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History

According to ancient mythology the Yarlung valley - not Lhasa - is the homeland of the Tibetan people. The first Tibetan king stepped off a heavenly ladder onto earth not in Lhasa, but here. The Yarlung valley was also the kingly seat of the first Tibetan kings as well as their burial site. This being the case, why is Tibet's capital at Lhasa rather than in the Yarlung valley?

As with many aspects of Tibet's culture, the answer lies in her religious life. For Tibet's original Buddhist temple, dating from the seventh century was Lhasa's Jokhang Temple, still found today pulsating at the heart of the Old Quarter. This institution, contemporaneous with the first Potala Palace, heralds Buddhism's first insemination and dissemination in a flourishing Tibetan empire stretching from western China to Nepal, Bhutan and northern India. Though its political fortunes would wax and wane, Lhasa - "the place of the Gods" - would forever thus be associated with the birth of Tibetan Buddhism. It is this birthright that would maintain Lhasa's prominence through subsequent centuries of bitter regional and religious conflict.

So it was that in the fifteenth century the ascendant Gelug monastic sect, leading a puritanical Buddhist revival in Tibet, established its three stronghold monasteries, Ganden , Drepung & Sera , in the vicinity of Lhasa. The scholarly achievements and political savvy of this sect eventually pushed Lhasa once more to center stage. Two centuries later, under the leadership of the new paramount leader of Tibet, the Great Fifth Dalai Lama, Lhasa was instituted the religious and political capital of Tibet. In 1645 the Potala Palace was re-constructed on Red Hill and the Jokhang Temple greatly expanded. Although some wooden carvings and door lintels of the Jokhang Temple date to the seventh century, the oldest of Lhasa's extant buildings, such as amidst the Potala Palace, the Jokhang and some of the monasteries and properties in the Old Quarter date to this second flowering in Lhasa's history.

The Potala Palace, uniting the political and religious roles of the Dalai Lama, neatly symbolizes the symbiotic relationship of Lhasa's religious and secular roles. This inter-dependent mapping is also seen in the routes of the city's kora or pilgrimage routes. The innermost pilgrimage route or Nangkhor is a circuit along the inside perimeter of the Jokhang Temple. The Barkhor , the best known, follows the circumference of the Jokhang Temple past other monasteries, temples and incense burners of the Old Quarter. And the last, the Lingkhor , circumambulates the city's former outer limits.

Although the Yarlung valley is indeed the mythological and historical root of the Tibetan nation, the primacy of Buddhism within the fabric of Tibetan culture has ensured that Lhasa supersedes it as the spiritual and political capital of Tibet.

Other Travelers' Questions

The questions raised by our past customers can help you get a more clear picture about tours to Tibet, read them or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side, our specialists will reply you within 24 hours.

user portrait Mr. Anthony Chan from: 7 Days Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour via Everest Base Camp
Hello,

We are interested in the 7 day Lhasa to Kathmandu Group tour on Sep 22 2018 for 2 people we are interested in upgrading our hotels to 5 star in Lhasa and 4-5 stars in Shigatse if possible. I am also interested in renting a sleeping bag when near the EBC. We will also be on a train arriving from Xining. I am interested in a price quote and also how would we join to tour each day if we are sleeping away from the group. Thanks.

Cheers,
Anthony Chan
Answered by Helen

Dear Mr. Anthony Chan,

Greetings from Helen at Budget Tibet Tour and welcome you to join our 7-day Lhasa to Kathmandu group tour on 22nd of Sep. And we are glad to help you update your hotels in Lhasa and Shigatse. Although you won’t stay in the same hotel with our group members, our guide will pick you up from your hotel every morning. For the sleeping bag, you can rent one at Shigatse, after tour, our guide will take it back to Shigatse. Moreover, taking train from Xining to Lhasa will cost you about 21 hours (1 night) on the train, and we are happy to help you book train tickets. Please check your email and find more details. Best regards.

Email to Helen about any question or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side

user portrait Ms. cristina cardoso from: 10 Days Tibet Mt. Everest Base Camp plus Namtso Lake Group Tour
Gostava de visitar o Tibete, não só Lhasa e os mosteiros principais e outras cidades, mas também apreciar a beleza natural, como o Lago do Céu. Que excursão é que me sugere que abrange estas duas vertentes?
Vou sozinha e gostava de me juntar a outro grupo.
Chego de avião de Pequim e pretendo também sair por Lhasa de avião.
Estou a pensar chegar dia 22 ou 23 de julho.
Fico a aguardar uma resposta.
Obrigado
Answered by Helen

Dear Ms. cristina Cardoso,

Thanks very much for your inquiry. We currently have one departure date on 22nd July for the 10-day group tour, you are quite welcome to join us! Joining this 10-day tour, you can enjoy the major cities, monasteries and scenic spots in Tibet, which would be a wonderful journey. And flying from Beijing to Lhasa is a better choice, which will cost you about four and half hour. Have a nice day.

Email to Helen about any question or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side

user portrait Ms. Thanh Trinh from: Travel from Gyirong Port to Kathmandu
Hi there,
My group have 6 people want to go to Lhasa via Kathmandu by both flight and drive on July or August. We do want to do any tour in Kathmandu, Nepal. KTM is just a connecting place for us to apply Tibetan visa and permit. Based on that, how long would we should plan for this trip? Because I still have no idea how long for the drive from KTM to Lhasa.
Hope to hear back from you guys soon.
Thank you and best regards.
Answered by Helen

Dear Ms. Thanh Trinh,

Entering Tibet from Nepal, you need to apply for the Chinese group visa in Kathmandu. Firstly, we will apply for the visa invitation letter for you; Next we will send the visa invitation letter to you and our partner in Kathmandu; When you arrive in Kathmandu, you need to meet with our partner and give him your original passport, then he will assist you to apply for the Chinese group visa. Group visa application needs 3 or 4 working days, during that time, you can travel other places in Nepal with your passport copy.

The distance from Kathmandu to Gyirong Port is about 170km and it takes approximately 8-9 hours by car due to not good road condition. Please check your email and find more details. Have a nice day.

Email to Helen about any question or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side

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7 Days Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour via Everest Base Camp