Tibetan New Year

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The celebration of of Tibetan New year known as Losar in Tibetan predates Buddhism in Tibet and can be traced back to the pre-Buddhist Bön period. In this early Bön tradition, every winter a spiritual ceremony was held, in which people offered large quantities of incense to appease the local spirits, deities and 'protectors' (Tibetan: chos skyong; Sanskrit: dharmapalas). This religious festival later evolved into an annual Buddhist festival which is believed to have originated during the reign of Pude Gungyal, the ninth King of Tibet. The festival is said to have begun when an old woman named Belma introduced the measurement of time based on the phases of the moon. The Tibetan New Year festival took place during the flowering of the apricot trees in autumn in the Lhokha Yarla Shampo region and Kongpo or Nyingtri in the eastern forest region of Tibet, and it may have been the first celebration of what has become the traditional farmers' festival. It was during this period that the arts of cultivation, irrigation, refining iron from ore and building bridges were first introduced in Tibet. The ceremonies which were instituted to celebrate these new capabilities can be recognized as precursors of the Losar festival. Later when the rudiments of astrology, based on the five elements, were introduced in Tibet, this farmer's festival became what we now call the Losar or New Year's festival.

The Tibetan New Year or Losar is also known as Bal Gyal Lo. Bal is Tibet, Gyal is King, Lo is year. The Tibetan New Year has been celebrated since the first King's enthronement celebration. It was started with the first King. That was why it has been known as Bal Gyal Lo.

Tibet Tibetan New Year or Losar is celebrated for 15 days, with the main celebrations on the first three days. On the first day of Losar, a beverage called Changkol is made from Chhaang (a Tibetan cousin of beer). The second day of Losar is known as King's Losar (gyalpo losar). Losar is traditionally preceded by the five day practice of Vajrakilaya. Because the Uyghurs adopted the Chinese calendar, and the Mongols and Tibetans adopted the Uyghur calendar, Losar occurs near or on the same day as the Chinese New Year and the Mongolian New Year, but the traditions of Losar are unique to Tibet, and predates both Indian and Chinese influences. Originally, ancient celebrations of Losar occurred solely on the winter solstice, and was only moved to coincide with the Chinese and Mongolian New Year by a leader of the Gelug school of Buddhism.

The Tibetan New Year or Losar is also celebrated by Yolmo, Sherpa, Tamang, Gurung, and Bhutia, although different regions in the country have their own respective new year. Losar is also celebrated by Tibetan Buddhists Worldwide.

The Tibetan new year is one of the biggest and richest Losar festivals in the world and it is celebrated in different months in different regions such as Tsang Losar known as agriculture Losar, celebrated in the 12th month of Lunar month, Kongpo Losar, also celebrated in the 12th months of Lunar month. Nevertheless the most well-known Losar is the King Losar which is very widely celebrated throughout Tibet.

The Tibetan New Year is colorful festival days with many traditional activities. Family members gather together in their parents home and celebrate Losar by dressing in their finest clothes. There are many activities in every town including horse racing, folk dancing and songs, body wrestling, rock lifting competitions and many other religious activities.

Lhasa is the best place to be. during Losar. There are many religious activities, and family parties. Pilgrims throng to the Jokang, Drepung, Sera and Neichung temples making incense and butter lamp offerings. During Losar, you can see full of Tibetans pilgrims go to Jokang temple, Potala etc in their beautiful traditional clothes.

Days Trip Outline Daily Activity Accommodation Guide & Driver Meal
Gongkar airport, airport tunnel, Bharmaputra river, Kyichu river, Lhasa city. Hotel in Lhasa Local Tibetan BB
02 Sightseeing tour in Lhasa-Tibetan New Year Festival Visit Potala Palace, Jokang temple, Bharkor-have dinner in a Tibetan family Hotel in Lhasa Local Tibetan BB
03 Sightseeing tour in Lhasa-Tibetan New Year Festival Visit Drepung and Sera monasteries-thousands of Tibetan pilgrims in beautiful traditional dress-monastery ceremony Hotel in Lhasa Local Tibetan BB
04 Lhasa to Ganden monastery-Tibetan farmer;s family visit-Lhasa Visit Ganden monastery-Tibetan farmers family visit and lunch with them during Tibetan New Year Hotel in Lhasa Local Tibetan BB
05 Lhasa to Tsetang (3600m/180km) Visit Samye monastery-thousand of pilgrims-monastery ceremony and ritual-Tsetang-Yumbu Lhakang and Traduk temple Hotel in Tsetang Local Tibetan BB
06 Tsetang to Gyantse (3950m/340km) Yamdrok lake-Karola glacier-Gyantse-Tibetan New Year Festival with a Tibetan family visit on the way Hotel in Gyantse Local Tibetan BB
07 Gyantse to Shigatse (3900m/90km) Visit Palchoe monastery and Kubum in Gyantse, thousand of Pilgrims and monastery ceremony and ritual for Losar-Shigatse Hotel in Shigatse Local Tibetan BB
08 Shigatse to Lhasa (3650m/280km) Visit Tashi Lhunpo monastery-thousand of pilgrims and monastery ceremony-Barhmaputra-Lhasa Hotel in Lhasa Local Tibetan BB
09 Drive to Lhasa Gongkar airport.(3600Mts/ 60Km ) Lhasa holy city-Kyichu valley-Barhmaputra-Lhasa airport
  • Train into Tibet from Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an, Guangzhou,Xining, Lanzhou or flight in or from Kathmandu, Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an, Guangzhou, Lanzhou

  • Day 01: Arrival at Lhasa Gongkar airport and transfer to Lhasa.(3650Mts/ 60Km ) Hotel on B.B

    You will be warmly welcome by our Tibetan guide and driver and accompany you to the holy city of Lhasa along with the view of Bharmaputra, known as Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibetan and a giant stone carved Buddha with more than a thousand years history.

  • Day 2: Sightseeing tour in Lhasa, Potala Palace, Jokang temple, Bharkor Bazar- dinner at a Tibetan family and have party with the family. Hotel on B.B

    Visit Potala Palace, the great Palace of the Dalai Lama, originally built in the 7th century and expended to the present site in the 17th century by the great fifth Dalai Lama. Visit Jokang temple and Bharkor Bazzar, built in the 7th century by Tibetan King Songtsan Gampo. You will take dinner with a Tibetan family to experience the real Tibetan New Year Festival and have party with them.

  • Day 3: Sightseeing tour in Lhasa, Drepung and Sera monasteries-monastery ceremony. Hotel on B.B

    Visit Drepung monastery in the morning, the largest monastery in the central Tibet and enjoy visiting the monastery with thousand of Pilgrims in a beautiful Tibetan traditional dress up and big ceremony in the monastery. Visit Sera monastery in the afternoon, second largest monastery of Tibet and enjoy being with local pilgrims in their beautiful traditional costumes and dress.

  • Day 04: Lhasa-Gaden monastery-family visit and having parties with family members. Hotel on B.B

    After breakfast, excursion to Ganden monastery. On the way, you will see beautiful Tibetan villages, celebrating the Losar. All the people in the villages dress up with Tibetan traditional clothes. In some of the places, it is also possible to see folk dancing or horse racing during the Losar. After 1 hr drive, you will reach Ganden monastery. It will be much more interesting to visit Ganden monastery during the Tibetan Losar because there will be lots of pilgrimages and the monks will hold ceremony every year in the monastery. On the way back, we will visit a family and experience the Tibetan Losar with local people and have parties together.

  • Day 05: Drive from Lhasa-Samye monastery-Tsetang.(3600Mts/ 180Km ) Hotel on B.B

    You will start your tour at 8Am and drive along the Lhasa river where it joins the Bharmaputra river at Chushur bridge. You will leave your vehicle at Samye ferry and take a motor boat to Samye monastery by crossing the Bharmaputra river which takes an hour to get to the other side river and then we will take monastery bus or truck to which takes half an hour to get to Samye monastery. After the Samye monastery sightseeing, you will have lunch in the monastery restaurant and then continue your journey back to ferry side and get to Tsetang after half an hour drive. We will directly drive to Yumbu Lhakang which is 30Km outside of Tsetang town. Visit Yumbu Lhakang and Traduk temple on the way back.

  • Day 06: Drive from Tsetang to Gyantse.(3950Mts/ 360Km ) Hotel on B.B

    You will start your tour at around 8.30Am from your hotel and then drive towards Gyangtse through 3 big mountain passes, Kampa La, Karo La, Simila respectively. Karola is the highest pass among them which is over 5000Mts with it's most beautiful glaciers, beautiful Yamdrok lake emerged as coral color from the top of Kampala pass. You will have your lunch at Nakartse country which is just between the Yamdrok lake and Karola glaciers.

  • Day 07: Drive from Gyantse to Shigatse. (3900mts/ 90Km ) Hotel on B.B

    You will start your tour at around 9Am from your hotel and then drive towards Palchoe monastery for a few minutes. Visit Palchoe monastery and Kubum Pagoda stupa. After the sightseeing, You will have your lunch and then continue your journey to Shigatse by passing one of the biggest farming land in Tibet where people grow barley, wheat, different kinds of vegetables. Pm visit Tashi Lhunpo monastery and old market of Shigatse.

  • Day 08: Drive from Shigatse to Lhasa (3650Mts/ 280KM ) Hotel on B.B

    You will start your tour at around 9.30Am from your hotel and drive along the Bharmaputra river with a landscape of sandy hills, villages, and Rulak Yungdrung ling at the otherside of the river. You will have lunch in a small town called Nyenmo which is the border point between Shigatse and Lhasa . Free afternoon for shopping.

  • Day : Drive from Lhasa to Gongkar airport. ( 3600Mts/60Km )

    Say good bye to the most famous Palace in the world, Potala and ancient city of Lhasa. Drive along the Lhasa river which is the biggest tributary of Bharmaputra, emptied in to the bay of Bengal in India.

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