- Day 01: Chengdu (500m) Hotel
Arrive in Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province. met and taken to your hotel. Time allows we will stroll around Renmin Park and sample the tea at one of tea houses.
- Day 02: Chengdu to Luding (2000m, 271 KM) Hotel
We will leave for Luding and will take between five to six hours drive. Visit the nature reserve center of the Giant Pandas at Bifeng Valley. Overnight at Luding Qiao Hotel.
- Day 03: Luding to Lhagang( Tagong ) (3730m, 160Km) Hotel
Driving through the gorge until you reach Kangding. After Kangding, you will be crossing the small pass and then reaching the eastern Tibet farmer’s area where you can see beautiful Tibetan traditional houses. The farmers grow barley which is one of the main grains in Tibet where you can get Tsampa which is a grinded roast barley. They also grow potatoes, vegetable, radish. They also rea some cattle. After around 4 hrs drive, reaching Lhagang town and afternoon visit Lhagang monastery.
Lhagang monastery which is one of the 108 small temples, built by Tibetan King SongtsenGampo in order to press down the branches of the Supine Ogress. The monastery has over 1300 years history and the most sacred statue of the monastery is JowoShakyamuni which dates back to the 7th century. As per the history, the JowoShakyamuni was built in Lhagang according to 8 years Jowo after the image of JowoShakyamuni magically spoked when it arrived in Lhagang saying that she did not want to move from there but as per the King SongtsenGampo’s strong wishes to bring the statue to Lhasa, they built the present statue of the Jowo in Lhasa for the stead of the onwwhich is in Jokang today. The monastery was originaly a Kagyupa sect and then in around 12th cnetury, the monastery was gradually transformed into Sakyapa sect. I thas over 30 monks noadays. We went to visit some nomad camps from Lhagang to the sought west and there is a big Bhuddist community after around 15Km from Lhagang where all the locals, monks and nuns gather to make thousand offering of flowers, water etc
- Day 04: Lhagang to Litang, 3100Mts 220Km hotel
Driving through the mountain pass and seeing beautiful nomad camp. Reaching Litangcounty. Litang Town (the seat of the county) itself is located at an altitude of 4,014 metres. It is on open grassland and surrounded by snow-capped mountains and is about 400 meters higher than Lhasa, making it one of the highest towns in the world.
Lithang was part of Kham, Tibet, and several famous Buddhist figures were born here, including the 7th Dalai Lama, the 10th Dalai Lama, the 11th Tai Situpa, four of the Pabalas, as well as the 5th Jamyang Zhépa of Labrang Monastery. Düsum Khyenpa, 1st Karmapa Lama.
Visit GandenThubchenChoekhorling Monastery (LithangGompa, Litangsi). The monastery is just on the northern edge of town and belongs to the Gelukpa sect of Tibetan Buddhists. The monastery was founded in 1580 by the third Dalai Lama SonamGyatso on the site of an older Bön-monastery. There are three main temples in the compound, of which one is currently under construction. The oldest seems to be the one on top of the hill, still featuring the wooden construction of the upper rim of the buildings. Inside, you can view several chambers and a bedroom in which the 7th Dalai Lama is said to have resided. Many more famous and influential personal figures were born here, including the 7th Dalai Lama, 10th Dalai Lama, the most influential Zebutsundaba Lama of Mogonia, the 7th Gyamuyang Lama, the 7th, 8th and 9th Pabalha living Buddha of Chamdo monastery and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Xianggen living buddha.
- Day 05: Litang to Pelyul( 3150m, 278Km ) Hotel
Driving through the G318 highway before reaching Batang county and then take shortcut road to Pelyul. Today’s drive will take you around eight hrs and will see the beautiful nomad camp and Tibetan farmers villages.
- Day 06: Palyul to Derge( 3292M, 180Km ) Hotel
Morning visit Palyul monastery. PalyulNamgyelJangchubling is one of the six mother monasteries of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. It was founded in 1665 by RigdzenKunzang Sherab in Derge, on the eastern edge of Tibet, a town in today's Baiyü County, Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in China's Sichuan province. The monastery is the seat of the Nam ChoTerma of TertonMigyur Dorje. Penor Rinpochewas the 11th throne holder of the Palyul lineage. Upon his death in March, 2009, Karma Kuchen Rinpoche became the 12th throne holder.
Afternoon, driving to Derge along the Yangtseriver. We will pass by some beautiful Tibetan villages on the way.
Derge is often regarded the heart of Kham Tibet. It lies on the bank of Sugchu River, a tributary of Yantze River. It is administratively belong the theGanzi prefecture of Sichuan Province. The town of Dege located next to DegeGomchen and Parkhang(Dege Printer house) in the Sugchu valley. It takes about 10 minutes walk from town to the DegeGomchen Monastery. There are more than 50 monasteries in Dege County. Among which most are Sakyapa Monasteries but Nyinmapa, Gelupa and Kagyupa as well as Bon monasteries are also established in the county. The Dege area had been an independent kingdom until 19 century. Among all the Dege Kings TenpaTsering(1678-1738) is famous for his contribution to Buddhism and culture preservation.
- Day 07: Derge-YilhunLhatso-Mani Gangko-Kardze(3200m, 205Km ). Hotel
Morning visit DergeGonchen and DegeParkang or Derge printing house.
DegeGomchen, it was founded in 1448, the monastery originally built as a Sakyapa Monastery, therefore, it has kept strong ties with Sakyapa and the center of NgorGompa. However, the monastery introduced different traditions. It was destroyed during the cultural revolution but it has been reconstructed and now houses more than 300 monks. DegeGomchen is not only name of the monastery but it is also the seat of Dege Kings.
DergeParkhang/ Derge Printing House, In the 18th century, the king TenpaTsering brought Dege to the peak of it’s power by conquering the outlying northern districts of Dzachuka. Under his instructions and assistant from local tribes, DegeParkhang is founded in 1729, and the construction completed in 1750 during the reigns of his successors. The famous Sakya Pa scholar ZhuchenTsultrimRinchen edited Gargyur and Tangyur. The Tibetan book of Gargyur and Tangyur are knowns as the most accurate and completed Tibetan Buddhism scripture. There are total of 217000 wooden printing blocks housed in the this printing house and the works of this print house has been used all cross Tibet Plateau. Today, DegeParkhang printing house is still functioning as it was a century years ago, all the works are done by manual. It became the biggest printing house in Tibet. The printing house produces traditional mathematic, science, Tibetan medicine books and scriptures and books from Nyingmapa, Gelukpa, Kagyupa and Sakyapa as well as Bon religion.
After visiting Derge, drive across Trolapasss, and then down the valley and reach YilhunLhatso. Visit YilhunLhatso and continue your journey toKardze for another 3hrs drive via Mani Gangko.
- Day 08: Excursion to Yachen Gar or monastery (130Km, 2hrs drive) and back to kardze. Same hotel
Yarchen Garor monastery officially known as the YaqênOrgyän Temple is located in Baiyü CountyGarzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture , in Sichuan province, China. It lies in an isolated valley 4000m above sea level. The monastery is associated with the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism . With more than 10,000 Sangha members now, it's the largest concentration of nuns and monks in the world. Most of the Sanghas are nuns.
- Day 09: Kardze-Serta county (3650m,160Km) hotel
After breakfast,you will visit Kardze monastery which is just a five minutes drive from the hotel. There is a very beautiful neighborhood below the monastery where they have beautiful Tibetan Kham styled houses.
The monastery was originally built in the 17th century during the time of the 5th Dalai Lama but the present size was rebuilt. The monastery has 450 monks today. The main assembly hall of the monastery is dedicated to the statues of BhuddhaShakyamuni and statues of Tsongka and his two main desciples, Kedrup je and Gyeltsop Je in the centre, 6 ornaments and two suprems are to the both sides. The wall painting of the monastery is beautiful. There is a chaple next to the main assembly hall which is dedicated to the Lamrim Lama Tsokshing or the Lamrim Lama tree. It is the biggest Lamrim tree or Lamrim refugee tree which I have ever seen.
After that, we went to the second floor of the assembly hall and there is a very beautiful small chaple of Amitayus and the monk in the chapel gives you initiation of Amitayus for your longevity.
The next is the chaple of protector deities which are dedicated to the statues of PaldenLhamo, GyelpoKunga etc. The monks do protector deities prayer every day and they are doing very deep ritual protector deities prayer. The next one is the chaple of Demchok, Jigje, SangwaDhupa etc.
The third floor is the chaple of JowoShakyamuni and mandala of Kalachakara. Next to the Lamrim Lama tree, there is a chaple of MaitreyaBhuddha but we could not visit that chaple of because of the time.
After visiting the monastery, we will walk down till the bridge and enjoy our walk through the old neighborhood.
We drove down to Den Gonpo which belongs to Kardze monastery and it is located in the town centre. The main temple is dedicated to the statue of GurgyeGonpo and they also have beautiful wall paintings.
From Kardze to Serta county, there are around 160Km and we will be driving throuhg the main road to Drango around 25Km until we reach the top of the pass. From the pass, we will turn left and take the short cut to Serta county.
The road condition is ok and we will be driving through some passes, some beautiful villages and nomad camps and finally reaching Serta county. On the way, you will also see some beautiful monasteries but most of them are new.
- Day 10: Serthar-Larung Gar or Serthar monastery and back to the Serta county (40Km ) Hotel
After breakfast, start your journey toward Larung Gar through the main road to Sichuan. After around 20Km, you will turn left for Larung Gar.
Larung Gar or Serthar monastery, the Larung Valley is a town in Sêrtar County of Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, in Tibet. The Larung Five Sciences Buddhist Academy is a Buddhist academy located in the Larung Gar.
The population of over 10,000 comprises primarily monks and nuns making it possibly the largest religious institute in the world, and is based around the Serthar Institute founded by Jigme Phuntsok in 1980 in the uninhabited valley by Jigme Phuntsok, a lama of the Nyingma tradition.
The academy has grown substantially since: as of 2015, it is home to over 40,000 monks and nuns. Nuns and monks are segregated by age and sex. Housing for monks and nuns are divided by a winding road that divides the city.
- Day 11: Serthar-Yuthok-Zamthang (3300m, 160Km ) Snow Land Hotel
You will drive to Dzamthangfrom Serthar at the distance of 160Km through a river called Serchu. There is a junction at Serwa and from there we turn left for Dzamthang and drove into a gorge of Serchu. The gorge is densely forested. On the way, there are very beautiful villages and mostly they are farmers. They grow barley. Their houses are in very attractive designs. The ground and second floors are made of rocks and the third floor is made of wood with a very beautiful balcony.
After around 60Km driver, you will be reaching a town called Nyalong Xiang by crossing a mountain pass at the elevation of around 4700M, you will reach ReachYuthok monastery. Visit the monastery and then continue your drive to Zamthang for one hundred more Km drive.
- Day 12: Zamthang to Jhamda (3900m, 230Km )
Zamtang County or Ndzamthang County or Rangtang County is a county of Sichuan Province, China. It is under the administration of the Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture
From the junction, we drove 15Km to Jonang culture centre through a beautiful valley with full of typical Tibetan styled houses whch are extremely beautiful.
There are three monasteries at Jonang culture centre which are Tsechu, Choeje and SangngaGompa. Among them, the oldest monastery today is Choeji and the assembly hall of Choeji is old and it has many old Thangka and Statues. In the upper part of Choeji, an old statue of Shakyamuni. Underneath the statue, you can go and do clockwise direction around the pillar under the statue in order to get blessing and get rid of once’s bad karmic action. It is said that the statue is always not be able to be taken nice photos.
The three monasteries are all together and the most upper part or on the left side is TsechuGompa and the main statue is also BhuddhaShykyamuni and an old statue of Dolpopa who is the main lineage of Jonangpa. The middle one is Choeji which is the oldest one. The last one or the biggest one is Sang Nga. It is a newly re-built monastery and there is a big tomb stupa of the monastery Lama who passed away. There are beautiful wall painting of Kalachakara and it’sattendents, Bhuddha’s life sotry. The forth floor chaple is dedicated to the great masters from different orders in Tibet. Fifth floor is the library and printing boardsshelfs. The top floor is dedicated to a mandala of Tara. Next to this temple, there is a temple of a huge MaitreyaBhuddha.
There are also a tantric college and philosophical college where they call Shedra and Drupdra nowadays. Joangpa order is said to be started from Dolpopa based on BhudhaShakyamuni teachings. Dolpopa is the first lineage of Jonangpa and now they are 47th lineages. Dolpopa was born in Dolpo in Nepal. Jonangpa is mainly practisingTantra and they have a very deep source of Kalachakara practice and meditation. They are building a giant new mandala of Kalachakara which will be the world’s largest Kalachakara Mandala. We drove back to the juntion and continued to Pedma via Nagpa road. From a junction where there is a tributary of a big river, we drove left side from Ngapa road through a densely forested gorge. The road condition is immaidiately getting better when we are entering Qinghai prefecture. We arrived in Pedmacounty by around 10Pm and we stayed in Pedma hotel. Pedmacounty is also under construction and the fascility of the county is not very good.
- Day 13: Jhamda to Ngawa( Aba in Chinese ) (3290m, 150Km) Hotel
Driving through some beautiful grassland with nomad camps. On the way, We will visit one of the nomad camps to see how the Tibetan nomads in Amdo live their life style. You will see lots of Yaks and sheep grazing on the wide plateau.
Ngawa or Aba town (Chinese) is the seat of Ngawa (Aba) County, within the Ngawa (Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in northwestern Sichuan, China. It is located on the Tibetan plateau at an elevation of 3,290 metres. The city is about 75 km from Jigdril, 254 km from Barkham and 157 km from Mewa (Hongyuan).
Ngawa County has 70,000 inhabitants, about 8,000 of them Tibetanmonks. The city has about 20,000 people. There are 37 monasteries in the area, two of the largest in Aba City itself. There are mainly grasslands and forested valleys in the south.
Visit KirtiGompa or Kriti monastery and it was founded in 1472 by RongpaChenakpa, a disciple of Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Yellow hat school. It was established as a branch of TaktsangLhamoKirtiGompa (NamaGe’erde Si) near the border with Gansu Province in 1693 but has outgrown its mother monastery.
The first Kirti Monastery founded by Kirti Rinpoche was in Gyelrang. These days the two main Kirti Monasteries are in TaktsangLhamo and Nagba prefecture, in Sichuan, China.
- Day 14: Ngawa to Chengdu ( 500m, 345Km )
After breakfast, you will be driving towards Chengdu through Dzoge, Juzhaguo, Wenchuan county and finally to Chengdu. Since the road condition is good nowadays, it will take you between six and seven hrs drive. Wenchuan is the county where it hit very badly during the earth quake in Sichuan in 2008 but now everything was rebuilt to the normal situation.
- Day 15: Drive to Chengdu Shuangliu airport and fly home.