Tour Code: LHASA-040301
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Located at the foot of Tatipu Hill in the northern suburb of Lhasa City, Sera Monastery is one of three famous monasteries in the city along with the Drepung Monastery and the Ganden Monastery (Three Great Monasteries). It is dedicated to the Gelugpa or Yellow Hat Sect, a branch of Tibetan Buddhism, founded by Tsong Khapa. Jamchen Chojey, one of Tsong Khapa's disciples built it in 1419 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The monastery was named Sera which means wild rose in the Tibetan language, because the hill behind it had been covered with wild roses in bloom when it was built.
The monastery is magnificent and covers an area of 114,946 square meters (28 acres). Its main buildings are the Coqen Hall, Zhacang (college) and Kamcun (dormitory). Scriptures written in gold powder, fine statues, scent cloth and unparalleled murals can be found in these halls. Colorful debates on Buddhist doctrines are held here and these employ a style distinctive from those at Lhasa's other famous monasteries.
Situated at the foot of the Mountain Gambo Utse, 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) from the western suburb of Lhasa, the Drepung Monastery is known as the most important monastery of Gelugpa in Tibetan Buddhism. It is considered one of the 'Three Great Monasteries' (the other two are the Ganden Monastery and the Sera Monastery. Covering an area of 250,000 square meters , it held 7,700 monks in total and possessed 141 fazendas and 540 pastures in its heyday, and is the largest-scale monastery among the ones of the same kind. Seen from afar, its grand, white construction gives the appearance of a heap of rice. As such, it was given the name 'Drepung‘, which, in the Tibetan language, means 'Collecting Rice.
The Drepung Monastery was established in 1416 by Tsong Khapa's disciple Jamyang Qoigyi, who was versed in both Esoteric and Exotoric Buddhism and became the first Kampo there. With the support of plutocrats, it developed as the richest of its kind of Gelugpa and became the mother temple of Dalai Lamas. In 1546, the third Dalai was welcomed as the first Living Buddha into it. At the invitation of Mongolia's king, he went to Qinghai Province to preach. He was dignified with the title 'the third Dalai Lama' the first and second Dalai were entitled, too. It is the very place that the second, third, and the fourth Dalai Lama held the Sitting-in-Bed Ceremony, as well as the residence of the fifth Dalai before his nomination by the government of the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911).
The ground of the monastery is organized on the caves and temples for Jamyang Qoigyi, together with two magnificent white pagodas. The buildings here then are centered on these pagodas, The major buildings are Ganden Potrang, Coqen Hall, the four Zhacangs (or Tantric colleges), and Kamcuns.
Included on UNESCO's World Heritage list in 2000 as part of the Potala Palace , the Jokhang Temple is located in the center of Lhasa. With an area of 25,100 square meters (about six acres), it is the ultimate pilgrimage destination for Tibetan Pilgrims.
In China’s ancient history, the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907), was characterized by economic prosperity and great progress in politics. During this time, China was considered the cultural and political center of the world. King Songtsem Gampo (617 – 650, the 33rd king of Tibet) was the leader of the Tubo (or Tibetan) Kingdom. He actively promoted Buddhism in that region and under his reign, Tibet achieved great progress in social innovation and realized the integration for the first time. In order to promote friendly relationships with the neighboring countries, he successively married Princess Bhrikuti of Nepal and Princess Wen Cheng of the Tang Dynasty. When the two wives arrived there, each brought a statue of Jowo Sakyamuni. During this time, most people lived in tents and there were few palaces. To house the Buddha brought by Princess Wen Cheng, King Songtsem Gampo constructed the Little Jokhang. Jealous of her, Princess Burikuti asked Gampo to build a Jokhang for her as well. Therefore, in 647 the giant complex was built.
The original complex included only eight shrines. After multiple renovations, most notably during the Yuan Dynasty (1206 - 1368), the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) and the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the complex grew to the scale that exists today.
The Jokhang Temple was built on the former site of a lake. According to the legend, the lake site was chosen after many failed attempts to build a temple in the region. Prior to this, every time a monastery was built, it would collapse. Confused by this phenomenon, Princess Bhrikuti turned to Wen Cheng for help. Being a learned woman, Wen Cheng told the Princess that the geography of Tibet was very much like a hag, with the lake at the heart. In order to build the monastery, Wen Cheng advised they must demolish the hag by filling and leveling the lake using 1,000 goats to carry soil from a mountain far away. When the construction work was done, it was called Ra-Sa-Vphrul-Snang ('ra' meaning goat and 'sa' meaning earth in Tibetan) to commemorate those goats.
Whether the legend is true or not, this temple brought Buddhism into this land and became an inseparable part of Tibetan history and culture. The city of Ra-Sa grew around the temple and over time, become known as Lhasa, a holy land.
Barkor Market Street
Located in the old area of Lhasa City, Tibet, Barkhor Street is a very ancient round street surrounding the Jokhang Temple and the locals are always proud of it. As a symbol of Lhasa, it is also a must-see place for visitors.
It's said that in 647, the first Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo (617 - 650) built the Jokhang Temple. Due to its magnificence, it quickly attracted thousands of Buddhist pilgrims. As a result, a trodden path appeared. That is the origin of Barkhor Street. Today even still many pilgrims hold the prayer wheels to walk clockwise there from dawn to dark. Also you can see some pilgrims walking or progressing body-lengths by body-lengths along the street. Even some of them are teenagers or have experienced thousands of miles' walk to reach this sacred place. The way they express their piety could make you understand the holiness of religion.
For visitors, Barkhor Street is a magical place showing the original outlook of Lhasa. It was paved by hand-polished stone boards. Though it is not broad, it accommodates thousands of tourists every day. Varied shops stand on its both sides and thousands of floating stands are on every corner. Most of them offer the prayer wheels, long-sleeve 'chuba' (the Tibetan people's traditional clothes), Tibetan knives and some religious articles for sale. Furthermore, some shops sell 'Thangka' (the Tibetan scroll painting), which is a unique art of Tibet with the themes of religion, history, literature, science and customs. Surprisingly, there are some articles from India and Nepal in this street as well.
To sum up, Barkhor Street is a place full of religious atmosphere and a world of exotic articles. If you have been attracted by it, you should go there. Believe your eyes, and you will get a lot of surprise there.
1. You should walk in a clockwise direction along the street.
2. It is better not stay too late there. Because there are many lanes there, it's easy to lose your way in the evening.
3. Different vendors may sell the same thing at different price. So you'd better ask several vendors and get more information of the articles. Of course, you should also know how to bargain with them.
4. According to the tradition of Tibet, the vendor will give a favorable price to the first customer and the last one in a day.
Situated on the Red Hill of central Lhasa, Potala Palace is the highest ancient palace in the world, reaching 3,767.19m (12,359.55ft) at the topmost point.
Potala, named after a holy hill in South India, is a Sanskrit word meaning "Abode of the Avalokitesvara (Boddhisattva of Mercy)." Legend has it that in the 7th century, to greet his bride Princess Wen Cheng of the Tang Dynasty (618B.C. - 907B.C.) of China, then the Tibet King Songtsen Gampo built a 9-storey palace with a thousand rooms up on the Red Hill and named it Potala. Later, with the collapse of the Songtsen Gampo Dynasty, the ancient palace was almost destroyed in wars. What we see at present is the architecture of the Qing Dynasty (1644B.C. - 1911B.C.) and the continuous expanding work outcome since the 17th century.
Potala Palace is composed of 2 parts, the Red Palace as the center and the White Palace as two wings.
The Red Palace or Potrang Marpo is the highest part in the center that is completely devoted to religious study and Buddhist prayer. It was painted to red to represent stateliness and power. It consists of a complicated layout of different halls, chapels and libraries on many levels with an array of smaller galleries and winding passages: The Great West Hall, Dharma Cave, The Saint's Chapel, The Tomb of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama and etc. The 725 sq meters (about 7,804 sq ft) Great West Hall is the largest hall of Potala Palace, with beautiful murals painted on its inner walls. The Dharma Cave and the Saint's Chapel are the only two remained constructions of the 7th century with the statues of Songtsen Gampo, Princess Wen Cheng, and Princess Bhrikuti inside.
Potala Palace has other annexes including the School of Buddhist Logic, the seminary, the printing House, gardens, courtyards and even the jail. For more than 300 years, It has treasured many culture relics such as murals, stupas, statues, thangkas, and rare sutras.
Travel Tips of Potala Palace:
1. The travel route here is set strictly. Visitors all have to enter from the east main entrance.
2. The visit time is limited in 1 hour.
3. Note that expect the toilet at the right side of the White Palace Square, there is no rest room during the route of the rest time. The water closet at the back gate of the White Palace is said to be distinctive and worth a try.
4. Watch your steps due to the high altitude. Bring along an overcoat as it is a bit cold and damp in the hall.
Notice at Potala Palace:
1. Any kind of liquid is not allowed there, including beverages and mineral water, which yet can be purchase at a cost of CNY10 for one bottle at the hill top.
2. Oxygen Bag is prohibited.
3. Be aware of the taboos of Tibetan Buddhism during the visit. Don't wear a hat or sunglasses; don't step on the door sill; don't smoke in the halls; don't take photos inside the palace although it is allowed outside.
Ticket Purchase Procedure of Potala Palace in High Season
During the high season (May 1 to October 31), all visitors are required to apply for free reservation tickets with their valid identity documents, such as ID cards and passports one day in advance before they visit the palace. Each valid ID document can be used only once within a week. However, one visitor can have as many as four reservation tickets (one for himself and the other three for his companions) at a time. The reservation ticket window is open at 08:30 and closed after all tickets are sent out.
Those visitors who have reservation tickets should make their tickets extended or canceled if they can’t visit the place for personal reasons. Otherwise, they will be forbidden to apply again within a week because their names are added to the blacklist.
The visiting date and exact time, number of visitors and ID document numbers are printed on the reservation tickets. Visitors have to visit the palace at the given date and time. They should go to the main gate to have their reservation tickets and ID documents checked and walk to the ticket office in front of the White Palace to buy the entrance tickets. Then they can start their tour after another security check.
Special notice: Visitors should queue up for applying for the reservation tickets as early as they can. The tickets are sent out quickly because there are too many visitors.
D1 :Arrive in Lhasa
D2 : Visit Sera monastery and Drepung monastery
D3 : Visit Jokhang temple, Barkor market street, Potala palace
D4 : See off.
Trip Name: Lhasa city 4-day;
Trip Code: LHASA-040301;
Trip Length: 4 days.
1. Tibet Entry Permit;
2. Aliens’ Travel Permit;
3. Vehicle transportation;
4. Tour guide service;
5. Travel insurance;
6. Entrance tickets;
7. Accommodation in Lhasa.
1. All the meals;
2. Entrance ticket of Potala Palace.
1. We will need the scanned file (clear and recognizable) of the passport (personal information page and visa page) of EACH guest for applying the Tibet entry permit.
2. It will take approximately 15 working days to apply the permit.
3. Please buy the train tickets or flight tickets going to Lhasa by yourself.
4. If you go to Lhasa by train, you will need the copy or printed file of the Permit. But if you go by plane, you will need the original file of the Permit.