Private jet charter to Lhasa
Sitting 3600 metres above sea level on the Himalayan Plateau and surrounded by mountain peaks, is Lhasa, the ‘place of Gods’. It’s the heart of Tibetan Buddhism with grand palaces, ancient temples and monasteries hidden within the winding streets of the old quarter. Lhasa is also a modern city that’s grown quickly in recent years and now covering most of the valley floor.
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Even though Lhasa is a sprawling city, it’s usually just Old Town Lhasa that draws the visitors. During a stay here, you’ll get well acquainted with the Barkhor, a circular, pedestrianised street. Follow the street in a clockwise direction and you’ll be joining hundreds of pilgrims – many in traditional dress – as they spin prayer wheels and dip into temples. There are also lots of shops and stalls lining the streets where you can haggle for souvenirs.
Inside the loop of Barkhor, is the Jokhang Temple. If Lhasa is the centre of Tibetan Buddhism culture and spirituality, then this ancient temple is its beating heart. For centuries it’s been the most important and holiest place of worship for Tibetan Buddhists in the world. The temple was built in the 7th Century to house the valuable dowries given to King Songtsen Gampo on his marriage to Princess Bhrikuti, a member of the Nepalese Licchavi kingdom. It’s since been added to, refurbished and partly damaged during the Chinese invasion of Tibet and a devastating fire in early 2018.
The most striking of Lhasa’s architectural wonders is the UNESCO-listed Potala Palace. Consisting of 13 floors and sitting at the top of a hill 130 metres above the city, it dominates the surrounding skyline and has become an icon of Tibet. Until 1959 it was the winter home of the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. The current Dalai Lama now lives in exile in India and the palace was opened by the Chinese as a museum. It’s still an important spiritual site with many pilgrims making their way up the hill and circling the palace each day.
To the north of the city is the historic Sera Monastery, one of the three main Gelugpa university monasteries in the region. The Tibetan architecture is beautiful with temples and colleges, and there’s a pretty courtyard behind the main temple wherethe resident monks meet to debate Buddhist rituals every afternoon – an unmissable spectacle while you’re in Lhasa.
Head east out of the city for about 34 miles and you’ll reach the beautifully situated Ganden Monastery. Both the kora routes (circumnavigations of the monastery) give you beautiful views over the surrounding mountainous landscapes. While here, don’t miss the Main Assembly Hall and the Tomb of Tsongkhapa. The third of the trilogy of Lhasa monasteries is Drepung – the largest of the three – which sits at the foot of Mountain Gambo Utse.
Tibet is known for its arts and crafts, however, many of the shops in the centre of Lhasa might be selling inauthentic goods made elsewhere in China or in Nepal. To ensure you’re buying handicrafts that have been made locally and using traditional methods, visit the non-profit Dropenling Handicraft Centre. You can even see artists at work here.
The capital city of the Tibet Autonomous Region is served by Lhasa Gonggar airport. It’s one of the highest airports in the world and pilots must be specifically trained for operating at altitude. Simply contact one of our team and we can arrange everything you need to charter a private jet to Lhasa.