5 days Tibet Butter Lamp Festival (Ganden Nga-choe Festival) tour
Ganden Ngangchoe (Lotus Lantern Festival) is a religious festival that celebrated since Great Gelugpa (commonly known as the Yellow Hat Sect) founder Tsongkhapa's death on October 25 1419, his teaching influenced almost whole Tibet in 15th century and became most active sect among three others, his follower Tibetans celebrate the day as his death anniversary for commemorating their reverend teacher, gradually it is celebrated in whole Tibet.
On that day Tibetans light butter lamps on their roof and pray for him, and the monasteries also light thousands of butter lamps all around the monasteries and all monks gathered in the main assembly hall to pray, for dinner Tibetans eat Pathuk(Tibetan hand-make pasta dough noodles).
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 high plateau, so we have purposely arranged only to visit Jokhang temple and Potala Palace.
In the morning meet your guide at hotel and have a short walk to visit the magnificent Potala Palace, the worldwide known cardinal landmark of Tibet. It was the former seat of the Tibetan goverment and the winter palace of Dalai Lamas. The layout of the Potala Palace includes the roofttop White Palace, used for the living quaters of the Dalai Lam, and the central Red Palace, used of the religious functions. Nowadays Potala Palace is a museum and was recognized as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.
In the afternoon visit Jokhang temple, which is the most scared temple in Tibet built in 7th century, located at the heart of old town in Lhasa. In winter time it is always crowded with pilgrims of locals and other parts of Tibet. The circuit around it called Barkhor street, it is one of the most devotational circuit as well as central market in Lhasa city, a good place to purchase souvenirs.
Today you will be arranged to visit two important Gelupa (Yellow hat) monasteires in Lhasa - Drepung and Sera.
Drepung monastery was was founded in 1416, it was the seat of Dalai Lama until the 5th Dalai Lama built the Potala Palace. Drepung monastery is located on the outskirts of Lhasa, it was once the world largest monastery that houses more than 10,000 monks in Tibetan history; it is also known for its annual Shoton festival in August, a large Thangka is revealed on the nearby mountains.
In the afternoon visit Sera monastery, founded in 1419 by a disciple of Tsongkhapa named Sakya Yeshe, it was one of the biggest monasteries in Central Tibet grew to have about 5,000monks. Sera monastery is famous for its monks debates which takes places every afternoon 3:00pm except Sunday. It is said that debates create a deeper knowledge of the Buddhist philosophy and will allow the monks to reach a higher level of understanding of the Buddhism.
After visited all these monasteries, guess you want to explore more nature. Morning drive about 60 km eastwards to Ganden Monastery, which ranks the first among the six largest monasteries of Gelugpa. In addition to its magnificent architecture and religious importance, there is a extremely fabulous view on top of the Ganden Wangpo Hill, and Kichu valley is behind Ganden monastery, it is strongly suggested to hiking around the monastery and take a bird's-eye view of the valley. Afternoon drive back to Lhasa, free on your own. Overnight at Lhasa.
Your guide and driver will see you off at the airport or train station, end of the trip.