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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 Ms. Nico Yip from: 8 Days Tibet Mt. Everest Base Camp Group Tour
Hi, we are 2 adults planning a Tibet trip. We plan to take the train from Chengdu into Lhasa, for a 8-9 days Tibet tour, and flight out from Lhasa to Chengdu. Timing will be in mid-June. Would you be able to arrange the Chengdu-train-Lhasa and Lhasa-flight-Chengdu for us and advice the price?
Thanks!
Brgds/Nico
Answered by Helen

Dear Ms. Nico Yip,

Thanks very much for your inquiry. We exactly have one departure date on 15th June for the 8-day Tibet Mt.Everest tour, and you are quite welcome to join us! Taking train from Chengdu to Lhasa will cost you about 36 hours (2 nights) on the train, and we are happy to help you book the train tickets. Please kindly note that the direct train tickets from Chengdu to Lhasa is not a daily train, and there is no direct train on odd date on June, I was wondering whether you mind taking connection train with a stop at Xining, you can walk out and have a good lunch there. About the flight ticket Lhasa to Chengdu, there are some discount tickets in June, eg: China Eastern Airline MU5474, Sichuan Airline 3U8698. You can look it on the airline official website. Have a good day.

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

user portrait Ms. Alice from: 6 Days Exploration of Legendary Ancient Cities
HI all,

I am interested in this tour. I would like to know before:

1) DO I need to pay extra if I would like to have 1 bedroom for myself? If yes how much?

2)I have been to around 3200m before and I had altitude sickness. Should I come 2 days before in Lhasa to get acclimatized?

3)If I registered now, would you be able to help for the Tibet permit for me? I have French passport.

Thanks and regards,

Alice
Answered by Helen

Dear Alice,

Greetings from Helen at Budget Tibet Tour, and welcome you to join our tour! For your questions: Firstly, our tour price is based on two persons in one room, if you would like to have 1 bedroom for yourself, there is extra single room supplement fee. And the single room supplement fee is different in each month. Secondly, Please feel free worry about the high altitude sickness, keep calm and don't be excited, which is no big problem. If you are afraid of the altitude sickness, you can arrive in Lhasa one day in advance to get acclimatized. Lastly, The Tibet Permit is included in our tour price, we only require your passport and Chinese visa (clear scan or photo copy) to apply for the permit. 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 Mr. Benedikt Wyss from: 8 Days Tibet Mt. Everest Base Camp Group Tour
Dear Budget Tibet Tour Team

I'm planning to make a journey in August in China. I want to combine that with your everest Base Camp Tour. Now i have some questions:
How is that with the Permissions, did i get it right that I have only to look for the chinese Visa and you will look for the Tibet Permit?
And if so how have i to proceed, shall i first look for the Chinese Visa or does it make more sense to look for all the permissions at the same time.
Another Question is about the price. Is the price for august your suggesting  fix or is it dependent on how big the group is. Because I dont want to reserve already now  if that means that I have to pay at the end more than I thought.
And my last question concerns the high altitude, whats your experience about that. Are there many tourists struggling with it or is it more or less harmless. (I am from Switzerland so not completely unused to high altitudes).

Thank you for your efforts

Benedikt Wyss
Answered by Nancy

Dear Mr. Benedikt Wyss,

Greetings from Nancy at BTT. We have 8 Days Lhasa to Mt. Everest then back to Lhasa group tour on 1st, 5th, 8th, 12th, 15th, 19th and 22nd, 29th Aug. and all dates are available for you. And also the price is fixed, and we will not charge extra no matter how many people in the end. And the group size is 2 to 13 people, so the maximum is 13, please worry free in Aug. all the groups are running on time as it is easy for us to collect enough people. You need to apply China visa in your place firstly, then we will use your passport and China visa to apply Tibet Travel Permit, so for you to travel to Tibet, you just need your passport, China visa and the permit we will provide to you, three of these. 98% of our clients were ok in Tibet after resting 2 or 3days in Lhasa before head to higher places. And also bring some anti-altitude in Lhasa to Everest will help you a lot, and I have clients who were more than 80 years even visited Everest without problem. So you can worry free about it, it is not struggling or that terrible if you relax yourself there.

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

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