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Tibet: About Lhasa

Arrival in Lhasa

Upon arrival at Gongar airport and necessary immigration formalities, we will be met by your Tibetan guide and then transferred 45 minutes to Lhasa city. You could take a quiet stroll within the city limits and take some time to acclimatize without exerting yourself too much. Drink plenty of liquid and eat well.

Alternatively, you can add a 2-day extension to Tse Dang and Samye enroute to Lhasa.

Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, and Barkhor market

The Potala Palace is the most enduring symbol of Tibet. The towering structure, which is reputed to house about 10, 000 shrines and 200,000 images, is perched atop the Red Hill or " Marpo Ri". Built by the 5th Dalai Lama in 1645, in the very same site that Songsten Gampo built a palace in the 7th century, the palace served as seat of administration as well as the residence of the Dalai Lama. The palace is divided into two sections, the Red Palace and the White Palace. The dim lit hallways which evokes a sense of surreal mysticism. The palace houses several stupas that contain the relics of the erstwhile Dalai Lama (from the 5th onwards), and the chambers of the 13th and 14th Dalai Lama. The throne room, the audience hall, meditation room and library offer a interesting insight into their lives. The colorful murals that adorn the walls, invaluable artifacts, hundreds of images and of the architectural wonder that is Potala make this the highlight of the entire tour.

Today you will visit the holiest temple in Tibet. Jokhang, which shelters the Jowo Shakyamuni, one of the most revered images of Tibet, provides you with a surreal feeling. The interesting murals that adorn the walls and the many courtyards and chapels filled with droves of pilgrims from every corner of Tibet provides you an insight to how much religion holds sway in this part of the globe.

A walk in the marketplace and the Barkhor Square provides a unique experience and an opportunity to peek at the Tibetan way of life from close quarters.

Drepung Monastery, Norbulingka, and Sera Monastery

After breakfast, we drive about 8 km west of Lhasa to Drepung Monastery. Founded in 1416, it is one of the most important center of learning for the Gelugpa sect. The center holds high significance as it also served as the residence of the 3rd, 4th and 5th Dalai Lama. It is an architectural delight with interesting images and structures.

Norbulingka is the summer palace of His Holiness Dalai Lama. Sights include humble but magnificently painted buildings, gardens, and zoo.

About 5 km north of Lhasa the Sera Monastery, perched on a ridge that forms the northern wall of the Kyi Chu valley, is spread among tranquil surrounds. With the Sera Ngagpa College, Sera Me College and Sera Je College, within its vast premises, it is an important center of learning for the Gelugpa sect. It is interesting to watch the monks embroiled in intense debating. The constant din that is accompanied by bursts of clapping hands makes it an absorbing experience. Various chapels dedicated to the various luminaries of Tibetan Buddhism, and beautiful images and buildings with superb carvings and paintings, are interesting features of this place.

Ganden Monastery

This is a day trip to Ganden to visit the monastery and walk the beautiful kora. Ganden Monastery renowned as one of the biggest and most important Gelugpa monastery in Tibet.

Pha Bhong Kha Monastery

Pha Bhong Kha monastery little visited but is one of the most ancient Buddhist sites in the Lhasa region.

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