Tibet Winter Tour. A trip does not only mean travelling to some alluring land of one’s choice and roam around the area to enjoy the time. Yes, all of these are true while you are on a tour, but travelling has always been something more to me – it is a refreshment which helps me to breathe for the rest of the year, it has become a major part of my life, something which I cannot live without!!
Among so many places that I have already visited, Tibet is something which attracts me like its height!! And Tibet travel guides are one of the ‘musts’ when you are planning to have a trip to the Roof of the World. As I said that Tibetan Highlands tops my list of enjoying the vacation or some long time from the scheduled life, I have learnt what can be the best time to visit this mesmeric place – winter!! Yes, though not so popular, winter is my most favorite time to visit Tibet.
Well, I am sure that now you are curious why in the earth I am saying winter is the most enjoyable time to go to Tibet!! So, why not get your answer from this blog…
Become the Solitary Reaper
For me, solitude is kind of a bliss where I can fully enjoy and relish some time with my own self, where I can explore maybe some unknown facts about myself, and of course, the place. So, when I decided to go to the top of the world in winter, I found out that it does not attract a lot of tourists at that time; most of the areas are peaceful and you can enjoy the breezing refreshment fully. I have delved into a much more beautiful Tibet during winter because of less tourists count!! And being one of your Tibet travel guides with this blog, I can assure you that winter-Tibet will never disappoint you because hills are always more ravishing when you have less people around!!
Treat yourself with the Pleasing Weather & Enticing Views
There are many people who think the weather of Tibet Winter Tour will be unbearable. But truly speaking, it is not so!! Yeah, it is really unbearable at some places, but at most of the places you will be greeted with a pleasing weather of highest 9.5 degree Celsius and lowest -10 degree Celsius with the bright ray of sun which will keep on warming you during the day (December – January).
And winter-Tibet always treats with the most perfect scenic beauty of Mount Everest, of the roads, of the sky, and everything around!! Most of us go the hills to enjoy the scenic beauty and peace, no!! So why not choose winter when it can present the best of its beauty in front of you!!
It’s so Easy and also Cheaper to get the Tickets, Permits, and Accommodation during Winter
See, I have already told you that Tibet in winter does not attract a lot of tourists as it not considered as the season-time. And that’s why it becomes a lot easier to get the tickets, permits, and accommodation in Tibet during winter. And you know what, there are hotels who actually offer almost 50% discount on the bookings in winter. So, winter will suit your pocket as well, isn’t it!!
Introduce yourself with the Purity of Tibet – Culture, Festival, and Pilgrims
Visiting Tibet in the season does not offer you much of the real Tibetan culture. But winter is always different. You will experience the New Year festival of Tibet in winter, you will come across more and more pilgrims in winter (who actually involve themselves in farming during summer!), and thus you will know the hardcore culture of Tibet – how the place actually is!!
Receive the Additional Gift of Wildlife Photography
How!! You know it that winter is the season of migratory birds to move from one place to other in search of food and some warmth. As I said, that Tibet in winter is not that cold, you will see a lot of wild birds during winter in Tibet for the warmth they receive at that place. So, for those who love photography, just like I do, it is a grand chance for you to find some unknown birds and snap their beauty. Also, even if you are not photography-lover, who does not enjoy seeing some unknown beautiful birds!! Winter will gift you with that…
Let me know in the comments section below if this blog has become one of your Tibet travel guides; also tell me if you enjoyed Tibet during winter or not. And if you have not yet gone to Tibet in winter and want to visit, but don’t know how to prepare yourself for that, then read my blog of “Preparing Yourself for a Winter Trip to Tibet” – you will get all your answers there… Cheers!!
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- TOP 4 REASONS TO VISIT TIBET: THE BEST TRAVEL DESTINATION
Visit Tibet to discover the amazing place in the earth. Here are top 4 reasons to visit Tibet. Traveling to Tibet gives you a great opportunity to explore the plateau region north of the Himalayas. The average altitude of Tibet is over 4000 meters above sea level. It is best described as the “Roof of the World”. For centuries Tibet has been known as the last home of mystery, the hidden and sealed land. In the place, where ancient mysteries still survive that have perished in the rest of the Orient. Many people from all over the world want to visit Tibet as a trip destination for at least once in their lifetime.
After a glance at the reasons below to visit Tibet, the Awe-inspiring Plateau Landscape, the Overwhelming Devoted Religion, the Welcoming and Friendly Tibetan People, the Long-standing Customs, and Traditions. One will surely start picturing before their eyes a trip to Tibet as a must-visit place. A well-known English proverb says that “Better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times.”
1. Visit Tibet the Awe-inspiring Plateau Landscape
In many respects, Tibet is synonymous with the image of Shangri-La. And, the exoticism of a mystical land gifted with remarkable natural landscapesn and beauty. Over one-fifth of world’s top 100 independent summits is situated in Tibet. They include the Mt. Everest (alt. 8844.43m), “the world’s summit”; the Mt. Cho Oyu (alt. 8201m), the sixth highest mountain on the planet and the Mt. Shishapangma (alt. 8013m), the fourteenth highest mountain in the world. Moreover, the Mt. Kailash, one of the most sacred spots on earth, and is also a holy pilgrimage site for many religious believers in South Asia including the Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Bon faiths.
There are numerous gorgeous and beautiful lakes in Tibet. These are Yamdrok Lake, Namtso Lake, Manasarovar Lake and Lhamo La-tso Lake. In addition, there are many other natural beauties like deep canyons, grand glaciers, bare stones, Gobi desert, lush forest, wild species, and vast prairie in Tibet. It shows a good reason to visit Tibet and experienced with a unique land and culture.
2. The Overwhelming Devoted Religion
Religion is extremely important to the Tibetans and has a strong influence on every aspect of their lives. Tibetan Bon religion is the indigenous spiritual tradition of Tibet. It rooted before the arrival of Buddhism in the 7th century AD. But nowadays Tibetan Buddhism is the most widely practiced religion. It is evident when you set your eyes on many things around you. Even on the attractive key chains that you buy from the smallest street shops. There has a depiction of Buddhism in some form or another. Tibetan people take their religion, beliefs, and values very seriously.
If you visit Tibet, you can visit many ancient monasteries, temples and palaces. These are dotted around the land of Tibet. You can explore many best-loved religious sites, which would enable you to familiarize with the biographies of the renowned spiritual masters and scholars of the past. You can observe the unique landscapes and the buildings that represent Bon and Buddhist architectures. They include such sites as the Potala Palace, which was built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gambo. Jokhang and Ramoche temples, which are two of the holiest Buddhist temples in Tibet. These were built in the 7th century. The Yumbu Lhagang Palace, which was built in the second century B.C. by the first king of Tibet, ‘Nyatri Tsenpo’. Gaden, Sera and Drepung Monasteries, which are the biggest learning centres of Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. All are attracting you to visit Tibet.
3. The Welcoming and Friendly Tibetan People
Tibet has a rich cultural heritage as well as a deep unique societal tradition and values. Wisdom, knowledge about life, compassion, tolerance and peace of mind are some of the key values that underpin the Tibetan culture. The simplicity of life and the spirituality of minds of the people in this land are always distinct in many senses. Even a few days of stay and travel in and around Tibet will leave you with a strong impression. The simple traditional courtesies and values in the life of people. You also impressed by the ways in which one can attain some of the desirable qualities such as compassion and empathy for others.
4. The Long-standing Customs and Tradition
As many cultures around the world, Tibet has formed its own unique customs and traditions over thousands of years. They include traditional beliefs and practices. These are much related to everyday lives (i.e. clothing, food, housing, festival, folklore, wedding, funeral, customs and social taboos). Furthermore, the special sectors such as animal husbandry, astronomy, calendric system, medicine, architecture, hardware, textiles, literature, paintings, and sculptures. The music, dance, and local operas are great assets to enjoy as tourists.
Eight Great Buddhist Stupas མཆོད་རྟེན་ཆ་བརྒྱད་།
Eight Great Buddhist Stupas (Sanskrit) or Chorten (Tibetans) are the important Tibetan Buddhism and culture. Furthermore, it represents eight important events in the life and works of Buddha Shakyamuni. The Eight Great Buddhist Stupas are symbols of enlightened mind and the path to its realization. The Eight Great Buddhist Stupas represent the Buddha’s body, speech, and mind. Consequently, the eight stupas also the places of worship by Buddhist followers.
The Idea of Stupas
In ancient Indian art, the Buddha Shakyamuni was not represented as a person but as a stupa. Therefore, when Buddha Shakyamuni passed away, his followers built the eight great Buddhist stupas. The stupas built with relics and other holy objects that they collected from the Buddha’s cremation. Most noteworthy the Eight Great Buddhist Stupas represented eight important deeds of their great teacher. Since then, the Eight Great Buddhist Stupas contain some important relics of great masters. Furthermore, it also contains or other objects like scriptures that manifest the mind of enlightenment and peace.
The design of Buddhist stupas
First of all, the design of Buddhist stupas is very technical and each part symbolizes specific religious meanings and importance. The stupa has assumed the representation of the five purified elements and especially relevant to great religious teaching. The shape of the Stupa represents the Buddha and Crowned and sitting in meditation posture on a lion throne. His crown is the top of the spire and the head is the square at the spire’s base. Body is the vase shape and legs are the four steps of the lower terrace. The base is his throne and the square base represents earth. The hemispherical dome/vase represents water. The conical spire represents fire. The upper lotus parasol and the crescent moon represent air and the sun. And, the dissolving point represents the element of space.
Building a stupa is a very powerful way to purify negative karma and obscuration. Furthermore, it also powerful to accumulate extensive merit. In this way, you can have realizations of the path to Enlightenment. Moreover, you will be able to do perfect work to liberate suffering beings. Leading them to the peerless happiness of Enlightenment and which is the ultimate goal of our life.
Lotus Blossom Stupa (བདེ་གཤེགས་མཆོད་རྟེན། Dheshey Chorten)
First of all, the Stupa also known as Stupa of Heaped Lotuses or Birth of the Sugata Stupa and this stupa refers to the birth of the Buddha. “At birth Buddha took seven steps in each of the four directions” (East, South, West, and North). Most noteworthy, each direction lotuses sprang, symbolizing the Four Immeasurable: love, compassion, joy, and equanimity. The four steps of the basis of this stupa are circular, and it is decorated with lotus-petal designs. Occasionally, seven heaped lotus steps are constructed. These refer to the seven first steps of the Buddha.
Enlightenment Stupa (བྱང་ཆུབ་མཆོད་རྟེན། Shangchuk Chorten)
It familiar as the Stupa of the Conquest of Mara. This stupa also symbolizes the 35-year-old Buddha’s attainment of enlightenment under the bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya. Where he conquered worldly temptations and attacks manifesting in the form of Mara.
Stupa of Many Doors (ཆོས་འཁོར་མཆོད་རྟེན། Chokhor Chorten)
Also known as the Stupa of Many Gates. After reaching enlightenment, the Buddha taught his first students in a deer-park near Sarnath. The series of doors on each side of the steps also represent the first teachings. Moreover, the teachings are the Four Noble Truths, the Six Perfections, the Noble Eightfold Path and the Twelve Links in the Chain of Dependent Origination.
Stupa of Great Miracles (ཆོ་འཕྲུལ་མཆོད་རྟེན། Chotrul Chorten)
Also known as Stupa of Conquest of theTirthikas. This stupa refers to various miracles performed by the Buddha when he was 50 years old. Legend claims that he overpowered Mara sand heretics by engaging them in intellectual arguments and also by performing miracles. This stupa was raised by the Lichavi kingdom to commemorate the event.
Stupa of Descent from the God Realm (ལྷ་བབ་མཆོད་རྟེན། Lhaba Chorten)
At 42 years old, Buddha spent a summer retreat in Tushita Heaven, where his mother had taken rebirth. In order to repay her kindness, he taught the dharma to her reincarnation. Consequently, local inhabitants built a stupa like this in Sankasya in order to commemorate this event. This stupa isalso characterized by having a central projection at each side containing a triple ladder or steps.
Stupa of Reconciliation (དབྱེན་ཟླུམ་མཆོད་རྟེན། Yidum Chorten)
This stupa commemorates the Buddha’s reconciliation of the disputing factions within the Sangha which had been divided by the enmity of his cousin Devadatta. Buddha reunited the Sangha at the Veluvana bamboo grove at Rafagriha, and the local inhabitants of the kingdom of Magadha constructed a stupa in this design. The reconciliation stupa is characterized by its four octagonal steps with equal sides. Furthermore, various symbolic meanings are given for the four levels of eights-sided steps, which total thirty-two in number.
Stupa of Complete Victory (རྣམ་རྒྱལ་མཆོད་རྟེན། Namgyal Chorten)
This stupa commemorates the Buddha’s prolongation of his lifetime by three months. This event occurred at the city of Vaisali when Buddha was eight years of age by the supplication of the lay devotee Tsundra. The celestial beings are said to have erected a stupa of this design. Most noteworthy, the complete victory stupa is characterized by having only three steps, which are circular and unadorned.
Stupa of Nirvana (མྱང་འདས་མཆོད་རྟེན། Nyadek Chorten)
This stupa refers to the death of the Buddha when he was 80 years old. It symbolizes the Buddha’s complete absorption into the highest state of mind. The Nirvana stupa is characterized by its circular bell-shaped dome and usually not ornamented.
The benefits of building a Stupa:
- If you make 1,000 Stupas, you will become a great ‘Wheel-turning Holder of the Wisdom Teachings’ (Mahayana Secret Mantra) and have clairvoyance knowing all the Buddha dharma.
- After death, without being born in the lower realms, you will be born in the superior realms.
- You will be able to extensively listen to the Dharma without forgetfulness.
- The “Stainless Beam” sutra states – ‘All negative karma and obscuration, including the five uninterrupted negative karmas, are purified even by dreaming of a Stupa. Seeing a Stupa hearing the sound of the bell of a Stupa and even for birds and flies etc., by being touched by the shadow of a Stupa.
- The sentient beings will always be protected by the Buddha. Who always pay attention to guiding them to achieve complete pure Enlightenment. They abide in the irreversible stage.
- It is explained by Shakyamuni Buddha in the Sutras. Building a Stupa for those who have passed away is extremely powerful. It immediately changes a suffering rebirth into a fortunate rebirth with the opportunity to meet the Dharma.
- It can also heal those with serious diseases.
- There is no question that it accumulates extensive merit and brings success and happiness. Therefore, dedicate to your ancestors, family members and friends who have passed away or who are sick, and for the happiness of yourself and your family in this and future lives.