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Tibet Travel Informations

Introduction of Tibet

BRIEF HISTORY

Tibetan history can be traced thousands of years back. However, the written history only dates back to the 7th century when Songtsan Gampo, the 33rd Tibetan king, sent his minister Sambhota to India to study Sanskrit who on his return invented the present Tibetan script based on Sanskrit.

Tibet's history can be divided into four period:

1. The Tsanpo's Period
This period starts from Nyatri Tsanpo, the first of the Tsanpos, in 127 B.C (historians differ in view of the date, but this date is taken from the White Annales, a reliable book on Tibetan history) and ends in 842 A.D. at the death of Lang Dharma, the last of the Tsanpos, who was assassinated by a Buddhist monk owing to Lang Dharma's ruthless persecution of Buddhism. During this period some 42 Tsanpos had ruled over Tibet among which Songtsan Gampo's rule was considered as the zenith. Songtsan Gamoi was an outstanding ruler, he unified Tibet, changed his capital to Lhasa, sent Sambhota to India to study Sanskrit and promulaged a script for the Tibetan on the latter's arrival to Tibet, married Princess Wencheng of the tang Court and Pricess Bhrikuti Debi of Nepal, built the Potala and the temple and the temple of Jokhang

2. The period of Decentrailzation
This period began in 842 A.D. the year of Lang Dharma's assassination, and ended in about 1260 A.D, when Pagpa, the Abbot of Sakya monastery, became a vassal of Kublai Khan, the first Emperor of the Yuan Dynasty. During this period a little is known in history except that Tibet became decentralized into a number of petty principalities.

3. The period of Sakya, Pagdu, and Karmapa's Rule
This period began with Sakya's rule over Tibet, followed first by Pagdu's rule in Lhaoka and then by Karmara's rule in the Tsang region (Shigatse). The sakya period was the time whten tbiet officially became an inseparable part of China.

This period lasted from 1260 A.D to 1642 A.D during which political powers centered in the three regions of Sakya, Pagdu, and tsang successively ruled over Tibet.

4. The period of the Gandan Podrang's Administration :
This period is the period in which the Dalai Lama ruled Tibet. It started in 1642 A.D. when the 5th Dalai Lama overtook the ruling power from the Tsang ruler. It basically ended in 1951 when Tibet was liberated and came to a complete end in 1959 when rebellion led by the Dalai Lama was pacified and the People's Government of the Tibet, Autonomous Region was set up.

TIBETAN RELIGION

Religion is very important to the Tibetans with everything being centered around it, along with education cultural was based on religious beliefs. Article 7 of the 17-Article Agreement signed on May 23, 1951, includes the clause " the policy of freedom of religious belief laid down in the common Program of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference shall be carried out. The religious beliefs, customs and habits of the Tibetan people shall be respected, and lama monasteries shall be protected.

Bon 
The Tibetan people are very self respected and we can easily faith on him. Generally they known as very faithful people. The oldest religion is Bon, after that the Buddhism has been spread. This religion is a blend of the Bon and the Buddhism. Bon is the ancient religion of Tibet. It is difficult to distinguish between Tibetans who follow the tradition of Bon and those who adhere to Buddhism. Both share a common heritage, as well as popular religious practice such as chanting mantras, making offerings, and spinning prayer wheels. Monks receive training in astrology, medicine, poetry, and the making of religious objects. Bon monks are often called to laypersons homes to perform rituals on holy days, when there is illness, and when someone dies.

Buddhism
Probably Buddhism was first introduced to Tibet in 173 CE during the region of the 28th Yarlung King Thothori, but had apparently no impact. The first official historic introduction of a Buddhist scripture into Tibet happened during reign of a King Hlato. Buddhism revived, with the help of King Yeshe O. A real revival occurred after 1042, when Atisha-di-Pankhara pur Tibetans "Back on the right Track". He presented the Buddhist philosophy in a very clear and condensed manner, which became the basis for philosophical teachings in most Tibetans traditions. Buddhism is still prevent in Tibet and the temples and monasteries that were destroyed are rebuilt. The Chinese government still has a strong hold on religious practices, including placing a limit on the number of religious buildings.

Lama's
They are the teachers of Buddhism. Lama's play an important role in Tibetan Buddhism. Lama teach all the monks. The Lama is the one that takes care that the system of Buddhism will continue to work. In 1578 the Lama Sonam received the title of Ta-Le (Dalai) from the Mongolian ruler Atlan khan. Because he wad the third reincarnation found in a row he became the third Dalai Lama.

FESTIVALS

Tibetan New Year (February or March)
It is the greatest festival in Tibet. In ancient times when the peach tree was in blossom, it was considered as the starting of a new year. Since the systematization of the Tibetan calendar in 1027 AD., the first day of the first month became fixed as the new year. On the New Year's day, families unite " auspicious dipper" is offered and the auspicious words " tashi delek" are greeted.

Butter Oil Lantern Festival (February or March)
It's held on the 15th of the first lunar month. Huge yak-butter sculptures are placed around Lhasa's Barkhor circuit.

Saga Dawa Festival (May or June)
It is the holiest in Tibet, there memorable occasions coincide on this day, Buddha's birth and Buddha's enlightenment. Almost every person within Lhasa join in circumambulations round the city and spend their late afternoon on picnic at " Dzongyab Lukhang" park at the foot of Potala.

Gyantse Horse Race & Archery (May or June)
Horse race and archert are generally popular in Tibet, and Gyantse enjoys prestige of being the earliest in history by starting in 1408. Contests in early times included horse race, archery, and shooting on gallop followed by a few days' entertainment or picnicing. Presently, ball games, track and field events, folk songs and dances, barter trade are in addition to the above.

Changtang Chachen Horse Race Festival (August)
There are many horse racing festivals in Tibet, the one in Nagqu of Northern Tibet is the greatest. August is the golden season on Northern Tibet's vast grassland. Herdsmen , on their horsebacks, in colorful dresses, carrying tents and local products, pour into Nagqu. Soon they form a city of tents. Various exciting programs are held, such as horse racing, yak racing, archery, horsemanship and commodity fair.

Shoton Festival (August)
It is one of the major festivals in Tibet, also known as the Tibetan Opera Festival. The founder of the Gelugpa (Yellow Sect of Buddhism), Tsongkhapa set the rule that Buddhists can cultivate themselves only indoor in summer, to avoid killing other creatures carelessly. Because creatures are most active in summer. This rule must be carried out till the seventh lunar month. Then Buddhists go outdoor, accept yoghurt served by local people, and have fun. Since the middle of 17th century, the Fifth Dalai Lama added opera performance to this festival. Famous Tibetan opera troupes perform in Norbulingka (Dalai Lama's summer palace).

Bathing Festival (September)
It is believed when the sacred planet Venus appears in the sky, the water in the river becomes purest and cures diseases. During its appearance for one week, usually the end of the seventh and beginning of the eighth lunar months, all the people in Tibet go into the river to wash away the grime of the previous year.

Kungbu Traditional Festival (November or December) 
Long long ago, when Tibet was in danger of large scale invasion, the Kongpo people sent out an army to defend their homeland. It was in September and the soldiers worried that they might miss the New Year, highland barley wine and other good things. So people had the Tibetan New Year on 1st October ahead of time. To memorize those brave soldiers Kongpo people present three sacrifices an stay up at night from then on. And now it has become the Kongpo Festival for entertainment like Kongpo dancing, horse race, archery and shooting.

Harvest Festival (September) 
The farmers in Lhasa, Gyantse and Shangnan to celebrating their bumer harvest in this time. During that time, people enjoy with horse racing games, custom fashion show, songs and dance Archery and picnic etc.

VISA & PASSPORT

Passport :
A traveler should bear with him a passport with validity remaining no less than six months. Make sure that it has plenty of blank pages for visas, entry and reentry stamps and extensions. Besides, holding other ID's like student card or driving license will be an advantage. Loosing passport in Tibet is very bad, as you have to go to Beijing to get new one.

Visa-Travel Permit :
Travelers to Tibet requires to obtain special Group Visa/Permit. The visa processing is initiated only after you book a trip with a qualified travel agency. Original passport has to be submitted along with the Visa Application Letter ( Invitation Letter) of Tibetan Tourism Authority to the Chinese Embassy in Nepal or abroad. We are eligible to process your visa/permit and can fax you the Visa Application Letter ( Invitation Letter) if you wish to apply the visa abroad. Normally, Chinese embassy of Kathmandu works on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 09 30 am to 11 am. The regular visa fee is USD 26 and you can collect the passport on the third working day. For emergency processing, there will be an extra fee.

GENERAL INFORMATION
Getting into Tibet
Our tours and treks are based on entry and exit from Kathmandu. However, you can also enter from parts of Mainland China, i.e. Beijing, Chengdu etc

Air China flies between Kathmandu and Lhasa across the mighty Himalayas. This flight offers spectacular views of Mt. Everest, Makalu and many other Himalayan giants. All our trips, which begin by flying into Lhasa, can be joined from Kathmandu, Beijing, Hong Kong, Chengdu or Bangkok (via Chengdu). In the cities above you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. You will then have he chance to see the sights before being transferred to the airport the next day for your flight to Lhasa. Additional accommodation in Kathmandu, Beijing, Hong Kong, Bangkok or Chengdu can be arranged, please ask us for more detail.

Transportation in Tibet
The roads in Tibet can at times become quite rough and impassable for many vehicles, It can at times become quite rough and impassable for many vehicles, so for this reason we use best Land cruiser 4WDs (Toyota 4500). These vehicles are extremely reliable and will make the journey as comfortable as possible. As for the trekking and climbing there will be a truck for carrying luggage and trek equipments. We'll drive for several hours, stopping along the way for photographs or places of special interest, before stopping for lunch at around midday. After lunch we continue our journey, generally arriving at our destination by 3 or 4pm.

Best Time to Visit Tibet
Despite the high altitude of the Tibetan Plateau, the daytime temperatures are actually quite mild. Between April and November the average temperature ranges form 15-25 degrees Celsius and the skies are generally clear and blue. From July to August though there can be the odd shower during the day. The nights, however, can be very cold and temperatures can drop below 0 degrees Celsius. During the day a light shirt or jumper and lightweight pants will be suitable, but a warm fleece or down jacket is recommended for the evenings.

Clothing & Equipment

  • Down jacket or warm fleece top
  • Thermal underwear (top and bottom)
  • Cotton shirts (short and long sleeved)
  • Warm and cotton trousers
  • Sun polarized sunglasses
  • Beanie or warm woollen hat and gloves
  • Scarf (to keep out dust as well as cold)
  • Sandals (flip-flops)
  • Towel
  • Sleeping bag (for camping/trekking)
  • Rain jacket
  • Strong sun cream and lip protector
  • Moisturizer
  • Water bottle
  • Camera (and plenty of film and spare batteries)

Guide & Accommodation
Throughout your time in Tibet you will be accompanied by a knowledgeable Tibetan guide who will not only act as an interpreter but will also provide a valuable insight into the Tibetan way of life.

In Lhasa, accommodation will be at Dhood Gu or similar standard hotel. It is renowned for its hospitality and warm Tibetan atmosphere and is perfectly situated in the centre of town just a few minutes walk from the Jokhang Temple and Barkor. Elsewhere along the route, accommodation will be in the best available hotels. Meals will either be in the hotel or at a restaurant of your choice (where available). Whilst on the road, lunch will be at one of the many Chinese tea shops along the way which generally serve a variety of noodle and vegetable dishes and meat where available.

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