Tibet - The Roof top of the World

Where is Tibet? Tibet is a rich and beautiful land with an average altitude over 4,000m (13,120ft) above sea level. Possessing more than fifty peaks above 7,000m (22,960ft), Tibet is home to eleven Himalayan mountains over 8,000m (26,240ft). China, India, Nepal , Sikkim, Bhutan , Burma and Kashmir border the Tibet.

Tibet - People and Culture: Over two million people inhabit this land of rich natural resources and ancient cultures. Spiritual traditions, temples and monasteries, lakes and rivers, and mighty snow clad peaks are just a few of the intoxicating wonders to be experienced by adventurous travelers destined to visit this place.

Buddhism , with a history of some 1,300 years is shaped into a unique form of "Lamasm". Tibetan history, culture and religion are mixed together and infiltrate every aspect of social life. Tibetan religious arts have a distinctive style with adoption of Indian and Chinese Buddhist influence, thus forming a pearl of Oriental Buddhist art.

People living on the Tibetan plateau, such as Tibetans, Monpas, Lhopas and Moslems, have their own ways of living, marriage, burial and other ceremonies. Festivals in Tibet are in big variety. The Tibetan New Year, the largest festival, is followed by others such as the Wangkor Festival and horse races. For the dead, sky burials, water burials, cremations and stupa burials are practiced, but the sky burial is the most common.

Science and culture in Tibet include technology, medicine, grammar, logic, Buddhist philosophy, rhetoric, words and expressions, syntax, drama and astrology. Tibet is known as the Sea of Songs and Dances; folk songs and dances are diverse, especially during the "Shoton Festival" in August .

How to get there? This unique land is now easily accessible from Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Schedule air services fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa, and back every Tuesday and Saturdays with additional flights on Thursdays from July. This flight last a little over one hour and gives you a panoramic view of the Himalayas. Our sponsors have different package tour programs to this fascinating land. They will will give you a reason to get up early. Please check out their Programs to find out how. A trip not be missed in this lifetime!

The best season for Tibet tour is from the end March to end November each year. From end November to end March it gets too cold and flights do not operate during this period. Flights operate from first week April to end November every year.

Festival Tour in Tibet

Tibet 's capital Lhasa (elevation 3,700 m) is a cultural city with a history going back 1,300 years. The magnificent Potala Palace , former seat of the Dalai Lamas, presides over the city. Built in 1645 on the top of a hill, the palace contains 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and 200,000 religious statues. The old city revolves around the Jokhang Temple and the quaint Barkhor market that surrounds it. The Jhokhang, built in the seventh century, is the holiest Buddhist shrine in Tibet . Its mural paintings, finely worked golden roofs and other works of art are something to see. At a little distance from the old city core, Lhasa is also a modern capital of concrete high-rises, fancy department stores and wide boulevards.

Norbulingka consists of wooded greenery and three palaces once used by the Dalai Lamas as a summer retreat.

The Drepung Monastery lies about 10 km from the city. Built in 1416, it is the largest in Tibet . The Sera Monastery, about 5 km to the north of Lhasa , is another important center of Buddhist learning. It lies amidst serene surroundings.

Shigatse (3,900 m) lies 274 km to the west of Lhasa . It is Tibet 's second-largest city and has a 500-year-old history. The highway runs alongside the Yarlung Tsangpo ( Brahmaputra ) river passing through narrow gorges and broad river valleys. Farmers plowing their fields with yaks, sheep grazing on the vast plains, awesome sand dunes and rocky hills in the distance are the scenic rewards on the trip.

Central Tibet

The Tashilhunpo Monastery , built in 1447, houses a 26-meter high statue of Maitreya (the Buddha to come). Other buildings contain images of Sakyamuni (the Buddha of our times) and embalmed bodies of lamas.

Gyantse (3,800 m) is located 260 km to the southwest of Lhasa . This trading town was a major stop on the legendary India-Tibet caravan route. Gyantse's centerpiece is the Kumbum Stupa which is 32 m high and contains 77 rooms and 100,000 images of the Buddha. Pelkor Chode Monastery and Gyantse Fort (built atop a massive rock) are the other major sights here.

The road from Gyantse to Lhasa takes you over three mountain passes: Simala (4,380 m high), Karola (5,045 m) and Ghampala (4,794 m). The highway skirts the Yamdrok Tso Lake before twisting up the Ghampala Pass from the top of which a fantastic view of the lake on one side and the Yarlung Tsangpo river on the other can be had.

Tsetang (195 km from Lhasa to the south-east) is known as the cradle of Tibetan civilization. The ancient town offers a number of side trips that illustrate Tibet 's early history. The Valley of the Kings (ancient capital of the Yarlung kings who established the Tibetan nation), the Yumbu Lagang Palace (built for the first Yarlung king), and the Tandruk Monastery (one of the three royal Buddhist temples) are some of the major sights.

Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasarovar in western Tibet are intensely sacred pilgrimage sites for the Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Bon faithful, besides presenting an entrancing natural sight. Kailash is 1,257 km over a mountain highway from Lhasa .