The coop focuses on sustainable practice, responsible tourism, and keeping local business in the hands of Tibetans.
Lhasa, Tibet (PRWEB) May 14, 2012
Tibet Travel Coop (TTC) is a collection of Tibetan-owned agencies, tour guides, cooks, drivers and other travel personnel.
“The coop focuses on sustainable practice, responsible tourism, and keeping local business in the hands of Tibetans,” a TTC spokesperson announced. “We promote the livelihood of Tibetan communities, and strive to give travelers authentic experiences of Tibetan culture and way-of-life.”The coop now offers a 7-day tour to the most famous and sought-after sights in central Tibet, including palaces, monasteries, stupa, ancient cities and sacred lakes.”
The tour begins in iconic Lhasa city, located in the center of the Tibetan Plateau in a valley of the Kyi River, a tributary of the Yarlang Zangbo (Brahmaputra). Lhasa is the center of Tibetan commercial and spiritual life, luring merchants and pilgrims from all over Asia to participate in trade or religious festivals. The most important cultural sites in Lhasa are the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, the Barkhor market, and the monasteries of Sera and Drepung.
The13-story Potala Palace is located in the center of the city on Red Hill, 300 meters above the Lhasa Valley. It was built by the 5th Dalai Lama in the 17th century, and is named for Mt. Potalaka, the heavenly home of Chenrezig, the Buddha of Compassion. It served as the traditional home of the Dalai Lama and the seat of Tibetan government.
Jokhang Temple, considered the most sacred temple in Tibetan Buddhism, was constructed by Songtsan Gampo in the 7th century. The temple houses the most important holy relics in Tibet, and hosts an endless stream of scholars, pilgrims, and tourists. The area around the temple has been a thriving trade market since the end of the 17th century, called Barkhor street. A series of streets and a square around the Temple form the Barkhor circuit, a circumambulation route for pilgrims.
Sera and Drepung monasteries, located on the outskirts of Lhasa, are two of the three most important religious and scholastic institutions of the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Drepung was once the world’s largest monastery, and housed more than 10,000 monks. The Sera monastery, located just north of Lhasa, was built in the 15th century. It is renowned in the Buddhist world for the lively philosophical debates that still occur on a daily basis.
From Lhasa travelers on the Classic Tibet journey will travel to Gyaltse, a town famous for horse-racing and a beautiful hilltop stupa. On the way to the town travelers will stop at Yamdrok Lake, one of the four most sacred lakes of Tibet. Tibetans believe that the lake holds protective spirits; therefore many people make spiritual pilgrimages to the lake. The pristine natural environment and deep turquoise color of the water also makes the lake a popular trekking destination.
The final stop on the Classic Tibet tour is the city of Shigatse, the second largest in Tibet. It’s located about 260 kilometers southwest of Lhasa at the confluence of the Brahmaputra and Nyang Rivers. The heart of Shigatse is the Tashilhunpo Monastery, established in 1447 by the first Dalai Lama. The monastery is the traditional home of the Panchen Lama, considered to be the most important spiritual leader in Tibet after the Dalai Lama himself.
Tibet Travel Coop is a collection of local Tibetan travel agencies and guides working together to promote authentic travel experiences while contributing to the sustainability of host communities and their culture.