Following the Footsteps of the Bon Masters

Bon Masters
Tour Type: Private group tour
Tour Duration: 9 days and 8 nights
Best Time: April to October
A Glimpse into Tibetan Bon Religion:
Tibetan Bon religion is the indigenous spiritual tradition of Tibet rooted before the arrival of Buddhism in the 7th century AD. In addition, it was founded by Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche. According to the traditional Bon account of its origins, many thousands of years before the birth of the Buddha Shakyamuni. The Buddha Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche came to this world and expounded his teachings in the land of Olmo Lungring. “Ol” symbolizes the unborn, “Mo” the undiminishing, “Lung” the prophetic words of Tonpa Shenrab and “Ring” his everlasting compassion. Some modern scholars have identified Olmo Lungring with Shang Shung. The country surrounding Mount Kailash in western Tibet and the cradle of Tibetan civilization.

It includes teachings and practices applicable to all parts of life.

It includes our relationship with the elemental qualities of nature; our ethical and moral behavior; the development of love, compassion, joy. Furthermore, it also includes equanimity; and Bon’s highest teachings of the “Great Perfection,” Dzogchen.

Although Bon Religion is the original one in Tibet, it is also influenced by the Buddhism. Today many Tibetans still believe Bon is their religion. According to a recent survey, there are 264 active Bon monasteries, convents, and hermitages in Tibet. Moreover, many current ongoing Tibetan traditional festival practices are closely associated with Bon. For instance, the celebration of Tibetan New Year (Losar) and the typical Tibetan religious flags on hills are to control the spirits in the mountains etc.

Thematic Tour Overview:
You will start this 9-day tours with spending a few days in Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet for acclimatization to the high altitude of Tibet. During your stay in Lhasa you will be exploring some of the major best-loved sights of religious and historic significance in the city, including the Potala Palace and the Jokhang Temple.

As part of the key focus of your thematic tour in “Following the Footsteps of the Bon Masters”. During the tour, we will be visiting the following important and sacred seats of Tibetan Bonpo monasteries. Furthermore, visiting the temples in central and west parts of Tibet areas.

  1. Tharding (Ri Gyal) Bonpo monastery in Thongmon County, the monastery was used to be a small temple of the Shen family and the 15th successor of Shen lineage expanded the temple in 1360. In addition, in the 15th century, the monastery became renowned for its statues, scriptures, and stupas of the Bon religion.
  2. Nya-me Sherab Gyeltsen founded the Menri Bonpo monastery in Namling County in 1405 . For centuries Menri functioned as the most important Bon teaching centre in Tibet.
  3. Rala Yungdrung Ling Bonpo monastery in Namling County one of the most influential Bonpo monasteries in recent Tibetan history. And, Nangton Dawa Gyeltsen funded it during the 19th century on the ridge of the holy Bonpo Mountain, Olha Gyel.
  4. Zangri Bonpo monastery in Nyemo County, founded in 1096 by master Tshul khrims dpal chen. It became a great centre for studies in metaphysics. In the place, where, over the years, hundreds of monks studied. It was also a place where tantric meditation and rituals were commonly practiced.
In addition, along with this tour route, you will be amazed at a number of gorgeous sights.

We will stop by the snow peaks of Mt. Jomo Kangkar (7048 meters), Yamdrok Lake and the Karo La Glacier, to sink in with their tranquillity and majesty, before we hit and explore around Gyantse. Making most of our time in Shigatse, we will pay a visit to Tashi Lhunpo monastery, the largest Buddhist monastery in the Tsang province or the west-central Tibet.

We will also get an ample chance to visit and observe the traditional life of the indigenous Tibetan rural communities. Moreover, we will visit handicraft center to see and learn the extraordinary array of authentic Tibetan traditional handicraft. Furthermore, we also visit and learn contemporary Tiworks of crafts and arts.

Detailed Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive in Lhasa Elevation 3590 meters
  • Arrive in Lhasa – collection from Lhasa airport
  • Check in hotel
  • Rest and acclimatization
Day 2: Visit Traditional Tibetan Farmer’s Village or Nomad Tent (Optional choice)
  • To visit either to a traditional Tibetan Farmer’s Village or Green Grasslands Nomad Tent to experience first-hand the lifestyle of indigenous Tibetan rural communities by joining them herding yaks and sheep, making cheeses, yoghurt and butter. Taste locally made snacks
  • Drive back to Lhasa and rest
Day 3: Explorations around Lhasa
  • Take a walk up and visit the Potala Palace, the fascinating landmark building in Lhasa. The winter residence of every Dalai Lama from the fifth to the current 14th
  • Explore the Jokhang temple, the “spiritual heart” of Lhasa city
  • Stroll around Barkhor street and the surrounding old quarters of the town
Day 4: Lhasa to Yamdrok Lake, Karo La Glacier-Gyantse – Shigatse Distance 360kms Elevation 3840m
  • Depart Lhasa early in the morning, all day overland drive
  • Crossover Kamba-la pass (4700m)
  • Descend and drive by the Yamdrok Lake – a freshwater lake stunningly gorgeous
  • Drive up another pass –the Karo La – for an amazing view of the Mt. Nyenchen Kangsar glacier
  • Arrive in Gyantse, a small, but prominent town in Tibet
  • Visit the Pelkor Chode Monastery. Furthermore, the Gyantse Kumbum – a 32 Metres (105 ft.) high structure, a nine-tier building with 108 gates
  • Drive a short distance to Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet
  • Overnight stop in Shigatse
Day 5: Shigatse –Thongmon County Tharding Bon Monastery – Namling County Menri Bon Monastery Distance 238kms Elevation 4300m
  • Leave Shigatse city, and travel north to the small town of Thongmon County
  • Visit Tharding Bon monastery in Thongmon County
  • After visiting the Tharding Bon monastery, drive on to Namling County northeast of Shigatse town
  • Visit Menri Bon monastery in Namling County
  • Drive back to Shigatse and rest
Day 6: Shigatse – Namling County Rala Yungdrung Ling Bon Monastery – Nyemo County Zangri Bon Monastery Distance 230kms Elevation 3690m
  • Tour around Tashi Lhunpo, to witness the largest gilded statue of Future Buddha in Tibet – indeed a historic and culturally important Buddhist monastery
  • Leave Shigatse for Nyemo County, taking the northern tarred surfaced road
  • Turn-off for and visit Rala Yungdrung Ling Monastery regarded as the ancestor monastery of Bon religion in Tibet
  • Then, continue drive on to Nyemo County and visit Zangri Bonpo monastery
  • Overnight stay in local guesthouse in Nyemo County
Day 7: Shigatse – Mt. Jomo Kangkar – Lhasa Distance 320kms Elevation 3590m
  • Visit and take an amazing view of the snow peaks of Mt. JomoKangkar (7048 meters)
  • Head back to Lhasa and Rest
Day 8: Visit Shol Dhenpa Handicraft Center
  • Visit Shol Dhenpa Handicraft centre to see and learn the extraordinary array of authentic Tibetan traditional Handicraft. Furthermore, see and learn the contemporary works of crafts and arts, like Tibetan pottery wares, Thangka painting, sewing work and Buddhist statue fabrications.
  • Take a gentle exploration stroll around Lhasa city one last time
Day 9: Depart Lhasa
  • Transfer to the Lhasa airport or train station
  • Depart Tibet

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Responsible Tourism

Tibet Universal Tours and Travel puts great importance on the promotion of responsible and sustainable tourism practices. It incorporated into our day to day base tour service performances. So, we always strive to ensure that our tour service delivery will have a maximum quality. Furthermore, we also strive to the minimum level of negative social, economic, environmental and cultural impacts. Following outlined points are some of our representative measures undertaking in our routine job performances. In addition, these thoughts to be essential for a sustainable touristic development in Tibet. 

Social Responsibility:

Whenever and wherever possible, we extend charitable support to disadvantaged groups in remote Tibetan villages. For instance, utilizing the certain percentage of our annual company income we engage in social works. Therefore, we purchase and distribute warm winter clothes for children from rural Tibetan primary schools. As a result, they can keep them warm and happy during cold winter.

Moreover, we believe that every person deserves access to quality healthcare. So, we extend our help on medical expenses to those serious patients who are from remote and rural Tibetan villages. Because they cannot afford to pay their medical treatment when the treatment costs go beyond the local medical insurance coverage.

Economy Responsibility:

In support of contributing to the local economy and we give the local population a central role in the touristic economic development of their own territory.  Therefore, we always strive to ensure that the economic benefits of tourism should go for local communities. So, poverty alleviation by generating financial benefits for both local people and private industries. For instance, we always use locally owned ground transportation and accommodation (i.e. hotels, lodges, and guesthouses). Furthermore, we also recommend local eateries, restaurants, and stores to our guests.

In addition, we are an indigenous local Tibetan travel agency based in Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet. 100% of our travel company employees are staffed and escorted by professional local Tibetans including local tour guides and drivers.  So, this has created employment and job security opportunities for many educated and inspired Tibetans.

Environment Responsibility:

Tibetan Buddhist reality is profoundly ecological, and Buddhism itself is an ecological religion. It powerfully expresses human identification with nature. Buddhists believe that all things, including humans, exist by their interrelationship with all other parts of nature. Therefore, thinking of one's self as isolated from the rest of nature is being unrealistic.

Respect for life and the natural world

Giving the facts that Tibetans love and respect for life and the natural world. Therefore, to minimize the environmental impact created by tourists, we follow environment-friendly policies. So, we maintain the size of tour groups to have minimal impact on flora and fauna in an area. The necessary carbon emissions that we generate by our footprints of travel to the tour destinations cannot be overlooked. Therefore, we regularly actively participate in carbon reduction or offset activities such as tree planting. Our tour guides, drivers, and logistics staff are aware of waste management. Moreover, we advised them to dispose of all rubbish generated by themselves responsibly and recycle wherever feasible.

Other Safegurds for the Environment friendly tourism

Make the best use of the winter tourist low season, we deliver training workshops on environmental protection. Moreover, the training also includes the preservation and first aid training. So, we arrange it for all our company management staff, tour guides, and drivers in order to increase their knowledge. As a result, they can understand the importance of environmental protection and ecotourism.

Request to Visitors:
    • Be considerate of the communities and environment you visit.
    • Don’t litter, try to carry your own shopping bag to avoid plastic garbage problem. Many Tibetan local villages do not have environmentally sound garbage disposal systems. Therefore, pack garbage out to a larger town where there is a facility.
    • Try to avoid excessive use of plastic bottles. Travelers are requested to bring a reusable water bottle. In addition, we will arrange and supply your drinking water in a bigger container.
    • Reduce energy consumption. Unplug your mobile phone charger, turn off the lights
    More Requests
    • Conserve water. Take shorter showers.

    • Always ask before taking photographs. So, if someone says no, respect their wishes.
    • Educate yourself about the place you are visiting and the people.
    • Respect cultural differences. Moreover, learn from it! People in different places do things differently. So, don’t try to change them. And, enjoy them.
    • Support the local economy. Therefore, buy locally made souvenirs, eat at local restaurants. Furthermore, enjoy the local culture.
    • Support responsible tourism organizations. Because those travel operators who publicly are aiming to make tourism more responsible.

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