Tibet Spiritual Vacations
- by Meo
- Last Updated: 2021-10-12
A trip to Tibet is a spiritual vacation. Here you can visit the sacred Potala Palace, admire the tranquil water of Namtso, appreciate the starry sky at Everest Base Camp, as well as the ancient temples and monasteries through thousands of years. From here you can see Buddist scriptures, murals, and portraits of awe-inspiring pioneers, besides fascinating natural scenery and unique folk culture. Along your trip, you can see snow-capped mountains, lakes, and grasslands, as well as cattle and sheep. Everything here can help you get rid of all fatigue and sorrow, let you experience this kind of unfettered feeling, properly escape the burden of reality, and then cheer up and set sail again.
Also, Tibetans are said to be the most religious people in the world. Every tourist back from Tibet admits that he's no longer the same person as the one before the journey. For the soul and the heart, have a spiritual vacation in the holy land will change your life definitely. It's an ideal way to explore the spirit of Tibet by visiting famous monasteries and holy sites. You will gain much knowledge about Tibetan Buddhism, culture, structure, and history.
Potala Palace, known as the "Pearl of the Roof of the World", is a splendid architecture which was built by Songtsen Gampo, the king of Tibet, to marry his queen, Princess Wencheng. You can have a view of the meditation Cave of the 33rd great king of Tibet and the precious gilded burial stupas of former Dalai Lamas. The Potala Palace itself is a museum, in which you can see many lost crafts of buildings, murals, cultural relics, as well as admire the traditional customs and the wisdom of the ancients.
Jokhang Temple, the holiest temple in Tibetan Buddhism, was built by the 33rd great king of Tibet in the 7th century. There houses a statue of Buddha Sakyamuni at the age of twelve, which was consecrated by Sakyamuni himself 2500 years before. For Tibetans, they believe that seeing this Buddha statue is equivalent to seeing the Buddha 2,500 years ago. Standing in front of the Buddha statue, it is as if you're facing Buddha himself, listening to the Buddha's enlightenment, and all distracting thoughts will vanish in an instant. Pilgrims often make prostrating in front of the temple, and you will be affected by their pure spirits.
Barkhor Street is a famous pilgrimage road around Jokhang Temple. Here you can witness pilgrims who have traveled from thousands of miles away, prostrating along this street. You can do a kora, which is also known as devotional circumambulation, with pilgrims and locals there. Barkhor Street is also a busy market around Jokhang Temple. After contenting your spiritual needs, you can also buy some traditional Tibetan handicrafts and taste some Tibetan foods.
"Drepung" in Tibetan literally means "rice gathering", which symbolizes prosperity. Drepung Monastery plays a role as the most important monastery of Gelugpa in Tibetan Buddhism and it's praised as one of the "Three Great Monasteries". Especially during Shorton Festival, there's a solemn ceremony for displaying a huge Buddha image on the hillside behind the monastery and countless devote believers come here to worship. At the same time, there will be performances such as Tibetan operas, which is one of the grandest events in Lhasa.
Sera Monastery locates at 3 kilometers in the northern outskirts of Lhasa, at the foothills of Utsé Mountain. In the past, the foothills of Utsé Mountain are full of wild roses, and the Tibetan pronunciation of wild rose is Sera, hence the name of the monastery. Sera Monastery is one of the six main monasteries of the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It's famous for Buddhist debating which is held at the Debate Courtyard every afternoon. You can watch the monks' debating, which is also a kind of spiritual purification.
Drak Yerpa is located on a hillside 30 kilometers east of Lhasa. According to legend, Dark Yerpa was built in the 7th century as a spiritual temple built by Tubo King Songtsen Gampo for his concubine Mangsa Chitsun. As Songtsen Gampo vigorously prompted Buddhism, the expanded Drak Yerpa eventually became a holy place for Buddhist practice. It is one of the four major retreats in Tibet, attracting many great eminent monks to retreat here. There are many monasteries that used to house about 300 monks, and you can see a number of ancient meditation caves.
Ganden Monastery stands about 60 kilometers east of Lhasa and is founded by Great Master Tsongkhapa in 1409. Along the road, you can have a perfect view of Kyichu River and a beautiful far view of the splendid monastery complex. This Gelug ancestor monastery stands on a mountain. When you get there through clouds and mist, it looks like a palace in the sky. The murals and sculptures in the temple are exquisite, and there are many cultural relics preserved. Besides the monastery itself, you may hike the circumambulation trails here in an hour. On the trail, every time you turn around, you will encounter different scenery, and the scenery is different in the four seasons.
170km away from Lhasa, there's another spiritual journey destination Namtso Lake. Namtso means "sky lake" in Tibetan and is listed in the top three holy lakes in Tibet. The other two are Lake Manasarovar and Lake Yamdroksto. Sitting by Namtso, overlooking the distant Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains, looking at the light and dark blue of the holy lake, you can feel this quiet and good time that belongs to you alone. In the dust, you can appreciate the sunset at Namtso, which is particularly beautiful. At night, you can see the starry sky. In the hearts of Tibetans, this is their place of the spirit. Here you also can see Tibetans swinging prayer wheels or prostrating all the way, which is also a beauty that shocks the soul.
Located 150km southwest of Lhasa, Lake Yamdroktso means "Lake of Jasper" in Tibetan. Yamdrok is crowned as the most beautiful lake in Tibet for its color. The blue water of the lake can always give people a great visual and spiritual impact. Looking at the entire Yamdrok Lake from the top of the mountain, it is like a light blue mirror, inlaid in mountains, as if all worries can be kept away. It's a good comfort for the soul.
Everest Base Camp
Everest Base Camp is a popular tourist destination in Tibet as it's the highest mountain in the world. Everyone who has witnessed the unveiled face of Mount Everest can feel the huge impact from the inner heart at that moment. When you get closer to Mt.Everest, you can find the majesty of the mountain, the elegance of clouds, and the purity of snow, as well as the blue sky, the fluttering prayer flags, the white stupa. Here you can also witness the golden summit when the first ray of sunlight shines on Mount Everest, starry sky, cloud flags, etc.
Mt.Kailash and Lake Manasarovar
As an explorer, you can extend your journey to the remote Ngari area. Mt.Kailash, at an altitude of 6,700 meters, and Lake Manasarovar, to the south of Kailash, are the holiest mountain and lake in Ngari. In Tibetans, Kailash represents the masculine sun - the father god while Manasarovar represents the mellow moon - the mother god. This sacred land is all God's favor. Kailash is recognized as the "sacred mountain" and the center of the world by Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism. Pilgrimage to Kailash is a long-standing tradition of Tibetans and Indians. In addition to doing kora around Mt.Kailash, devout Tibetans also spend a few days doing kora around Lake Manasarovar. To have a remarkable spiritual vacation at Mt. Kailash, you're recommended to have your tour in April, May, June, September or October.
This vacation is specialized for those who are seeking a spiritual experience, for a Buddhist or an independent individual who wants to explore and have a close encounter with this mysterious land. After this once-in-a-lifetime journey, you may not believe in gods, but you'll doubtlessly believe in hope.
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