang, which means the 'House of the Buddha'.[3]
Along with the Potala Palace, it is probably the most popular tourist attraction in Lhasa. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace," and a spiritual centre of Lhasa.

Norbulinka Palace
Norbulinka  is a palace and surrounding park in Lhasa, Tibet, built from 1755.[1] It served as the traditional summer residence of the successive Dalai Lamas from the 1780s up until the 14th Dalai Lama's exile in 1959. Part of the "Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace", Norbulingka is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and was added as an extension of this Historic Ensemble in 2001.[2] It was built by the 7th Dalai Lama and served both as administrative centre and religious centre. It is a unique representation of Tibetan palace architecture.
Norbulingka Palace is situated in the west side of Lhasa, a short distance to the southwest of Potala Palace. Norbulingka covers an area of around 36 hectares (89 acres) and considered to be the largest man made garden in Tibet.[3][4]
Norbulingka park is considered the premier park of all such horticultural parks in similar ethnic settings in Tibet. During the summer and autumn months, the parks in Tibet, including the Norbulinga, become hubs of entertainment with dancing, singing, music and festivities.[5][6] The park is where the annual Sho Dun or 'Yoghurt Festival' is held.
The Norbulingka palace has been mostly identified with the 13th and the 14th Dalai Lamas who commissioned most of the structures seen here now. During the invasion of Tibet in 1950, a number of buildings were damaged, but were rebuilt beginning in 2003, when the Chinese government initiated renovation works here to restore some of the damaged structures, and also the greenery, the flower gardens and the lakes.[7]

Drepung Monastery
Drepung Monastery About 8 km to the west of central Lhasa , Drepung was once Tibet's largest monastery , with a population of around 10,000 monks. Built in 1416 this is one of the important Gelukpa monasteries .It houses different colleges for the study of buddhist philosophy and the interesting sight is to see is the debating monks. The Ganden Palace also located in the Drepung complex , is where the Dalai Lamas used to live before the Potala was built. The Nearby Nechung monastery at a five minutes distance from here is also worth a visit. Drepung Monastery is located at the foot of Mount Gephel, is one of the "great three" Gelukpa university monasteries of Tibet. The other two are Ganden and Sera. Drepung is the largest of all Tibetan monasteries and is located on the Gambo Utse mountain, five kilometers from the western suburb of Lhasa. Freddie Spencer Chapman reported, after his 1936-37 trip to Tibet, that Drepung was at that time the largest monastery in the world, and housed 7,700 monks, "but sometimes as many as 10,000 monks."[4] Since the 1950s, Drepung Monastery, along with its peers Ganden and Sera, have lost much of their independence and spiritual credibility in the eyes of Tibetans since they operate under the close watch of the Chinese security services. All three were reestablished in exile in the 1950s in Karnataka state in south India. Drepung and Ganden are in Mundgod and Sera is in Bylakuppe.

Sera Monastery
Sera Monastery (Tibetan: སེ་ར་, Wylie: Se-ra; Chinese: 色拉寺; pinyin: Sèlā Sì) is one of the 'great three' Gelukpa university monasteries of Tibet, located 1.25 miles (2.01 km) north of Lhasa.[1] The other two are Ganden Monastery and Drepung Monastery. The origin of the name 'Sera' is attributed to a fact that the site where the monastery was built was surrounded by wild roses (se ra in Tibetan language) in bloom. The original Sera monastery is located in Lhasa, Tibet, about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) north of the Jokang and is responsible for some 19 hermitages, including four nunneries, which are all located in the foot hills north of Lhasa. [2][3] The Sera Monastery, as a complex of structures with the Great Assembly Hall and three colleges, was founded in 1419 by Jamchen Chojey of Sakya Yeshe of Zel Gungtang (1355–1435), a disciple of Tsongkhapa.[4] During the 1959 revolt in Lhasa, Sera monastery suffered severe damage, with its colleges destroyed and hundreds of monks killed.[5] After the Dalai Lama took asylum in India, many of the monks of the Sera Monastery who survived the attack moved to Bylakuppe in Mysore, India. After initial tribulations, they established a parallel Sera Monastery with Sera Me and Sera Je colleges and a Great Assembly Hall on similar lines to the original monastery, with help from the Government of India. There are now 3,000 or more monks living in Sera, India and this community has also spread its missionary activities to several countries by establishing Dharma centres, propagating knowledge of Buddhism.[6][7] The Sera Monastery in Tibet and its counterpart in Mysore, India are noted for their "Monk Debates" on the teachings of Buddha and the philosophy of Buddhism. Sera Monastery developed over the centuries as a renowned place of scholarly learning, training hundreds of scholars, many of whom have attained fame in the Buddhist nations.

Shigatse (3900m)
It is also known as Xigatse, which means "fertile land", is the second largest city in Tibet. It is the seat of Panchen Lama who is regarded as the reincarnation of the Buddha of Endless Enlightenment. This city stands between the confluence of the Yarlong Tsangpo and Nyangchu River, used to be the capital of Tsang and now is the capital of Shigatse prefecture.Shigatse is most famous for its Tashilhunpo Monastery - the seat of the Panchen Lama. Places of interest within this monastery include the relics sakyamuni, the hall of maitreya and mind-boggling collection of thankas, etc within the Tashilhunpo Monastery. There is also bustling "free" market at the foot of the ruins of the xigaze fortress and one can buy local handicrafts embedded with coral and torquoise, chinese porcelain and yak butter etc. The highlight of Shigatse is surprisingly high snow capped peaks. Most of the highest peaks in Tibet, including Mt. Everest, lie around Shigatse. The other wonderful monastery near Shigatse is the Sakya Monastery and Shalu Monastery.

Gyantse (3950m)
It is a small agricultural town famous for its wool carpets and the Palkhor Choide Chorten. It is small as cities go (population perhaps 10,000) and largely Tibetan in character - for a change. The town is situated about two small hills which lie east and west, and is united by a saddle; the western hill is further connected with a chain of mountains to the north. On the eastern hill, which is about 600 feet above the surrounding plain, is a large fort, which towers above the village offers a fine view over the valley and on the western hill is a Gomba inhabited by five hundred Dabas. In this Gomba there is a chorten, called Pangon Chorten, which is considered by the Tibetans a most holy place and is notable for its superb Kumbum (10,000 images) stupa. Besides the fort and temple, there are about one thousand dwelling houses on three sides of the double hill. Before 1959, traders coming from Kalimpong and Gangtok (India) used to enter Tibet through Yadong and then to Gyantse, enroute to Lhasa.

Everest Base Camp
Everest Base Camp The northern Everest Base Camp is one of the highlights for adventure travelers 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 has 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 mt Everest .

Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar
Mt. Kailash Tibet These two places are the remotest and yet popular tourist destinations in Tibet .
Mount Kailash is 6,714m high and with its four sheer walls and snow capped peak it is an awe-inspiring sight. For Hindus it is the holiest of the holy place as the abode of Lord Shiva. 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 to contribute to the Ganges in India. Kailash is an object of devout pilgrimage also for the Buddhists.
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 waters will cleanse one's sins. With views to Gurla Mandhata (7,728m)on the backdrop , this is a place of serene beauty. On the northwest shore of the lake is the picturesque Chiu Monastery.

Namtso Lake
Namtso Lake Tibet Situated at an altitude of 4720m Namtso lake is a popular tourist destination in Tibet. It is a heavenly lake as one finds described in story books. The water is blue and crystal clear. In the skyline are beautiful white mountains. The surrounding plain is dotted with yak herds and nomad camps making the scenery more intoxicating. This is the biggest lake in Tibet and highest salt water lake in the world. Summer is the best time to visit Namtso lake. Never take a visit to Namtso lake lightly, take proper care for acclimatization.
It is a mountain lake on the border between Damxung County of Lhasa Prefecture and Baingoin County of Nagqu Prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, approximately 112 kilometres (70 mi) NNW of Lhasa. Namtso means “Sky Lake” in Tibetan, and which is one of the three holy lakes. The altitude of the lake is 4,718 meters. It has an area of 1920 kilometers square. It is not only the biggest lake in Tibet and the second lagoon in China, but also the highest elevation lake in the world.