This is an evergreen favourite among Tibetan trekkers, largely because it links two of the most important monasteries in Tibet, both of which have enormous cultural and religious significance.
Ganden Monastery, 45 km east of Lhasa, was built on a ridge called Gokpo Ri, the site being chosen by Tsong Khapa during a special period of meditation.
The foremost monastery of the Gelugpa sect, Ganden was begun in 1409 and denotes the Paradise of Tushita and the abode of Jampa, the future Buddha. Today it offers a pilgrimage route around the perimeter which is widely regarded as the most spectacular of Tibet’s monastery circuits.
Although Ganden was the most devastated of the so-called ‘Great Six’ monasteries after the revolution, heroic rebuilding efforts have been made during the last twenty years.
Our trek connects Ganden with the other most important monastery in central Tibet: Samye. We follow a route crossing the Yatro Dak range of mountains, which divides the Tsangpo basin from the Lhasa valley and takes you through areas of superbly unspoiled countryside.
Samye, founded in the eighth century, is Tibet’s first monastery and its establishment coincides with the formal inauguration of Buddhism as the Tibetan state religion.
The Samye site has a unique mandala-shaped design, with many temples and chortens (stupas) surrounding the large central Cathedral of Utse. The pattern formed by the buildings is a replica of the Buddhist cosmological order and Samye has played a pivotal role in the overall development of Buddhism in Tibet.
Although the Chinese Communist party declared Samye a protected cultural site in the early 1960s, this did not deter the Red Guards from wreaking havoc at the monastery and causing a great deal of pillaging and destruction. Samye still suffered less damage than some of the other Tibetan religious centres.
Day 01: Upon your arrival in Kathmandu we meet you at the airport and transport you to your HOTEL to brief you about your tour.
Day 02: Guided sightseeing tour of Kathmandu
Day 03: Early morning flight Kathmandu to Lhasa. Our guide meets you at the airport and transfer you to Lhasa
Day 04: Lhasa sightseeing tour including Potala Palace, Jokhang temple and Barkhor Square
Day 05: Lhasa sightseeing tour including Norbulunkha Palace, Drepung & Sera monasteries
Day 06: Jeep tour: Lhasa to Ganden then start trekking to Hepu village; overnight camping
Day 07: Trekking. Hepu village to Yama Do; overnight camping
Day 08: Trekking. Yama Do to Tshotup Chu valley; overnight camping
Day 09: Trekking. Tshotup Chu to Herders Camp; overnight camping
Day 10: Trekking – Herders Camp to Wango
Day 11: Trekking – Wango to Samye Monastery valley; overnight at guest house
Day 12: Tour of Samye then jeep tour to Tsedang; overnight at HOTEL or guest house
Day 13: Tsedang tour: visit Yambulakhang, Thandrek and The Tombs of Tibetan Kings
Day 14: Fly out, Lhasa – Kathmandu
Day 15: Free time
Day 16: Transfer airport – flight to onward destination