guge Shangri La Travels, Tibet

Mount Kailash with Everest & the Guge Kingdom
(Lhasa-Kathmandu) - 20 days

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Mount Kailash - 20 days

Day1. Arrive Lhasa, meet your guide and transfer to 3* Yak Hotel x4n.
Day2. Sightseeing: Jokhang Temple & Barkhor Bazaar, Drepung Monastery
Day3. Sightseeing: Potala Palace and Sera Monastery
Day4. Free day
Day5. Lhasa to Gyantse via Yamdrok Lake and visit Pelkor Monastery (overnight Yeti htl)
Day6. Gyantse to Shigatse, visit Tashilumpo Monastery (overnight Manasarovar htl)
Day7. Shigatse to Sakya, visit Sakya monastery (overnight Sakya htl)
Day8. Sakya to Saga with stop at hotsprings (overnight gh)
Day9. Saga to Hor (overnight gh)
Day10. Hor to Menshi. Visit Tirthapuri & hotsprings (overnight Mensi gh)
Day11. Tirthapuri to Tsaparang. Visit Guge kingdom and Tholing monastery (overnight gh)
Day12. Tsaparang to Darchen (overnight gh)
Day13. Start of Kor. Trek to the North side of Kailash and visit Diraphuk Monastery (overnight Diraphuk gh)
Day14. Cross the Dolma La Pass and continue to Zatulpuk Monastery (overnight gh)
Day15. Trek Zatulpuk to Darchen. Drive to Manasarovar Lake (overnight gh) x2
Day16. Free time for visiting Manasarovar Lake and Rakshas Lake, visit Chiu Monastery
Day17. Manasarovar to Saga (overnight Saga gh)
Day18. Saga to Rombuk & EBC (overnight Rombuk GH)
Day 19. Rombuk to Nyalam-Zhangmu (overnight Zhangmu htl)
Day 20. Cross the border and transfer to Kathmandu

 

The Detail

Day 1. Arrive Lhasa
Arrive at Lhasa airport or train station where your guide will be waiting to meet you. Transfer to your hotel and relax and adjust to the altitude.

Day2. Drepung monastery (8km to the west) and Sera monastery (5km to the north)
Morning, visit Drepung Monastery (rice heap). Drepung monastery was founded in 1416 by Jamyang Cheojee a disciple of Tsong-khapa. It was one of six great monasteries of Gelukpa sect and possibly the largest monastery in the world. Before the construction of the Potala by the fifth Dalai Lama; it was the principal seat of the Gelukpa Sect. There were originally 7 colleges but were consolidated into 4, each with its own abbot and syllabus. The monastery keeps plentiful historical relics, Buddhist scriptures, and arts and crafts.
Afternoon, visit Sera Monastery: one of the three great monasteries of Gelukpa sect in Lhasa-Ganden, Drepung and Sera. Sera monastery means merciful hail'-the origin of the name is thought to derive from the fact that Sera was in constant competition with Drepung ('rice heap monastery') and that the 'hail' of Sera destroyed the 'rice' of Drepung. It was founded in 1419 by Shamchen chejee-a disciple of Tsongkhapa. One of the highlights of a visit to Sera is the debating session from 3pm to 5pm attended by most of the monks. The noise and fervor is exciting even if you can't understand a word they are saying.
Day3. Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple
Morning, visit The Potala Palace. The original construction dates back to the 7th century, and was built by King Songtsen Gampo. Later in the 17th century the 5th Dalai Lama rebuilt the Potala Palace to its present size with 1500 artisans and 5000 workers. The maze-like structure contains over a thousand rooms and is thought to house 10,000 shrines and 200,000 statues. The massive structure contains a small world within it itself with a 13-storey castle rising over 117m high.
Afternoon visit to the world heritage site of Jokhang Temple and explore the bustling bazaar along the Barkhor Street. The Jokhang Temple is the first temple in Tibet and built by King Sontsen Gampo’s wife princess Bhrikuti in the 7th century when he moved his capital to Lhasa. Unlike most temples, the Jokhang is not identified with a particular sect because it houses the holiest statue of Sakyamuni when he was 12 years old and consecrated by Buddha himself.
Day4. Free day
Day5 Lhasa to Gyantse (3900m) via Yamdok Lake and visit Gyantse Kumbum (270km)
Morning drive up to the Kambala pass (4794m), you will have a glimpse of Yamdrok-yutso and a wonderful view of Mt. Nyenchen Khangsar in the distance. Yamdrok-yutso is one of the four holy lakes in Tibet {the others are Lhamo latso, Namtso and Manasarover} and seat of wrathful deities. After a morning of fantastic views reach Nangartse for lunch. Then along the Friendship Southern Hwy drive to Gyantse, visit Pelkor monastery and the famous stupa; Gyantse Kumbum built in 1427 by Gyantse King. The 35m-high Stupa with its white layers trimmed with decorative stripes and its crown-like golden dome makes it a stunning architectural wonder in Tibet.
Day6. Gyantse to Shigatse (3800m), visit Tashilumpo Monastery (90km)
Morning, drive to Shigatse the second biggest city in Tibet and visit Tashilumpo Monastery which was founded in 1447 by the First Dalai Lama. Later, the Fourth Panchen Lama, Lobsang Chökyi Gyalsten made major expansions to the monastery and it became the traditional seat of successive Panchen Lamas, the second highest ranking tulku lineage in the Gelukpa tradition. Here we can see the tallest statue of Maitreya Buddha (future Buddha) in the world. This is made of golden and copper alloy. There is a bustling 'free' market at the foot of the ruins of the Shigatse Fortress where you can buy local handicrafts embedded with coral and turquoise, Tibetan daggers, Chinese porcelain and yak butter.
Day7. Shigatse to Sakya, visit Sakya monastery(150km)
Morning drive to Sakya which takes 4 hours and visit Sakya monastery, the head of Sakya sect. The southern monastery was established in 1268 and is designed defensively, with watch towers on each of the corners of its high walls. The northern monastery is located on north side of Trum Chu river and was built in 1073 by Kon Konchog Gyelpo, a member of the influential Kon family.
Day8. Sakya to Saga (4500m - 356km)7/8hrs drive
Drive to Saga, passing several high plateau lakes and towns. You will see herders' tents and, in the distance various mountain ranges lining the valley.
Day9. Saga to Hor 8/9hrs drive.
Drive from Saga to Hor via Paryang across the plateau grasslands passing small villages and camps of yak herders. If lucky you may see many wild animals and birds. Cross the Mayum-la pass (5216m) with views of snow capped mountain ranges lining the horizon.
Day10. Hor to Menshi via Tirthapuri, hotsprings, Garuda valley and Kunlung old Silver City
Day11. Menshi to Tsaparang (191km). Visit Tholing Monastery and Guge Kingdom
The Guge Kingdom was founded in middle of the 10th century by a descendant of King Lang Darma, who fled from Lhasa after the collapse of the Tupo Kingdom. The kingdom played an important role in the second renascence in Tibet and survived for about 700 years before disappearing mysteriously in the 17th century. The ruins of Guge are located on a mountain in Tsaparang (Zhabran) Village, which is 18 km west of Zhada county.
It houses an important 10th century sutra written on dark blue paper, with the lines written alternately in liquid gold and liquid silver. There are a total of 1,416 surviving pieces of architecture, including 879 caves as well as numerous pagodas, houses, chapels and four tunnels, which lead in all directions inside the architectural group.
Tholing means “to fly high and never fall” in Tibetan. It is located in Zhada County. Yeshi-O the second King of Guge Kingdom, built Tholing Monastery around the beginning of the 10th century to expand and develop Buddhism in Tibet. Later, Tholing Monastery became the center of the Tibetan Buddhism. It is said that there are many relics in the ruins around the monastery. Many senior monks, including Atisha who came to Tholing Monastery to preach Buddhism. Although the monastery faded after the collapse of the Guge Kingdom, it still maintains an important place in Tibet. In the river valley of Sutlej River (River flow from elephant's mouth), there are ruins of hundreds of pagodas, which stood in a belt of hundreds of meters long. It is also very spectacular to watch the sunrise and the sunset in the river valley.
Day12. Tsaparang to Darchen (261km)  
Days13-15. Pilgrimage kora of the holy Mt. Kailash (Gang Rimpoche) 52km 
Mt Kailash (Gang Rimpoche in Tibetan), is located in Burang County, and it is the highest peak of the Gangdise (Transhimalaya) Range, with an altitude of 6,656m. Mt Kailash means the “sacred mountain” in Tibetan and “Heaven of Shiva” in Sanskrit (Shiva is a god of Hinduism). It is also the place where the Bon religion originated. According to Tibetan History of the region, people began to worship Mt Kailash as early as in 1000 B.C. It is said that Mt Kailash  is the Sumeru (center of the world) in Buddhism. As the legend goes, 360 deities once lived on the mountain. Indians also consider it the center of the world. They believe that Shiva lives with highest supernatural power and the highest rank among the three gods of Hinduism in the mountain. Any time is ok for circling the mountain; however, April 15 is the day when Buddha Sakyamuni was born, the day he became the Buddha, and also the day when he passed away and reached the state of nirvana. On this day a ceremony of replacing the Mani flag is held at the entrance of the Sacred Mountain. Tibetan Buddhists believe that a circumambulation on this day will accumulate more virtues for them.
The weather is very changeable on the mountain. The temperature changes greatly during day and night so you should know about the climate before going and prepare enough warm clothes.
1st day: start pilgrimage to Mt. Kailash from Darchen to Diraphuk and on way visit Chuku meditation centre 4860m and Diraphuk Monastery 5210m. 20km 3/4hrs. (Overnight at Diraphuk gh)
2nd day: cross the Dolma la pass 5620m and parikarma to Zatulpuk monastery 4810m / 20km, 7/8hrs walking. (Overnight at Zatulpuk gh)
3rd day: Zatulpuk to Darchen and then drive to Manasarovar Lake 20km (overnight at Chiu gh)
Manasarovar Lake lies 20 km southeast of Mt Kailash. It is one of the highest freshwater lakes in the world with an altitude of 4588m. Manasarovar Lake in Tibetan means the “eternal and invincible jade lake,” named to mark the victory of Buddhism over the local Bon Religion in the 11tth century. Manasarovar Lake appears in many religious records and legends. Indian legend claims it to be a place where Shiva and his wife Goddess Woma, daughter of the Himalaya, bathed. Tibetan legend claims it to be where the God Guangcanlong lived. In Buddhist scriptures, the lake is named the “mother of the rivers in the world”. There were once nine monasteries surrounding the lake. Chiu Monastery and Curgu Monastery are the best known of them. The area surrounding Curgu Monastery is respected as a holy and pure bathing place. Buddhist followers believe that the water here can wash away “five malignancies of the human soul (greed, anger, craziness, sloth and jealousy)” and can remove filth from human skin. As a result, the holy lake is crowded with people who come to take a bath every year. These people also carry samples of water from the holy lake back home for their relatives and friends. It is also a holy place in Hinduism. There are four bathing gates in the holy lake: the Gate of Lotus Baths in the east, the Gate of Sweat Baths in the south, the Gate of Filth-Removing Baths in the west, and the Gate of Belief Baths in the north. The holy lake also has four water heads: Brahmaputra River (river flow from horse's mouth) in the east, Indus River (river flow from lion's mouth) in the north, Sutlej River (river flow from elephant's mouth) in the west, and Karnali River (river flow from Peacock's mouth) in the south.
Day16. Free time for visiting Manasarovar Lake and Rakshas Lake, visit Chiu Monastery
Day17. Manasarovar to Saga (504km) 8/9hrs drive
Day18. Saga to Rombuk (380km), hike to EBC (Mt. Everest base camp)
Early morning, drive to Rombuk, the highest monastery in the world. If the weather is good in late afternoon hike to EBC and enjoy the view of Mt, Everest. Next morning, visit Rombuk monastery; the main Buddhist centre in the valley which was established in 1902 by a Nyingmapa Lama.
Day19. Rombuk to Nyalam-Zhangmu  8/9hrs
Early morning drive to Zhangmu with excellent views of Shishapangma range and cross the Nyalam Thongla Pass (5248m). After a short break and last moments of enjoying the snow capped Himalaya mountain views, drive down to Zhangmu (the border of China and Nepal).
Day20. Cross the border and transfer to Kathmandu
After breakfast drive to the friendship bridge and say goodbye to your Tibet guide and driver. You will be met on the other side by our Nepal team and transferred to Kathmandu.