8 Days Lhasa/Gyantse/ShigatseBack
Trip Facts Program Code: PTT-TIBET Duration: 8 days Program Type: High Altitude Tour Maximum Altitude: 5200 Minimum Pax: 2 Mode of Travel: Flight/Drive Start Trip: Kathmandu/Beijing End Trip: Kathmandu/Beijing Program Grading: Moderate - Tour Driving Hour: 0 hours Driving Distance: 0 KM Trek Distance: 0 KM Flying Hour: 0 hours

Overview

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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.

Tsetang Valley
Yumbu Lagang - the oldest building in Tibet.
Yumbu Lagang, situated in Nedong country of Lhoka Prefecture, Yumbu Langang is said to be the first palace in Tibetan history and built in the second century B.C. The palace, facing west, stands lofty on top of the hill. Statues of the Three Periods of Buddha, Tibetan king Nyatri Tsenpo, Lha Tho - Tho - Ri Nyantsen, Tri Ralpachen, Songtsen Gampo and Trisong Detsen are enshrined in the palace.

Gyantse (13,050 ft.) 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.

Shigatse, 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 (12,600 ft.) 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.


Short Itinerary

Day 01 :: Fly to Lhasa
Day 06    :: Lhasa sightseeing[B]
Day 03:: Lhasa sightseeing[B]
Day 04: Lhasa to Shigatse via Northern route [B]/ 265 km
Day 05:: Shigatse tours and Drive to Gyantse[B]
Day 06:: Full day drive to Tsetang.[B]
Day 07:: Tsetang and around.[B]
Day 08:: Fly back to Kathmandu[B]

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