By Shraddha Shrestha LHASA - KATHMANDU OVERLAND TOUR This overland tour connects two old capital cities, Lhasa

in Tibet and Kathmandu in Nepal. The tour begins in Lhasa and ends in Kathmandu. En route, you cross over several high mountain passes with spectacular mountain views, including those of the majestic Mount Everest, Cho Oyu, Makalu and Shishapangma. This tour gives you an insight into the rich culture and history of Lhasa. Most popularly known as ‘Sunlight City’, Lhasa is regarded as the heart and soul of Tibet. It is the most sought after tourist destination in Tibet. As you drive across the Tibetan plateau, you can visit all the Tibetan monasteries, temples, monuments and important tourist sites. In Lhasa you can explore the Potala Palace, Sera Monastery, Norbulingka, Jokhang Temple, Drepung Monastery and the busy Barkhor Square. This tour gives you an opportunity to discover the real Tibet and introduces you to the rich Tibetan culture, art and history. From the bustling old cities to the ancient villages and settlements, you get to observe Tibetan lifestyle at close quarters. Lhasa's Main Attractions Potala Palace is situated at the west of old Lhasa, atop the "Moburi (Red) Mountain". In 1994, the Potala Palace was declared the United Nations World Cultural Heritage site. It was originally built in the 640's, during the reign of King Songstan Gampo. The 13-story palace stands 117 meters high and has over 1,000 rooms. Covering an area of 130,000 sq meters, the entire building is made of stone and wood. The palace is widely known for its treasures, which includes sculptures, murals, ancient Tibetan Buddhist scriptures, Buddha figures, antiques, and jewelry. These are of great cultural and artistic value. The Red Palace contains various chapels and mausoleums for previous Dalai Lamas. The White Palace contains the living quarters of successive Dalai Lamas and their tutors. The offices of the old Tibetan government and their assembly halls are also located here. The original Potala was destroyed in the 9th century, during the breakdown of the Tubo Kingship era. It was rebuilt during the reign of the 5th Dalai Lama and completed in the late 17th century. Jokhang Temple is located in the centre of old Lhasa city. It was original built in 647 AD. It is said the site was chosen personally by the wife of King Songstan Gampo, the Tang Princess Wen Cheng. It was built by craftsmen from Tibet, China and Nepal and thus features different architectural styles. The Jokhang is the spiritual centre of Tibet and the holiest destination for all Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims. In the central hall is the Jokhang' s oldest and most precious object-a sitting statue of Sakyamuni Buddha ,when he was 12 years old. It is a gilded statue adorned with many jewels, in an elaborate setting. Pilgrims have prostrated themselves in front of this statue for centuries. Drepung Monastery lies in the west of Lhasa under Mt. Gambo Utse. Built in 1416, it is considered as one of the largest monasteries in the six principle monasteries of Gelu Sect. Drepung Monastery used to be the living palace of Dalai Lamas before the reconstruction of Potala palace. This magnificent monastery resembles a huge walled city. From its roofs, one can enjoy the scenic view of Lhasa city. As the most powerful of the "Gelukpa" monasteries, Drepung had seven colleges and, at its height, housed over 10,000 monks. It owns many splendid murals, elaborate statues and other rich treasures. A giant golden statue of Buddha "Jiangba Tongzhenma" sits near the precious conch shell. During the building of the foundation of Drepung, Tsong Khapa discovered a magical white conch shell with counter

clockwise swirls, believed to be buried by the Sakyamuni Buddha. Tsong Khapa bestowed this religious treasure to Drepung, and it can still be seen today in the "Great Sutra Chanting Hall". Norbulingka is the Summer Palace of the Dalai Lama. Located in the west of Lhasa, Norbulingka was built in 1755.It covers an area of 46 acres, with 370 rooms of different sizes. Barkhor Street is found in the heart of Lhasa. It means "a pilgrim's inner circuit", and is the oldest street in Lhasa. Barkhor Street is an essential pilgrim route. It bustles with activity and is always jampacked with trades people. The market is "a must visit site" for souvenir-hunting tourists. Many people call the Barkhor "the window of Tibet" as it offers a typical reflection of Tibetan life. The old circumambulation circuit is always crowded with pilgrims. Here you will find people from all over Tibet. Sera Monastery - Sera means "Hailstone" in Tibetan. Legend has it that hail stones rained while laying the foundation of this famous monastery. Sera was the last of the three principal Yellow Sect monasteries to be built in Lhasa. It was completed in 1419, under the supervision of Shaka Yeshe. Shaka Yeshe traveled to Beijing and as far as Mongolia to preach Buddhism. He was given the title "The Tutor of the Empire", by the Ming Emperor, Xuan De. Many precious gifts were sent to Sera by the Chinese Emperors, many of which are kept well preserved and can be seen at Sera to this day. Sera comprises a great sutra chanting hall, a college and 32 sections. It once housed nearly 10,000 monks. PEOPLE AND CULTURE The Tibetans are classified as belonging to the Mongoloid family of people. They are probably descendents of a variety of nomadic tribes who migrated from the north and settled along sedentary cultivation of Tibet’s river valleys. The Tibetans living within the borders of present day Tibet are easily identified by their distinctive dialects, social customs and dress. The Topas live in the highland regions (Lato and Ngari), the Tsangpas in the West Tibet (Tsang), the Upas live in central Tibet, the Horpas comes from the north (Nagchu/ Jangtang), the Kongpowas from the south, the Khampas live in the east, the Amdowa in the northeast, and the Gyarongwa in the extreme east. In Lhasa, you will find some Tibetans speak a bit of English and are happy to have a chat with you. Travelers to Tibet inevitably find Tibetans to be friendly and possessing a great sense of humor. It is appreciated when you try and use Tibetan language when communicating with Tibetans. Religion is extremely important to the majority of Tibetans, and travelers should endeavor to respect their customs and beliefs. Always circumambulate Buddhist religious sites or monastery in a clockwise direction, and when in a monastery do not wear a hat, smoke or touch frescoes. In addition, refrain from climbing onto statues, mani stones or other sacred objects. Don't photograph people without permission, and be aware that some locations prohibit photography without a fee. www.tibet-adventures.com enquiry@tibet-adventures.com

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful