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Amdo Tour
HomeChina Tours Amdo Tour Amdo Tour : Old Monasteries in Amdo

TIBTE travel, without Tibet travel Permit
— Why not travel to Amdo ?

For foreign tourists, travel to Tibet( Tibet Autonomous Region ) is required a TTP ( Tibet travel Permit ). Since 2012 May, only the group with
than 5 person of same nationality can apply the TTP. why not travel to Amdo? The Amdo and Kham regions, also considered to be TIBET
to the Tibetan people, make up 50% of the land mass of the Tibetan Plateau and are home to 60% of the total Tibetan population. In many
regards, the Amdo and Kham regions are better places to go to experience traditional Tibetan culture. Most repeat travellers to Tibet agree
that Amdo are the best regions of Tibet to travel to.

Amdo Tour
AmdoSituation of the east Tibetan region of Amdo ( Chinese: 安多), is one of the three
traditional areas of Tibet, the other two being U-Tsang and Kham. Amdo was and is the
home of many important Tibetan Buddhist monk scholars or lamas who had a major
influence on both politics and religious development of Tibet, including the 14th Dalai Lama
, the 10th Panchen Lama, and the great reformer Je Tsongkhapa. It was traditionally a place
of great learning and scholarship and contains many great monasteries including Kumbum
Jampa Ling (Ta’er Si) near Xining, Labrang Tashi Khyil south of Lanzhou, and the Kirti
Monasteries of Ngaba and Tewo (Taktsang Lhamo).
There are many dialects of the Amdo language due to the geographical isolation of many
tribal groups. The (Tibetan) inhabitants in Amdo call themselves Amdowa (Amdo pa), and
not Böpa (Bod pa), which is the Tibetan word of Central Tibetans. The region of Amdo is
distributed mainly among the Chinese provinces of Qinghai, Gansu and Sichuan. Amdo is
a large area of northeastern Tibet, it encompasses the section from the Yellow River
northeastward to Gansu province in China. As Amdo is a large area and consists of a number of different regions, it is difficult to accurately
summarize the history of the entire region of Amdo. Each smaller district/region has its own unique and long history.

[ Tour Code: EL-AMT-002 ]
Xining-Lijiaxia-Tongren-Xiahe-Hezuo-Lanzhou (9 days / 8 nights)

Old Monasteries in Amdo

Situation of the east Tibetan region of Amdo, is one of the three traditional areas of Tibet. Amdo was and is the home of many important Tibetan
Buddhist monk scholars or lamas who had a major influence on both politics and religious development of Tibet, including the 14th Dalai Lama,
the 10th Panchen Lama, and the great reformer Je Tsongkhapa. It was traditionally a place of great learning and scholarship and contains many
great monasteries including Kumbum Jampa Ling (Ta’er Si) near Xining, Labrang Tashi Khyil south of Lanzhou, and the Kirti Monasteries of Ngaba
and Tewo (Taktsang Lhamo).

Day01    Arrive XiningArrive in Xining, the capital of Qinghai Province (Amdo in Tibet), located on the east-north of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Enjoy a
city tour if the time is possible. Stay overnight in Xining. (D)

Day02    Xining-Drotsang (Ledu)-Gonlung (Huzhu)-Xining

Drive 96km to Qutan Si (Drotsang Gonpa, 瞿坛寺). In Tibetan Drotsang means granary,
local people call it “Lakhang on” meaning a place where is in a Buddhist temple. Before
1958, the whole county had 31 monasteries for local Tibetan, Mongolia and Tu People with
total population more than 30,000, now there are about 17 monasteries are left. The most
famous one is Drotsang Monastery built in 1392. The original images and unique murals
around the monastery wall are exciting to see. Now it has 40 monks. Then we drive 96km
to Youning Si (Gonlung Jampaling, 佑宁寺), built in 1604, now housing 400 monks. The
Third Dalai Lama came here to give lectures of Buddhism in 1584 and requested by the
local people to build a monastery. The Fourth Dalai Lama, a Great Mongolian, passed here
on the way from Mongolia to Lhasa in 1602. Then he sent a living Buddha from Lhasa to
build a temple. Before 1958, the monastery once has more than 7000 monks. The
monastery was specially built for the local Tu People, a very rare and small nationality who
honors their tribe is descendant of Mongolia army settled here since 13th century, the Tu
women wearing distinctly colorful striped dresses can be seen in villages and speak their own language but has no written language. Finally we
drive 50km return to Xining for overnight. (B,L,D)


Day03    Xining-Lijiaxia We drive 30km to Ta’er Si (Kumbum, 塔尔寺). The Gelukpa (Yellow sect) founder Tsongkhapa was born here in 1357
and the Third Dalai Lama built this monastery in 1560 in memory of this great master. It is
one of the six important and famous Gelukpa high institute monasteries in whole Tibet.
Two of Tsongkhapa important disciples became the Gelukpa ancestors of Living Buddha
system, Dalai and Panchen Lama. The high level art works of its old frescos, appliqués
and butter sculptures are known as three wonders of the monastery and now it has 500
monks. Then, we drive for 120km to visit Shachong Monastery (Jakhyung Shedrubling,
. This is one of the most historic and renowned Gelukpa monasteries of Amdo,
founded in 1349 by Lama Dondrub Rinchen (1309-1385), the teacher of Tsongkhapa.
Prior to the Gelukpa foundation, Karmapa 2, Karmapakshi in the 12th century, had built an
earlier monastery on the same site. Later, following the Gelukpa foundation in 1409, the
monastery was listed, along with Serkhok, Chubzang and Gonlung, as one of the four
great monasteries of the north, a phrase used in Amdo to signify the oldest and most
significant Gelukpa institutions of the region. It was here that Tsongkhapa became a monk to study Buddhism when he was seven years old, and
studied until leaving Amdo for Lhasa at the age of 16 in 1372. Historically, several scholars had studied here and later became the teachers of
Dalai Lama 7, 8, 9 and 10. The monastery once housed more than 3000 monks and now has 400 monks to study here. Then we drive 40km to
Lijiaxia. (B,L,D)

Day04    Lijiaxia-Kanbula-Lijiaxia With a total area of 4,774 hectares, Kanbula National
Forest Park
is located in Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous
Prefecture in rural Kanbula Jianzha County. With an altitude of 2,100 to 4,000 meters
above sea level, it borders on the Yellow River in the north, abutting against the famous
Liajiaxia Hydroelectric Power Station. Lofty mountains extend far away with trees covered
resembling a forest sea. The weather amid the mountains can change very frequently.
There are deflated hills formed in the northwest of Qaidam Basin for the long-term
erosion of wind and sand, which are called red-cloud landforms. The unique Kanbula
red-cloud landforms are mainly featured by wonderful peaks, high mountains, caves,
precipitous cliffs and many rock peaks, stone columns and stone walls in shapes. The
large mountains look like grand and vertical column, tower or castle; the small hills look
like giant and strange animal of odd shapes. “Meeting of Fairies”, “Qiangqi Hill” and
“Nanzong Valley”, are the most representatives of the landforms in various appreciable
shapes. Pay a visit to Achung Namdzong (阿琼南宗寺), red sect monastery, Sangak
Tengyeling, built in 1814 and surrounded by beautiful red mountain peaks, a very quiet and holy place, including a biggest Nyingmapa nunnery,
Samten Chopeling nearby housing 200 nuns, it is said it was built in 13th century. During the eighth century, Padmasambhava, a great Tantric
master who first introduced Buddhism to Tibet, blessed his power to the Local Mountain God to be a local protector and spread deep knowledge
of Buddhism and wisdom to the ground where since then became a strong magnetic field of Buddhism. Many Lamas and monks came here to
study Buddhism and to meditate in some caves. Some of them made a great achievement to the Tibetan Buddhism and become famous masters
, such as, Tsang Rabsel, Mar Shakyamuni, Yo-ge Jung and Lhalung Pelgyi Dorje. They preserved the monastic lineage and their disciples started
the Later Diffusion of Buddhism in central Tibet after the King Langdarma’s severe Movement of Persecution of Buddhism during the 9th century.

Day05    Lijiaxia-Tongren (Rebkong) After breakfast, we drive 90km (about 2 hours) to Tongren (Repkong, Alt: 2400m). Visit the Longwu
Monastery (Tibetan: Rongpo Gonchen隆务寺)
, an important and the local biggest
monastery, built in 1301. At beginning it was Sakyapa monastery, after 17th century, the Fifth
Daly Lama changed it into Gelukpa and once was the political and administration center in
Repkong area. Now it has 450 monks. In the afternoon we visit Gomar Monastery (郭麻日
built in 1741 and now it has 160 monks inhabited. This small but beautiful monastery is
famous for its colorful 7-storey Astronomy (Tibetan: Dhekor; Sanskrit: Kalachakra) stupa,
mainly used for monks to realize and understand time and space to work out every year’s
new Tibetan calendar and relationship between our globe with universe. The monks and
the village people are also renowned for their handcraft application. (B,L,D)

Day06     Tongren In the morning, we visit the famous Tibetan art school, Sengeshong Magotsang (五屯上寺和五屯下寺) which was funded
during the 15th century and after 16th century Repkong became the hometown of Tibetan art in Amdo. All monks here have good training of painting
and sculptures and are often invited to make fine art works in many monasteries or private houses by Tibetan in whole Tibet even nowadays. We
will visit some of monks’ houses. We also visit the local Museum: Repkong art Museum (热贡艺术馆), a lot of Repkong art collections are
enshrined in it. (B,L,D)

Day07    Tongren-Xiahe  After breakfast, we drive 130km (about 4 hours) to Xiahe (Alt: 2800m). On the way, we pass grassland, forestry,
agricultural land and beautiful Red Mountain valley. Upon arrival, visit Labrang Monastery
, one of the leading Yellow sect monasteries, well-known as a great monastic university..
Built in 1709, now it has 1000 monks. It is one of the six most important Gelukpa (the Yellow Sect)
monasteries in whole Tibet and a center of Tibetan learning in Eastern Tibet. Our Tibetan guide
will show you the impressive interior of the Assembly hall and other temples. You will be
introduced to the Buddha images and numerous protective deities. The importance of textiles on
the interiors and exteriors of the monasteries will be brought home to us. In the afternoon, explore
the Tibetan antique shops as well as the shops providing for the needs of monks and the
monastery. One finds for sale religious Tangkhas, Buddha statues, prayer flags, a range of
monks clothing, rolls of cloth, hand-printed sutras as well as a nomadic jewelers. Many of the
shopkeepers are Muslims; know locally as Hui Hui, so bargaining is the order of the day. You can
also find many Tibetan nomads who come here for pilgrimage and after their religious practice
they buy textiles for their clothing and jewelers along numerous Tibetan shops. (B,L,D)

Day08    Xiahe-Hezuo-Lanzhou  

We drive 90km to visit Hezuo Milarepa Monastery (合作寺). It was first built in 1777, the forty second
year of Qian Long in Qing dynasty. The original was destroyed in the Institutional Revolution and the
existent architecture was rebuilt in May in 1988 what was spend 4 years. It belongs to Geju faction in
Tibetan Buddha and is one of the most lamasery in Amdo Tibetan area. The building own nine floors
what are used to sacrifice Buddha of Milaripa and his disciples. There are 1720 Figure of Buddha
including Jin Gang and four secret Cheng as Bodhisattva. Imaging the content of Tibetan Buddha, the
paintings are large and very fancy what stand for the painting level own a high value in Art. Drive to
Lanzhou. Visit the White Pagoda or the Gansu Provincial Museum, housed collections of various
color-painted potteries of Neolithic Age and treasures of ancient grottoes. Stay overnight in Lanzhou.


Day09    Depart from Lanzhou Transfer to the airport, and fly out of Lanzhou. (B)


Note: B(breakfast)  L(lunch)  D(dinner)

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