5 days Tibetan Butter Lamp Festival (Ganden Nga-choe Festival) tour
Upon arrival at Lhasa airport or train station, to be met and transferred to your hotel / hostel in Lhasa. Afternoon have a good rest to acclimatize the high altitude. Overnight at Lhasa.
Today is your first day of sightseeing on the Tibetan high plateau, so we've purposefully arranged visits to only the Jokhang Temple and Potala Palace.
In the morning, meet your guide at the hotel for a short walk to the magnificent Potala Palace, a cardinal landmark globally recognized as a symbol of Tibet. This historic site served as the former seat of the Tibetan government and the winter palace of the Dalai Lamas. The Potala Palace comprises the rooftop White Palace, the Dalai Lama's living quarters, and the central Red Palace, used for religious functions. The Palace now serves as a museum and was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.
In the afternoon, visit the Jokhang Temple, the most sacred temple in Tibet, built in the 7th century and situated in the heart of Lhasa's old town. The temple is typically bustling with local pilgrims and those from other parts of Tibet during winter. The circuit around it, known as Barkhor Street, is one of the most devout circuits and the central market in Lhasa city, an ideal place to buy souvenirs.
Today you will be arranged to visit two significant Gelugpa (Yellow Hat) monasteries in Lhasa - Drepung and Sera.
Drepung Monastery, founded in 1416, served as the seat of the Dalai Lama until the 5th Dalai Lama constructed the Potala Palace. Located on the outskirts of Lhasa, Drepung was once the world's largest monastery, housing over 10,000 monks at its peak in Tibetan history. The monastery is renowned for its annual Shoton Festival in August, during which a large Thangka is displayed on the nearby mountains.
In the afternoon, you will visit Sera Monastery, founded in 1419 by Sakya Yeshe, a disciple of Tsongkhapa. Sera grew to become one of the largest monasteries in central Tibet, accommodating approximately 5,000 monks. The monastery is famous for its monk debates, which occur every afternoon at 3:00 pm, except on Sundays. It's believed that these debates foster a deeper understanding of Buddhist philosophy and help monks attain higher levels of comprehension of Buddhism.
After visiting these monasteries, you might be eager to explore more natural beauty.
In the morning, drive approximately 60 km east to Ganden Monastery, the largest among the six major monasteries of Gelugpa. Beyond its stunning architecture and religious significance, the view from the top of Ganden Wangpo Hill is absolutely breathtaking. Kichu Valley lies behind Ganden Monastery; a hike around the monastery for a bird's-eye view of the valley is highly recommended.
In the afternoon, drive back to Lhasa for some free time. In the evening head to Jokhang Temple Square for the Butter Lamp festival. As the sun sets, Barkhor Street is adorned with lamps. Believers chant scriptures in unison, mourning Master Tsongkhapa. Their harmonious murmurs float from the temple to the heavens, reaching the abode of the gods and Buddhas.
Your guide and driver will see you off at the airport or train station, end of the trip.