7 days Gyantse Horse Racing Festival tour
Horse race and archery are generally popular in Tibet, and Gyantse enjoys prestige of being the earliest in history by starting in 1408. Contests in early times included horse race, archery, and shooting on gallop followed by a few days' entertainment or picnicking. Legend says Gyangtse Prince of Dhamag Parba Sangpo in the Sakya regime enjoyed great prestige among the people, and after his death his children held a memorial ceremony on the time of that year, they held a series of religious activities, like unfolding the painted scroll of Buddha and sorcerer's dance and entertainments such as horse races, wrestling matches and weightlifting. In 1447, Tashi Rabten became Gyangtse Prince of Dhamag, and he added horsemanship and archery, Tibetan Opera and songs and dances to the ceremony. Thus, the present Gyangtse Dhamag Festival came into being. It celebrate for seven days with different activities, culture show, horse racing competitions between the villages under Gyantse county. Presently ball games, track and field events, folk songs and dances, barter trade are in addition to the above.
Upon arrival at Lhasa airport or train station, to be met and transferred to your hotel in Lhasa. Then have a good rest to acclimatize the high altitude. Overnight at Lhasa.
After breakfast, visit Jokhang temple and Potala Palace. Jokhang temple is the most sacred shrine in Tibet which was built in the 7th century and located at the heart of old town in Lhasa, the circuit around it called Barkhor street, which is a good place to purchase souvenirs. Potala Palace is the worldwide known cardinal landmark of Tibet. The massive structure itself contains a small world within it. Mostly it is renowned as residence of the Dalai Lama lineages (Avalokiteshvara). Both of them are the focal points of pilgrims from the entire Tibetan world, multitudinous pilgrims are circumambulating and prostrating in their strong faith. Overnight at Lhasa.
Today you will visit Drepung, Sera monasteries and Norbulingka palace. Both Drepung and Sera monasteries are Gelugpa (yellow hat) sect monastic colleges. Drepung monastery was the seat of the Government prior to Potala, it was once the world largest monastery in the history with 7,700 monks hailed from different monasteries all over Tibet. Sera monastery is famous for its Buddhism philosophical debate practice, the clapping sound and aggressive expression of the monks are well worth to see. Norbulingka is the summer palace of Dalai Lama, you'll see the residences of different lineages of the Dalai Lama. Overnight at Lhasa.
Drive up to Kambala pass which is 4794m high, you will have a glimpse of Yamdrok-Tso there. It is one of the three holy lakes in Tibet. Then along the Friendship southern Hwy to Gyantse, a short stop at Karo La pass [5,100m] which is overlooked by Mt. Nyenchen Kangsar glacier. Today is the first day of seven day Gyantse horse racing festival, you will have the change to take part in the festival and enjoy the happy atmosphere. Visit the famous stupa - Gyantse Kumbum, the most stunning architectural wonder in Tibet. Overnight in Gyantse.
Attend to Gyantse Horse Racing Festival. Hang out with locals at the festival, you will see various festival activities like horse racing, dancing shows, etc. Late afternoon drive to Shigatse. Overnight at Shigatse.
Morning visit Tashilunpo Monastery and the spectacular tombs of Panchen Lamas, do its kora with local people. Afternoon drive back to Lhasa along the friendship highway. Overnight at Lhasa.
Your guide and driver will see you off at the airport or train station, end of the trip.