This is the story about one of the most impressive moments we have ever witnessed anywhere. "Saga Dawa is an important Tibetan Buddhist festival, held each year on the full moon day of the fourth lunar month of the Tibetan calendar, to celebrate Sakyamuni's enlightenment", that's what every guidebook will tell you. But actually having been there, at that moment it is more like being part of a magic event, something that gets a total grip on all of your senses. So what's going on? Each year, they replace the Tarboche flagpole, a huge pole that stands round of Kailash. People from all over Tibet gather here that day to attach their prayer flags they brought from home, to pray, and to help erect the flagpole. The flagpole should stand perfectly upright, or else things are not good for Tibet . A Lama leads the whole ceremony from the nearby monastery. It's his job to make it work 'right first time'.
Day of Saga Dawa: People circulate the flagpole that is down on the ground now. They pray and throw 'wind horses' (little pieces of colored paper with Buddhist scriptures on them) into the air. They help to remove last year's prayer flags and attach new ones. As a visitor you are almost forced to follow them as they go around and around, time after time. Along the sides, on the slope of the nearby hills, a lot of people are sitting to watch the 'spectacle' and there are musicians, which play all the time on their horns and symbols.
The flagpole is first erected halfway, using A-structures and ropes. The Lama continually gives instructions on how to do it, when to stop and when to go on. Everyone can help pulling the ropes, that's the 'non-organized' part of it, but there are always plenty of people doing this spontaneously. When they cannot go further using the A-structures, they pause for about half an hour. The Lama sits on the side, and all the time people come to sit in front of them, to talk to him, to give him some gift (mostly some drink!), to ask him for good fortune. They do not 'queue' however, as soon as someone is gone, someone else comes out of the walking crowds - it all seems not organized, but in fact it's a very special way of organization
Then comes the final part, the last step that has to result in the perfect upright position of the flagpole, A steel cable is attached to two trucks, engines are warmed up, and then, on the sign of the Lama, and they go backward, pulling the flagpole. To be able to control the movement, on both sides of the flagpole people pull ropes too, to prevent it doesn't incline to one or the other direction. Once the trucks start moving, it all goes very fast, the flagpole is moving, the A-structures that were supporting it, fall down, and only seconds later it is all over. And then big magic occurs, the flagpole stands upright, and at that very moment, thousands of wind horses fly into the sky... like an explosion of prayers going to the heavens. You can really feel a sudden great sense of happiness surrounding you.
The next moment, people start incubating the flagpole again, this time to assure them the job is well done, and that all is well. We join them in some kind of almost euphoria. Some hours later the place is empty again, except for the tents further away belonging to the people that will spend the night here, maybe to return the next day, or to do the Kailash Round.
Day by Day Itinerary:
Day 01: Arrive in Kathmandu & Trasfer hotel
Day 02: Briefing and preparing visa and tours arrangements
Day 03: drive from Kathmandu to Zhangmu, overnight at gueshouse
Day 04: Drive Zhangmu to Nyalam - Gueshouse
Day 05: Rest and day hiking Nyalam - guest house
Day 06: Drive from Nyalam To Saga
Day 07: Saga to Paryang
Day 08: Drive from Paryang - Manasarovar Lake - Camping
Day 09: Drive from Manasarovar Lake to Tarboche (or Darchen) Camping
Day 10: Attend to the Saga Dawa at Tarboche - Camp
Day 11: Start to the Kora, night camp at Dira Puk - Camp
Day 12: Continue Parikarma over Drom La Pass & Zutul Puk - Camping
Day 13: End Parikarma & Darchen camp
Day 14: Darchen - Manasarovar Lake
Day 15: Drive from Manasarovar to Paryang, night at guest house/Camping
Day 16: Drive from Paryang to Saga, night at guest house/Camping
Day 17: Drive from Saga to Nyalam, night at guest house/Camping
Day 18: Drive from Nyalam to Kathmandu - Hotel
Day 19: Kathmandu - Hotel
Day 20: Final Departure.
Where is Tibet? Tibet is a rich and beautiful land with an average altitude over 4,000m (13,120ft) above sea level. Possessing more than fifty peaks above 7,000m (22,960ft), Tibet is home to eleven Himalayan mountains over 8,000m (26,240ft). China, India, Nepal , Sikkim, Bhutan , Burma and Kashmir border the Tibet.
Tibet - People and Culture: Over two million people inhabit this land of rich natural resources and ancient cultures. Spiritual traditions, temples and monasteries, lakes and rivers, and mighty snow clad peaks are just a few of the intoxicating wonders to be experienced by adventurous travelers destined to visit this place.
Buddhism , with a history of some 1,300 years is shaped into a unique form of "Lamasm". Tibetan history, culture and religion are mixed together and infiltrate every aspect of social life. Tibetan religious arts have a distinctive style with adoption of Indian and Chinese Buddhist influence, thus forming a pearl of Oriental Buddhist art.
People living on the Tibetan plateau, such as Tibetans, Monpas, Lhopas and Moslems, have their own ways of living, marriage, burial and other ceremonies. Festivals in Tibet are in big variety. The Tibetan New Year, the largest festival, is followed by others such as the Wangkor Festival and horse races. For the dead, sky burials, water burials, cremations and stupa burials are practiced, but the sky burial is the most common.
Science and culture in Tibet include technology, medicine, grammar, logic, Buddhist philosophy, rhetoric, words and expressions, syntax, drama and astrology. Tibet is known as the Sea of Songs and Dances; folk songs and dances are diverse, especially during the "Shoton Festival" in August .
How to get there? This unique land is now easily accessible from Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Schedule air services fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa, and back every Tuesday and Saturdays with additional flights on Thursdays from July. This flight last a little over one hour and gives you a panoramic view of the Himalayas. Our sponsors have different package tour programs to this fascinating land. They will will give you a reason to get up early. Please check out their Programs to find out how. A trip not be missed in this lifetime!
The best season for Tibet tour is from the end March to end November each year. From end November to end March it gets too cold and flights do not operate during this period. Flights operate from first week April to end November every year.
The following general rules should be obtained by the Clients/Agency to apply special permit and visa to travel in Tibet.
- Tibet is Autonomous region of China. So you will not get the special permit and Visa for Tibet directly In your country. You have to proceed for permit and Visa for Tibet through our Agency.
- We must receive scan copy of your passport at least 15 days prior to arrival in gateway cities (Kathmandu or Chengdu or any other Chinese cities). Passport must be same and valid for more than 6 months.
- Those entering Tibet via gateway city of Kathmandu , Nepal , must spend at least 2 nights to issue Tibet visa in one of the visa working days i.e. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, client must plan to arrive Kathmandu accordingly if they have limited time. They will also require to bring 2 passport size photos. We shall send client "Chinese embassy visa form" well in advance to be fill up by each client which can either sent to us by email or can be collected upon arrival.
- Except few trips, most of the trips can start from China mainland entering Tibet via gateway city of Chengdu either via train or by air. In this case Client must obtain Chinese visa in their home country and we will organize Tibet permit and handover it through our agent in one of the cities in China before entering Tibet Autonomous region.
- Chinese visa will be valid for China mainland only, do not bring Chinese visa if you are entering via Tibet Autonomous region.
- We supply detail information and briefing upon arrival.
- Kodari Border near Zangmu from Kathmandu
- Through Golmud road to Amdo
- Purang from Simikot
- Kathmandu to Lhasa
- Accommodation On Twin Sharing basis bed & Breakfast in 3 star hotel in Kathmandu
- Sightseeing in Kathmandu with Italian guided.
- Budget lodges or hotel in Tibet best available en-route very basic.
- English Speaking Tibetan Guide
- Privet Japanese Lancruiser Jeep + 1 Support Truck for carrying staff, food
- Kathmandu - Nepal - Tibet border - Kathmandu privet land transfer
- Yaks & Yak-Man For Porte Range During round Kailash
- Sightseeing Tour and Everest Base Camp Permit
- Kailash Permit Monastery Entrance Fees
- All Tibet Travel Permit & Normal Tibet Visa Fee.
- All Camping tent, Mat, Table & Chair
- Guide, Cook & Kitchen Crews
- Food- Breakfast, Lunch, dinner & Snacks
- Gamow Bag (life saving device incase of altitude sickness)
- Insurance for trekking crews
- Farwell dinner
Cost does not include:
- Nepal Re - Entry Visa Fee
- Your Travel Insurance
- Bar bills & Beverage
- Lunch & Diner in Kathmandu
- Sleeping bag & Jackets as well as personal equipment.
- Phone calls & Laundry