(PRWEB) June 13, 2012
Potala Travel, a locally owned and operated travel agency in Lhasa, now offers sacred journeys to holy sites in central Tibet. Travelers can follow in the footsteps of Tibetan pilgrims, from the bustling markets around Lhasa’s Jokhang temple to the high-altitude Namtso Lake.
The trip begins in Lhas a where travelers will acclimatize to the altitude for several days and explore the city by walking around Barkhor Square and mingling with Tibetan pilgrims. Important sights in Lhasa include Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, and Sera Monastery, all places to learn about Tibetan architecture, history, and culture. Travelers will meet Tibetan artisans and scholars in order to learn about Tibetan folk arts such as painting, wood carving, and handcrafts.
From Lhasa travelers will drive overland to the Yarlung Valley, starting in Tsedang, a southern Tibetan town. The Yarlung Valley is the cradle of Tibetan civilization, and the location of the 8th-century Samye Monastery. This was Tibet’s first Buddhist monastery, and it’s built in the shape of a mandala, a Buddhist symbol of heaven and earth. Travelers will also visit Yumbu Lhakang, Tibet’s first palace, and Traduk Monastery built in 541 A.D.
From the Yarlung Valley travelers will head to the historic outpost of Gyantse, crossing two high passes and visiting Yamdrok Lake (“Jade Lake”), one of the three largest lakes in Tibet and a holy site for pilgrims.
Gyantse, a small agricultural town at 13,050 ft above sea level, is famous for its wool carpets and palkhor choide chorten. The Palkhor Monastery, built in 1427, is notable for its superb Kumbum (10,000 images) Stupa, which, according to Buddhist tradition, has 108 chapels to explore. The journey continues onward to Shigatse, Tibet’s second largest city, where travelers will visit the gold-crowned Tashilhunpo Monastery, one of Tibet’s most vibrant and breathtaking sites.
From Shigatse the journey goes to Namtso Lake, which is approximately 240km northwest of Lhasa and is 14,720 meters high. The lake is stunningly beautiful, and considered sacred to Tibetans. Visitors can visit Tashi Dhor Monastery, take short hikes, and mediate in sacred coves. Namtso is naturally suited for grazing herds and the area contains many Tibetan nomadic encampments which can be visited in order to mingle with the nomads and learn about their unique way of life.
The trip concludes back in Lhasa with time for sight-seeing and a farewell dinner. Arrangements can be made for travelers wishing to continue their Tibetan journey.
Potala Travel is a Tibetan-run travel service based in the heart of Lhasa that is committed to supporting local Tibetan businesses and fostering responsible and sustainable tourism. The team members are knowledgeable program directors, experienced English speaking tour guides and trained cooks and drivers.