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Tsedang Day Tours: how to arrange day trip in Lhoka

Tsedang, the capital of Lhokha Prefecture, is reputed as "the cradle of Tibetan Civilization” and located at the middle and lower reaches of Yarlung Zangbo River. As the birthplace of the earliest Tibetans, it enjoys a comparatively mild climate and vast fertile land. Tsedang boasts a combination of natural and cultural scenery. Spectacular ranges, beautiful lakes, numerous springs, and peaceful river valleys constitute its featured landscapes. A great variety of sights are worthy to experience in Tsedang.

Mindroling Monastery Day Tour

A worthwhile tour from Tsetang or from Lhasa, between the Dratang turn-off and the Samye ferry crossing, is Mindroling Monastery. It is the largest and most important Nyingmapa monastery. It was founded by Rigzin Terdak Lingpa in 1676. Tendrak Lingpa’s lineage is known as the Nyo lineage.

At Mindrolling Monastery, special emphasis was placed on the learning of Buddhist scriptures, astronomy, Tibetan lunar calendar, calligraphy rhetoric, and Traditional Tibetan medicine. Monks traditionally studied13 major sutra and tantra texts of the Nyingma, and learned the practices stemming from various terma, especially from the Lineage of Terdak Lingpa. The monastery had over 100 satellites at one time. Its throne holder was one of the most revered in Tibet.

Samye Monastery Day Tour

Samye Monastery is no doubt one of the most popular destinations for travellers in Yarlung Tsangpo Valley. The monastery is surrounded by barren mountains and sand dunes. You can find a ferry on the roadside of Lhasa-Tsedang Highway and cross the beautiful river to the monastery by boat. The ferry is just 2 hours’ driving away from Lhasa, you can appreciate the stunning natural landscapes of Yarlung Zangbo River Valley on the way, and then take a ferry across the Yarlungzongpo River.

Samye Monastery in Lhoka, TibetEnjoying the stunning landscape around Samye Monastery in Lhoka, Tibet

Samye Monastery is thought to be Tibet’s 1st monastery and its 1st university. It has been deconstructed and reconstructed a number of times. The monastery is thought to have been founded in the 8th century by King Trisong Detsen, in consultation with Indian sage Padmasambhava. The temple was destroyed during the civil war in the 11th century, by fire in the 11th and 17th centuries, by the earthquake in the 18th century. Today, only a fraction of its original 108 buildings have been reconstructed.

The 3 storied temple faces the east. To the left of the main entrance is a 5m-high stone obelisk erected by King Songtsen Gampo. Inside the main assembly hall of the Utse are statues of the early kings, and images of Padmasambhava and Atisha. The inner sanctum contains a beautiful Sakyamuni image. To the right side of the assembly hall is a Gonkhang or tantric protector chapel with odds and ends like a stuffed snake and an old musket. To the left of the assembly hall is the Avalokitesvara Chapel, with a fine bas-relief portrait of the Bodhisattva.

You can access several chapels upstairs, and might even be allowed to view the former quarters of the Dalai Lama. On the 2nd floor is an open gallery with a long string of murals, depicting the history of Tibet. There is also a damaged mural of the fabled land of Shambhala.

Samye is now a town where you can find hostels, restaurants, you can stay in Samye for a night then go to other interesting places in Tsedang. After visiting Samye, you can get back to Lhasa or to Tsedang by car or take the boat across the river to the ferry. - See details at how to plan the day tour in Samye Monastery

Samye and Chimpuk Hermitage 2 Days Tour

Chim-puk Hermitage is a warren of caves northeast of Samye. It was once a meditation retreat for Gulug Rinpoche. It is a day hike for travelers from Samye. After crossing through desert-like territory for a couple of hours, the path ascends into the surprisingly lush area in which the caves are found. It's an ideal route for the day hike. It is said that there are 108 meditation caves, 108 spring mouths and 108 sky burial grounds. This is no doubt a popular day hike for travellers spending a few days at Samye. If you were lucky enough, you might find a pilgrim truck heading up there in the early morning. You may plan the tour as follows:

Day1. Travel from Lhasa to Samye Monastery

Start the trip from Lhasa by car, get off at Samye Ferry, which is on the roadside of Lhasa-Tsedang Highway. Travel across the river by boat then walk to Samye Monastery. On the way to Samye, you will have the enjoyable boating and appreciate the stunning natural landscapes of Yarlung Zangbo River Valley. Stay in Samye for a night.

Day2. Travel from Samye Monastery to Chim-puk Hermitage and return to Samye

Embraced by lush hills on 3 sides and facing the vast Yarlung Tsangbo Valley, the Chim-puk Hermitage is renowned not only for being the most famous meditation place of Tibetan Buddhism, but also for its unique humid climate and beautiful scenery presented at an altitude of 4,300m. The walk takes around 4 or 5 hours up and 3 hours down. Take some water with you. After visiting Chim-puk, You can travel back to Samye.

Conclusion

The above three travel routes are just the classic samples of Tsedang day tour. Actually, Lhoka Prefecture has more to offer. You can stretch your legs to the turquoise Yamdrok Lake - one of the great three holy lakes in Tibet, and visit the nearby Samding Monastery - the only female incarnations in Tibet. If time allows, you can also enjoy Tsedang tour with major Tibetan Buddist monasteries. Travelling along Yalong River, you can pay a visit to Dorje Drak Monastery - the most important Nyingmapa monastery, and enjoy the unique frescoes in Dratang Monastery. After that, you can head south to explore the glorious Tibetan history at the Tombs of the Tibetan Kings, visit the first palace in Tibet - Yumbulagang, appreciate the precious peal Thangka at Trandruk Monastery, and finally return to Tsedang. As for hike lovers and adventurers, you shouldn’t miss out the holy Lhamo Lhatso Lake trekking. Since there are too many attractions to list them all out, you are always welcomed to send us your inquiry and our Tibetan travel guru are already here to help you out with a perfect Lhoka travel plan.

Master Kungga Dundruk

About the Author - Master Kungga Dundruk

The Lhasa-born prodigy used to study business overseas, and got his Bachelor of Business in Nepal and India before moving back to his homeland.With pure passion for life and unlimited love for Tibet, Kunga started his guide career as early as 1997.

Responsible, considerate and humorous, he devoted his entire life guiding and serving international tourists travelling in Tibet.As a legendary Tibetan travel guru with 20-year pro guide experience , he once had an exclusive interview with the US media. Currently he is working in Tibet Vista as the Tour Operating Director. Whenever our clients run into troubles, he is your first call and will offer prompt support.

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