Disembark Silver Shadow to fly from Mumbai to Lhasa. During the transfer from the airport to the St. Regis Lhasa (5 star) hotel. You will be receiving a Tibetan Welcome Ceremony and you will be briefed about your various activities. In the evening attend a casual but private buffet dinner.
Before heading over to the Potala Palace, the religious center of Tibetan Buddhism and former residence of the Dalai Lama, apart from being Lhasa’ central attraction, we will visit Ani Tsankhung, a Buddhist nunnery, during their morning prayer. After a private lunch at a garden restaurant close to the Potala Palace, you will then visit all four stories of the Jokhang Temple, considered the holiest of the temples. Circling Jokhang Temple is Barkhor Street where pilgrims perform their devotional rituals. We will end our afternoon with a visit to a local Tibetan Family. A professor of the Tibet University will give a detailed overview of Tibetan history. This will be followed by a sumptuous welcome dinner. Later, take a stroll up to the top of the God of Medicine Mountain for a night photograph of Potala Palace.
Our first site of the day will be the Drepung Monastery, which once housed several thousand monks. Although only 300 monks permanently reside at Drepung now, it is still one of the most important centers of religious study and training. On the premises of the Norbulingka Summer Palace, the traditional summer residence of the Dalai Lama until 1959, we will have a private lunch specially prepared by the St. Regis Lhasa. During the afternoon we will witness one of the famous “Monk Debates” at Sera Monastery. The monks are usually quite animated, using expressive hand gestures and body language to get their points across. Enjoy a classical and special Tibetan dinner with authentic flavors, fragrances, sounds and sights.
During the morning, we will travel overland to see Yamdrok Yumtso Lake, one of the three largest holy lakes in Tibet. Stunning snow-capped mountains and lush pasturelands surround the lake. This is where we will enjoy a picnic lunch while spectacular scenery surrounds us. On our way to Gyantse Town, some 230 kilometers from Lhasa, we will stop to have a look at the Karola Glacier. A mere 300 meters from the road, the glacier covers an area of 9.4 square kilometers. In Gyantse we will have a look at the Pelkhor Monastery, famous for its Kumbum Pagoda, considered the largest in Tibet. Dinner and overnight will be at the Qomo Langzon Hotel (5 star).
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast, before heading out to Tashilunpo Monastery, the seat of the Pachen Lama. This is one of the four major gelug monasteries, the “Yellow hat faction” of Buddhism. Although the monastery is small compared to Potala, a huge Maitreya Buddha statue can be found here. Cast in gold and copper, the forehead has 32 diamonds and 1,400 other gems inlaid. From Tashilunpo, head back to Lhasa. The private farewell cocktail and dinner in St. Regis’ Tubo Suite will offer superb cuisine and a final panoramic view of the iconic Potala Palace and surrounding Lhasa City. While you enjoy your farewell dinner, a traditional Tibetan band will entertain you.
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and in due time transfer to the airport for your onward flight from Lhasa.