Following the Footsteps of the Kagyu Masters tour

Kagyu Masters
Tour Type: Private group tour
Tour Duration: 10 days and 9 nights
Best Time: April to October 
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Group size: 4 – 16 people
A Glimpse into Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism:

The Kagyu (“oral transmission”) school of Tibetan Buddhism traces its origins to Tilopa (968-1069), a tantric master of India. Tilopa is credited with developing a meditation method called Mahamudra that would become a foundational practice of Kagyu. One of Tilopa’s disciples was named Naropa (956-1041). By this time Buddhism had become firmly established in Tibet, and Tibetans were traveling to India to seek out teachers.

Among those who studied with Naropa was a lay student named Marpa Lotsawa (1012-1097), sometimes called Marpa the Great Translator. The intrepid Marpa made three trips to India and eventually received all of Naropa’s teachings, becoming one of his Dharma heirs. He spent the rest of his life in Tibet, giving teachings and transmissions and translating Buddhist scriptures into Tibetan.

Marpa’s most famous student was Jetsun Milarepa (1052–1135). Milarepa would become one of Tibet’s greatest poets and yogis, and his life became one of Tibet’s favorite epic stories.

In brief, Milarepa studied with a sorcerer and mastered black magic in his youth. But he repented and sought out Marpa for teaching. Milarepa mastered the teachings and realized great enlightenment. One of Milarepa’s students, Gampopa Sonam Rinchen (1079-1153), is generally credited with founding the Dakpo Kagyu School. In addition, which is the main Kagyu tradition and usually just called “Kagyu”. Gampopa had mastered another tantric system called Kadampa. Moreover, his synthesis of Kadampa and Mahamudra became the basis of Kagyu practice.

The Kagyu lineage practices the quintessential points of both sutra and tantra teachings. Most noteworthy, with a special focus on the tantric teachings of the Vajrayana and Mahamudra teachings. In this tradition, there are two major paths: (1) the path of skillful means and (2) the path of liberation.

Thematic Tour Overview:
Your key focus of this authentic private group tour programme aims to trace back in time and visit some of the must-see sights of Tibetan Kagyu monasteries, temples and hermitage caves. The aims are to explore and learn the mythic and inspirational stories of the great Kagyu masters.

As part of the key focus of your thematic tour in “Following the Footsteps of the Kagyu Masters”, the tour covers the key sacred seats of Kagyu Buddhist tradition. Because, it has rich history in teachings from past and present of Kagyu masters of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet.  Henceforth, you will be visiting the following major sacred places dominated by Tibetan Kagyu Buddhism tradition.

  1. Tsurphu monastery, the seat of the Karmapa and one of the two main strongholds of the Karma Kagyu School in Tibet
  2. Nenang monastery funded by Nenang Pawo Rinpoche is one of the highest lamas of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism
  3. Ralung monastery the original seat of the Drukpa Kagyu order
  4. Nam Druk Gompa serves as the origin of Drupa Kagyu school in Tibetan Buddhism
Drigung Til monastery the head monastery of the Drigungpa and traditionally the monastery has been the main seat of the Drikung Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism

The trip will also take you through a classic route in central Tibet, to witness marvellous landscapes and some of the key stunning sites of historic and religious significance. For example, the Yamdrok Lake, the Karo La Glacier, and the Pelkhor Chode Monastery in Gyantse. Next, you will go to Shigatse, and visit Tashi Lhunpu Monastery, which houses the largest gilded Future Buddha.

In addition, during your tour 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. Get an ample chance to visit and observe the traditional life of the indigenous Tibetan rural communities and handicraft center to see and learn the extraordinary array of authentic Tibetan traditional and contemporary works 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. Moreover, gaining experiences by joining them herding yaks and sheep, making chesses, yoghurt and butter. Taste locally made snacks
  • Visit Shol Dhenpa Handicraft center to see and learn the extraordinary array of authentic Tibetan traditional works. Furthermore, learning the contemporary works of crafts and arts. like Tibetan pottery wares, Thangka painting, sewing work and Buddhist statue fabrications.
  • 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. It is 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 – Drikung Thi – Tidrum Distance 150kms Elevation 4505m
  • Depart on to Drikung Thi monastery the main seat of the Drikung Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Moreover, It situated over a slope of the long mountain ridge, overlooking a great valley below
  • Then, reach Tidrum, explore the local nunnery and hot spring. Where you can take a bath as it is believed to be rich in minerals. Especially, it contains the high content of sulphureted hydrogen in particular, and therapeutic to many chronic diseases.
  • Drive back to Lhasa and rest
Day 5: Lhasa — Tsurphu Monastery – Nenang Monastery Distance 65kms Elevation 4300m
  • Set-off and visit Tsurphu monastery the seat of the Karmapa. And, one of the two main strongholds of the Karma Kagyu School in Tibet.
  • Head toward and visit Nenang monastery founded by Nenang Pawo Rinpoche is one of the highest lamas of the Karma Kagyuschool of Tibetan Buddhism.
  • Double back to Lhasa and rest
Day 6: Lhasa – Gyantse 270kms Elevation 3980m
  • 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
  • Visit Ralung monastery and the monastery is originally the seat for the Drukpa Kagyu order in Tibetan Buddhism. And, it locates near the south of Karo la pass
  • Continue drive and reach the town of Gyantse, historically considered the third largest and most prominent town in Tibet
  • Overnight stay in Gyantse and rest
 Day 7: Gyantse – Shigatse Distance 115kms  Elevation 3840m
  • In Gyantse, visit the Pelkor Chode Monastery, and the Gyantse Kumbum – a 32 meters (105ft) high structure. In addition, it is a nine-tier building with 108 gates
  • Leave Gyantse, drive a short distance to Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet
  • En route stop by a couple of typical farming villages (featuring widest agriculture farmlands in Tibet)
  • Overnight stay in Shigatse
Day 8: Exploration around Shigatse
  • Tour around Tashi Lhunpo, the largest Buddhist monastery in the Tsang province of Tibet. Furthermore, witness the largest gilded statue of Future Buddha in Tibet
  • Briefly visit a charming local Tibetan market in the Shigatse town
  • Overnight stay in Shigatse and rest
Day 9: Shigatse – Lhasa Distance 280kms Elevation 3590m
  • Leave Shigatse for Lhasa, taking the northern tarred surfaced road
  • On the way back to Lhasa stop by and visit Chushu Nam Druk Gompa. Moreover, it is considered as the origin of Drupa Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism.
  • Arrive Lhasa and Rest
Day 10: 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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