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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.

Travelers' Questions Might Help

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. Gi*** from: Lhasa to Nepal Friendship Highway Tour

Good Morning

Would  it possible for you organize a trip beginning from Xining, reaching Lhasa with the train, after go on with your Lhasa to Nepal Friendship Highway Tour, 8 days long, ending in Katmandu?

We are 6 people and if it's possible we should  like to have an Italian Speaking guide in Tibet.

Range of Hotels is 3 stars.

The trip has to begin from Xining on day 22nd of April.

May you quote this trip?

Many Thanks

Gi***

Answered by Helen

Dear Ms. Gi***,

Thank you very much for your enquiry. Taking train from Xining to Lhasa will cost you about 21 hours (one night) on the train, and we are happy to help you book train tickets. And we are glad to help you arrange Lhasa to Kathmandu overland tour. Please kindly note that there is only one Italian speaking guide in Tibet, if you prefer Italian speaking guide, please book tour with us in advance, so that we will have enough time to book guide for you. I will send detailed itinerary and quotation to you by email, please check it for more details. Thanks & Regards

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

user portrait Ms. Li*** from: 6 Days Exploration of Legendary Ancient Cities

Hello, I am considering booking this trip late October. Can you advise on the price of the Single supplement please? Thank you, Liliane

Answered by Nancy

Dear Ms. Li***,

Greetings from Nancy at Budget Tibet Tour, thanks for visiting our website and sending your inquiry. You are welcome to join in the tour in late Oct. And we have 6days Lhasa to Shigaste group tour open on n21st, 24th and 28th Oct at this moment, and you can decide to join in any date. No problem that if you would like to have 1 room on your own, and the single supplement is 640RMB for the whole tour. Or if you do not mind to share room with someone, we will try our best to find a roommate for you. I will send the tour details and quotes to your email, please check it there. Best regards. 

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

user portrait Mr. to*** from: Nepal to Tibet overland tour via Everest Base Camp

Hi , I am a travel agent in India, and we plan visiting Lhasa and EBC through Kathmandu, overland in May.Please send us Your best rates for a group of 10 members

Answered by Helen

Dear Mr. To***, 

Thanks very much for your enquiry, and welcome you to join our tour. We are glad to help you arrange Kathmandu to Lhasa via EBC overland tour in May, I will send detailed itinerary and quotation to you by email, please check it for more details. Warm regards.

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