Monlam Chenmu Festival
Time & Location
About the event
Duration: 16 days from Xining to Dartsedo Airport.
Tour leader: Tashi Phuntsok
Day 01/ Jan 28th/Tue
Fly in Xining (Tib: Chin:), the capital city of Qinghai province in the western part of China. Your TC trilingual guide and drivers will meet at the Chao Jia Po Airport. You will be in your hotel at the heart of old Xining. We will meet for welcome and orientation dinner at a local Hui (Chinese Muslim) style restaurant.
Qinghai Qinghai is located on the northeastern part of the Tibetan Plateau. The Yellow River originates in the southern part of the province, while the Yangtze and Mekong have their sources in the southwestern part. Qinghai is separated by the Riyue Mountain (Sun and Moon pass) into pastoral and agricultural zones in the west and east.The average elevation of Qinghai is over 3,000 meters (9,800 ft) above sea level. Mountain ranges include the Tanggula Mountains and Kunlun Mountains, with the highest point being Bukadaban Feng at 6,860 meters (22,510 ft). Due to the high altitude, Qinghai has quite cold winters (harsh in the highest elevations), mild summers, and a large diurnal temperature variation. Its mean annual temperature is approximately −5 to 8 °C (23 to 46 °F), with January temperatures ranging from −18 to −7 °C (0 to 19 °F) and July temperatures ranging from 15 to 21 °C (59 to 70 °F). It is also prone to heavy winds as well as sandstorms from February to April. Significant rainfall occurs mainly in summer, while precipitation is very low in winter and spring, and is generally low enough to keep much of the province semi-arid or arid. By area, Qinghai is the largest province in the People's Republic of China (excluding the autonomous regions). Qinghai Lake is the largest salt water lake in China, and the second largest in the world. The Qaidam basin lies in the northwest part of the province. About a third of this resource rich basin is desert. The basin has an altitude between 3000 and 3500 meters. Qinghai is home of nearly one and half million Tibetans, the largest Tibetan populated regions outside of Tibetan Autonomous Region.
Day 02/ Jan 30th Wed – Day 07 – Feb 03rd Mon
Meet all at the hotel lobby after breakfast at 9am. Your drivers and will load your luggage in your car. Frist driving day from Xining toward Rebkong. We will stop for Shachong Monastery. Shachong is one of the six great monasteries for Gelukpa Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. It is located on the top of Amnye Shachong sacred mountain. We will visit the great assembly hall and the Golden Stupa Temple (Tib: Serdung Chenmu). Before we wrap up our visit, we will walk to the Arapacha temple where you can get a great panoramic view of the entire Yellow River. Meet your drivers and driver another one hour to our last destination Rebkong (Tib: Chin: ). Check in Nurbang Inn.
Rebkong is home traditional Tibetan Thangka paintings, the main monastery is Rongwu Gongchen which has 35 other sister monasteries in the region. Rebkong is the large Tibetan populated prefectures and the main economy of the region includes agriculture, Thangka paintings, religious sculptures makings. We will spend next six days to visit some of the most unique and breathtaking Cham ritual festival at Upper and Lower Sangge Shong monasteries and Gomang Monastery where you will attend a public tea offering ceremony. We will also visit local Tibetan homes, dinning at Tibetan houses with local Thangka painters. Drive to the visit some old and remote hermitage sites where you meet with both Bon and Buddhist masters.
We will also set one or two lunches at the monks’ houses or their sunny – cozy courtyards.
Hotel in Rebkong is Norbang Inn is located in the central of the town, it has 24 hour hot shower and good heating system both during the day and night.
Day 07 Feb 03rd
We will leave Rebkong after breakfast driving toward to Labrang. 120k/ 2 approximate 2 hours of scenic driving through crowed villages, farms, valleys. Finally we will reach to Gartse town. It is small Tibetan nomadic town well known for making great yogurt. Continue driver another hour to Labrang. Check in Baoma hotel. Guided tour to Labrang Tashi Kyi Monastery.
Labrang is home of over 2000 monks today and it was founded in 1709 by the first Jamyang Zhépa. It is one of the largest Buddhist monastic universities in Tibet. There are six different collages on specializing different topic of both Tibetan Buddhist studies and Tibetan culture studies. In the early 20th century, it housed several thousand monks. Labrang was also a gathering point for numerous annual religious festivals and was the seat of a Tibetan power base that strove to maintain regional autonomy through the shifting alliances and bloody conflicts that took place between 1700 and 1950. Meet for dinner at Snowy Mountain café.
Day 08 Feb 04th
Drive from Labrang to Machu. Another two hours scenic driving throughout a wildly opened grassland where the local nomads spend their summer in the tents. Lunch in Machu and continue drive another two more hours to Ngawa (Chin: A Ba). You will drive over two snow covered passed and reaching in Ngawa in the early evening. Check in Palzom Hotel.
Day 09 Feb 05th
We will visit Kriti Monastery, the mother monastery of the Gelukpa in the region. After noon, we will drive to Nangshuk and Tokdan Bon monasteries. Before we return to our hotel, we will one last stop to visit Se monastery. It belongs to Jonangpa Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
Day 10 Feb 06th – Day 13 Feb 09th
We will spend next four days to see a complex set of all the Monlam Ritual Festival of both Bon and Buddhism in this great place. There will be horse marching ceremonies in་each monasteries before the actual Cham starts, men are well dressed and walking with horses to the main temples.
Dobdobs (Flighting monks) competing their physical strength by holding heavy woods and heading against pillars. Burning Zor at the end of the ritual with fireworks.
Day 14 Feb 10th
Drive from Ngawa to Barkham (Chin: Ma Er Kang). The capital town of Ngawa Prefecture.
Day 15 Feb 11th
Drive from Barkham to Rongtrak (Chin: Dan Ba).
Day 16 Feb 12
Rongtak to Dartsedo Airport. Fly out