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2018 Monlam Prayer Festival in Aba

Itinerary Highlight:

  1. Join in one of the largest and grandest religious festival in Tibetan area – Monlam Prayer Festival.
    Originated in Tibetan lunar calendar, the seventh year during Emperor Yongle period (AD 1409), Gelugpa Master Tsongkhapa advocated to hold the buddhist blessing dharma assembly in the Jokhang Temple for the first time. The Second Dalai Lama decided to hold the assembly annually and made it a convention. Monlam Prayer Festival is held from January 3 to January 17 in Tibetan lunar calendar each year. This celebration is combined by two parts, one is that monks gathering together to chant, the other is outdoor religious ceremony. Monlam Prayer Festival is one of the largest and grandest religious festival in Tibetan area. During the festival in Aba County, many temples including kirti gompa monastery, Gemo monastery, langyi monastery(largest Bon monastery in the world), Amchok Tsenyi Gompa(Chali monastery), Saige monastery, Dege monastery, will hold activities like chanting, dancing, unveil the Buddha, praying, exorcising devils, kora and other Buddhist activities. Tourist will enjoy various unique religious ceremonies of pray, Buddha, Tibetan costumes, masks, drums, Buddha instruments, Thangka, Yak butter flower and other religious culture. The whole day will be veiled within the mysterious religious atmosphere. Pilgrims from Sichuan-Gansu-Qinghai-Tibet areas will be more than ten thousand.
  2. Grand scene of Unveil Thangka(Thangka Unfolding). Thangka Unfolding is a traditional festival of Tibetan people, usually held in early February and in the middle of April or June in Tibetan calendar. Unveil Thangka(Thangka Unfolding) is to carry out the valuable and huge embroidered Thangka from the monastery (usually they are rolled in and collected inside the monastery), and to display them for the pilgrims to worship. During that day, Tibetan people will dress up and go to the local monastery for preparation of Unveiling Thangka. When the ceremony starts, all Tibetan men carry the red-cloth roll of Thangka from the pavilion of the temple. Meanwhile, Tibetan lama start to play Buddha music, Tibetan people will follow the music band, and “invite” Buddha to the sunny and clean slope. Then they will roll out the red-cloth of Buddha along the slope. At this holt moment, devout Tibetan people will kneel down before Buddha, kowtow, chant, and wish for a blessing from Buddha that their family will be safe and happy.
  3. One of the grandest religious activity in Tibetan Buddha temple – Mask Dancing. As one of the grandest religious activity in Tibetan Buddhist Monastery, this is a kind of religious dance played by lama monks during dharma assembly in Tibetan area. There are three forms of dance: single dance, double dance and group dance. During dances, they will wear mask, long gown, colorful cloth, knife and shield. The accompaniment of the instruments includes dance cymbals, horns, surnay and so on.
  4. Visiting of tibetan buddhist monasteries of Gelugpa, Jonangpa and monastery of Bon religion!

Dates & Prices:

Date Group size Price per person
February, 2018 3 Persons USD790
February, 2018 4-10 Persons USD690

Itinerary:

D1(February, 2018): Arrival in Chengdu
pick you up from the airport, transfer to hotel in downtown of chengdu.

Neals: No Meals
Overnight: minshan lhasa grand hotel

D2(February, 2018): Chengdu—Qiang village in Taoping

Qiang village in Taoping is 139 KM from Chengdu, which is the key national protection unit.
Qiang village in Taoping is the most complete reserved architecture complex of towers where people still live there and civil buildings in the world, titled as “Natural Air-conditioner”. Coupled with the perfect groundwater network, roads to all directions, and maze architecture of towers and civil buildings, it is called “Qiang Architecture Art Living Fossil” and “Mysterious Oriental Castle”.

Meals: B/L/D
Overnight: shalang qiang style hotel

D3(February, 2018): Qiang village in Taoping—Aba County
Get familiar with the landform and monasteries. Be prepared for shooting.

Meals: B/L/D
Overnight: Aba Paldzom Hotel(Jude Hotel)

D4(February, 2018): Aba (Day of Thangka unfolding)
Join in monlam festival to watch the monks unveiling Thangka, Shooting in kirti gompa monastery, Gemo monastery and langyi monastery, today will be highlights of Monlam festival.

Meals: B/L/D
Overnight: Aba Paldzom Hotel(Jude Hotel)

D5(February, 2018): Aba (Day of Dancing)
Join in monlam festival to watch the monks dancing.
Shooting in kirti gompa monastery, Gemo monastery and langyi monastery, it’s another day of highlights of monlam festival.

Meals: B/L/D
Overnight: Aba Paldzom Hotel(Jude Hotel)

D6(February, 2018): Aba—Chengdu
Drive back to Chengdu after breakfast.

Meals: B/L/D
Overnight: minshan lhasa grand hotel

Your Hotels:
Chengdu: Minshan Lhasa Grand Hotels, 2 nights
Taoping village: Shalang Qiang Style Hotel, 1 night
Aba County: Aba Paldzom Hotel(Jude Hotel), 3 nights.

What’s Included
• Entrance to attractions listed in the itinerary
• Hotel accommodation: 6 nights
• All the Meals(5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches and 5 Dinner) during this itinerary except first day.
• Private transfers between the airport, attractions and hotels
• Private English-speaking tour guide and driver service throughout the tour

Intro to Monlam Prayer Festival:

Monlam festival(AKA Molang Festival), held in January of lunar calendar, is one of most important festival in Tibetan area. It is originated from the blessing dharma assembly in Lhasa held in lunar January of Tibetan calendar (AD 1409), by Master Tsongkhapa. During Tsongkhapa’s creative exuberant period, he advocated to make rectification and reform on Tibetan Buddhism. Also he realized that he should implement the Buddhist philosophy into reaction. He set an example for others, made strict discipline and temple management, and focused on rebuilding the temple, to redevelop the career of Tibetan Buddhism. Therefore, he developed his fame by his management and reactions. In AD 1407, after Tsongkhapa went back Lhasa, he negotiated and decided to hold the blessing dharma assembly in the Jokhang Temple of Lhasa in the third year. To prepare this assembly, he rejected Emperor Yongle, Zhudi’s invitation to visit the capital at that time. In early lunar January, Tsongkhapa held ten-thousand blessing dharma assembly in the Jokhang Temple of Lhasa as expected, which was fairly grand and magnificent. Afterwards lunar blessing dharma assembly is developed into a convention in Gelugpa temple.

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