This trip includes spiritual, cultural and geographical exploration of Tibet, while also practicing daily yoga, meditation, Tai Ji, and Qi Gong. We will visit Lhasa, the holy city, and see the ancient cultural and spiritual sites. We will also explore the countryside, spend time with nomads and spiritual masters in remote areas where modernization has not yet touched, and witness the last remaining ancient spiritual civilization and the struggle of the people to preserve it. This trip is a once in a lifetime experience!
Day 01: We will arrive in Lhasa. In Lhasa, we will check in to a Tibetan hotel in the Tibetan quarter, which is very close to the Jokhang Temple. That night, over tea at the rooftop restaurant at the hotel, we will discuss Tibetan culture and customs.
Days 2, 3, 4 and 5: We will visit the Jokhang Temple, which was built in the seventh century. The Jokhang Temple is the spiritual heart of Tibetan Buddhism. Pilgrims from all over Tibet gather at the temple, walking with prayer beads and prayer wheels in their hands, focusing only on receiving a good rebirth and achieving enlightenment.
Our spiritually stimulating afternoons will include exploring the Barkor, a sacred circumambulation route around the Jokhang Temple, which is also a marketplace and has many temples and galleries nearby. On this journey, we will share a deep spiritual experience with thousands of Tibetan pilgrims who have come to the temple from hundreds of miles away.
We will also visit the Potala Palace, which is built high on a hill called Marpori located in the center of Lhasa city. The palace’s 13 stories, built entirely of mud and wood, contain 1,000 chapels. It also contains the gold-embossed tombs of past Dalai Lamas, one of which is called Zamling Yeshag (equivalent in value to the entire world) because of the amount of gold, precious gems and countless artifacts contained in the tomb.
We will also visit the Ramoche Monastery, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery, regarded as the most important temple after the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa. It is one of the three great Geluka university monasteries after the Jokhang Monastery. It situated in the northwest corner of Lhasa City and about 500 meters away north of Barkhor Street. It is one kilometer north of the Jokhang and east of the Potala Palace.
It is said that construction on the Jokhang and Ramoche temples were started and completed around the same time. According to historical documents, the Ramoche Temple was created by Prince Wencheng who had it designed and built by craftsmen from inner China. As such, the early buildings were created in the style of the Tang Dynasty (618AD-907AD). The main gate faces the east, which expresses a kind of emotion toward her parents and country. The temple shrine contains a small bronze statue depicting Buddha when he was eight. It was brought to Lhasa by the Nepalese Princess. The temple was once badly destroyed by a Mongolian invasion and then again by the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution. The original building was destroyed by fire. The current version of the temple was built in 1474.
Another place that we will visit is the Ani Tsankhung Nunnery, which is a Buddhist nunnery and tourist destination in Lhasa. It was built in the seventh century by Songsten Gampo, who used its meditation chamber. The monastery is housed in a yellow building that lies on the street parallel to and north of Chingdol Dong Lu. Since the 12th century, the monastery has been used chiefly by Buddhist nuns.
We will also visit the Barkhor area, located in the old section of Lhasa City. Barkhor Street is an ancient round street that surrounds the Jokhang Temple. As a symbol of Lhasa, it is a must-see place for visitors.
On the last day of our stay in Lhasa, we will visit the Ganden Monastery, the seat of the founder of the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. After our lunch at the monastery restaurant, we will enter the temples of the most important monastery in the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism. The temples we will visit include the tomb of Tsongkapa and the Throne of Ganden, the Great Hall of the Ganden Monastery, and Ganden Tsogchen, where monks perform prayers. We will also follow a traditional pilgrim route around Ganden, known as the Ganden kora.
In afternoon, we will continue on our journey and travel to Terdrum. We will camp near the nunnery, do our yoga in the beautiful valley full of sacred history and take baths in the natural hot spring that the Tibetans believe to be medicinal springs that cure many type of diseases. It is said that these springs were blessed by the Guru Rimpoche.
Day 6: We will travel to the Drepung Monastery, which is the largest monastery in Tibet. Our tour will include a visit to the Dalai Lama’s first palace and the Great Hall that once held 10,000 monks. Drepung was partially destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and, therefore, possesses more relics. This visit will be an opportunity to meet some inspiring nuns who have been meditating in a cave near the monastery for many years.
Day 7: On this day, we will visit the Samye Monastery, the first temple to be built in Tibet and the first to be completed with the three Buddhist jewels of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. With these unique features, this splendid temple has become an attraction for visitors from near and far.
Day 8: On this day, we will visit the Tsurphu Monastery, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery that serves as the traditional seat of the Karmapa. It is located in Gurum town (rgu rum / Gǔróng Xiàng 古荣乡) within Doilungdêqên County in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, 70 km from Lhasa. The monastery is about 14,000 feet (4,300 m) above sea level and was built in the middle of a valley facing south. It is surrounded by high mountains.
Day 9: We will travel to Shigatse Tashinlumpo, one of the Six Big Monasteries of Gelugpa (or the Yellow Hat Sect) in Tibet. It is also called the Heap of Glory and is located at the foot of Drolmari (Tara’s Mountain) in Shigatse. It was founded by the first Dalai Lama in 1447. The monastery’s structure was expanded by the fourth and successive Panchen Lamas. It covers an area of nearly 300,000 square meters (3,229,279 sq. ft.). The main structures of the monastery are the Maitreya Chapel, Panchen Lama’s Palace and Kelsang Temple. Tashilhunpo has been the seat of the Panchen Lama since the Fourth Panchen Lama took charge of the monastery. Today, it houses nearly 800 lamas.
Day 10: On this day, we will travel to Katmandu, Nepal by car.
Days 11, 12, 13 and 14: On these days, we will spend time in the Kathmandu region of Nepal where we will visit several sacred Buddhist and Hindu sites.
We will visit Swayambhu (स्वयम्भू), which is a large stupa, highly revered in Nepal, and one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the country. It offers great views over the city and is home to many monkeys. It’s a 20 to 30 minute walk from Thamel. You can also take a taxi or rickshaw to get there. If you pay Rs 200 (July 2010), you can enter the building via the front steps or you can slip in free via the ramp on the south side. As with the Boudha Stupa, there’s no shortage of Buddhist and Tibetan-inspired trinkets for sale. Drinks are also for sale at the top and there is at least one small restaurant at the top that sells momos. For those individuals that have their own transportation or have difficulty climbing the stairs, there is a parking lot at the back entrance that significantly reduces the number of stairs that need to be climbed in order to gain access to the main compound.
Another place that we will visit is the Boudha Stupa in Boudha (बौद्ध). It is one of the most sacred sites for Tibetan Buddhism. It is a must see in Kathmandu.
We will also visit the Narayanhiti Palace Museum. In 2009, the once royal palace was turned into a museum and home to the Foreign Ministry. Now, you can visit the splendid halls of the main building of the palace. The entrance fee is 500 NRS for foreigners. Giant fruit bats hang from the tall trees surrounding the building. In addition, 20 foot-tall bamboo can be seen around the otherwise modern (and still well-secured) former palace.
We will visit Thamel Chowk, which contains many restaurants and shops.
Another place we will visit is Freak Street, which is the historic home of western hippies seeking enlightenment. Today, it contains a few restaurants and hotels.
We will also visit the Nasal Chowk statues and temples as well as the Rana Museum.
Pashupatinath is another place that we will visit. It is an important Hindu temple to Shiva in the form of the Lord of the Animals. While there, we will see monkeys, cremation, sadhus and meditation caves. The morning and sunset are great times to go. It costs 1,000 Rupees for foreigners to enter the temple, although you can sneak in through the park on the north side of the temple, as many locals do (beware of police though, who try to catch people doing exactly this). No foreigners are allowed inside the main temple, although you can peer inside from the doorway. There are stairs on the east side of the river that lead to the Boudha Stupa (a short walk away).
We will also visit the Garden of Dreams [www.gardenofdreams.org.np], which is called the Kaiser Mahal. We will relax in this beautiful and peaceful walled garden close to Thamel and the former royal palace. As of April 2013, the entry fee was NPR 200. These gardens were renovated via a partnership with the Austrian government. It currently has two pavilions that depict two of the six annual seasons in the Hindu calendar. It has a cafe that serves breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner. It also contains an open air theatre that presents cultural programs. Prior reservations must be made for these shows.
We will visit the Buddha Neelkanth (Narangdham), which is an idol of Bhagwan Vishnu in a sleeping position surrounded by water. Visiting it is an extraordinary experience. It is located about five or six kilometers from the main bus park in Kathmandu.
Day 15: We will depart from Kathmandu.
Qi Yo yoga class, meditation, Pranayama, Qi energy work, lectures and discussions. We will also do Pujas and satsangs on certain days.
Swami Agung and Ariadne Antahkarana
Know before you go
Transfer from and to Lhasa Gonggar Airport and Tribhuvan International airport
Participants can continue their stay to join YTT program. If you decide to attend the yoga training daily program you will receive hours credit for completed course. Then, you will be able to take the balance of the 200 hours at another retreat and receive your diploma.
30% deposit is required before August 1st 2014. Payment plans available upon request.
Once deposit is submitted, participants can cancel and are not committed to partake, but the deposit will be retained.
(includes everything except airfare)
Vegetarian or vegan, all organic and macrobiotic breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included.