Following the Footsteps of the Sakyapa Masters

Sakyapa Masters

Tour Type: Private group tour

Tour Duration: 9 days and 8 nights

Best Time: April to October


Group size: 4 – 16 people

A Glimpse into Sakya School

The Sakya order traces its origins to India, particularly to the great adept Virupa, who is the first human to disseminate the most distinctive of its teachings, the practices of “Path and Result” (Lamdri).

It is one of the four major religious traditions that existed in Tibet. The order rose to play a significant role in the development and spread of the new Tantras. It came to Tibet in the 11th century. During the 13th and 14th centuries, the holders of the Sakya tradition were also the principal political powers. It ruled over Tibet. Although its political stature gradually declined over the centuries. Its emphasis on its unique religious traditions continued to be nurtured and sustained.

Consequently, the Sakya tradition strengthened and flourished and produced many great and distinguished practitioners, saints, and scholars. The origins of the Sakya tradition are closely connected with the ancestral lineage of the Khön family. Moreover, a family which itself originated from celestial beings. Beginning with Khön Konchok Gyalpo (1034-1102), the founder of the Sakya tradition, the lineage continues to be unbroken to this day.

Not unlike the other traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, a number of sub-traditions gradually emerged within the main Sakya tradition.

The lineages of teachings within the discipline instituted by Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo (1382-1457). In addition, the successive masters of this discipline, namely Konchok Lhundrup, Thartse Namkha Palsang, and Drubkhang Palden Dhondup have come to be known as the Ngor lineage. The lineage of Tsarchen Losel Gyatso (1502-1556), known as the Whispered Lineage of Tsar. It also includes the secret doctrines of the greater or lesser Mahakala, Vajrayogini, Dzambala, and others. In addition, it is known as the Tsar tradition. Another important tradition that arose was the Dzongpa tradition founded by Dzongpa Kuna Namgyal (1432-1496).

To use a simple illustration, the Sakya School of the divine Khön lineage might represent the main trunk of a tree. From which the Ngorpa and Tsarpa schools branch out in different directions. However, it essentially remains connected at the source.

The teaching and practice that is the essence of the Sakya tradition are called “Lamdre (Lam/bras)”. Moreover, it also called “The Path and its Fruit”. Fundamentally, the philosophical viewpoint expressed in “The Path and its Fruit,”. It is the “Non-differentiation of Samsara and Nirvana.” According to this view, an individual cannot attain Nirvana or cyclic existence. Because the mind is the root of both Samara and Nirvana. When the mind is obscured, it takes the form of Samsara and when the mind is freed of obstructions. It takes the form of Nirvana. The ultimate reality is that a person must strive to realize this fundamental inseparability through mediation.

Thematic Tour Overview:

Your key focus of this authentic private group tour programme aims to trace back in time and visit some of the most important sights of Tibetan Sakya monasteries, temples and hermitage caves objectively to explore and learn the mythic and inspirational stories of the great Sakya masters. As part of the key focus of your thematic tour in “Following the Footsteps of the Sakya Masters”, the tour covers the following important seats of Sakya Buddhist tradition. They all are treasuring with the rich history in teachings from past and present of Sakya masters of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet.

  1. Sakya monastery the principal monastery of the Sakyapa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It has over 900 year’s history
  2. Ngor monastery founded by Ngorchen Kunga Sangpo in 1429. It renowned for its rich library of Sanskrit texts and magnificent 15th century Newar derived paintings
  3. Nalanda monastery founded by renowned scholar Rongton Chenpo Mawei Senge in 1435. He recognized as one of the “Six Jewels of Tibet”
  4. Gongga Chode founded in 1464 by Dorjedenpa Kunga Namgyel of the Sakya school. In addition, it contained important extant murals typical of the free-flowing Khyenri school of painting. Which were the original work of Yamyang Khyentse Wangchuk (b 1524)

The trip will also take us through a classic route in central west Tibet, to witness marvelous 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 Lhunpo 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. Moreover, these include the Potala Palace and the Jokhang Temple. Get an ample chance to visit and observe the traditional life of the indigenous Tibetan rural communities. Moreover, to visit the handicraft center to see and learn the extraordinary array of authentic Tibetan traditional handicraft. Furthermore, to see and learn the 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) and Tibetan Handicraft Centre
  • To visit either to a traditional Tibetan Farmer’s Village or Green Grasslands Nomad Tent. Furthermore, to experience first-hand the lifestyle of indigenous Tibetan rural communities. Gaining experiences by joining them herding yaks and sheep, making chesses, yoghurt and butter. Taste locally made snacks
  • Visit Shol Dhenpa Handicraft center. Moreover, to see and learn the extraordinary array of authentic Tibetan traditional handicraft. Moreover, to see and learn 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. In addition, 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 – Gyantse – Shigatse Distance 360kms Elevation 3980m
  • Depart Lhasa early in the morning, all day overland drive, transiting through:
  • Yamdrok Lake – a beautiful freshwater lake
  • Karo La Pass – an amazing alpine view of the holy Mt. Nyenchen Kangsar glacier in the backdrop
  • Arrive in Gyantse, a small, but prominent town in Tibet
  • Visit the Pelkor Chode Monastery, and the Gyantse Kumbum – a 32 Metres (105 ft) high structure. It is 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 – Sakya Monastery – Ngor Monastery Distance 200kms Elevation 4310m
  • Leave Shigatse for Sakya monastery early in the morning
  • Take a detour and visit Sakya monastery –the principal monastery of the Sakyapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism with over 900 year’s history
  • Head back to Shigatse, on the way back, the turn-off for and visit Ngor monastery. It is an important monastic learning center of the Sakya lineage in Buddhism
  • Back to Shigatse and rest
Day 6: Shigatse – Lhasa Distance 280kms Elevation 4500m
  • Tour around Tashi Lhunpo monastery, to witness the largest gilded statue of Future Buddha in Tibet. Indeed a historic and culturally important Buddhist monastery
  • Leave Shigatse and travel back to Lhasa, taking the Northern tarred Route
  • Arrive Lhasa and Rest
Day 7: Lhasa – Nalanda Monastery Distance 80kms Elevation 4000m
  • Set off for Nalanda Monastery, stop by a couple of farmers’ villages en route
  • Tour around Nalanda monastery – an important seat of Sakya tradition of Tibetan Buddhism
  • Double back to Lhasa and Rest
Day 8: Lhasa – Gongga Chode Monastery Distance 75kms Elevation 3650m
  • Set off for Gongga Chode Monastery
  • Tour around Gongga Chode monastery – an important seat of Sakya tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Moreover, it contained important extant murals, typical of the free-flowing Khyenri school of painting
  • Double back to Lhasa and Rest
Day 9: Depart Lhasa
  • Transfer to the Lhasa airport or train station
  • Depart Tibet


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Sakya Sect

The Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism traces its origins to India, particularly to the great adept Virupa, who is the first human to disseminate the most distinctive of its teachings, the practices of “Path and Result” (Lamdre).

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 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 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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About Us:

Tibet Universal Tours and Travel is a fully officially licensed international tour operator based in Lhasa, owned and managed by 100% local Tibetans. One of the most respected, longest running and best-reviewed tour operators since 1997.

Over 20 years of experience in the Tibet travel industry, our team consists of the best and experienced Tibet travel guides that will show you the best that this extraordinary place has to offer, unravel all the undiscovered beauty of Tibet unique culture and tradition in front of you.  Whether a guest is looking to join a Tibet group tour or take a private tailor-made journey, we are the best choice.

Other than the above services, we provide stop over tour services in Nepal, Bhutan, and cities in Mainland China, you can also be booking your Tibet Flight and Tibet Train tickets with us. So, what are you waiting for? Reach us to embark on a trip that will last for a lifetime with Tibet Universal Tours and Travel!!!

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