Destination Himalaya

Sanjay Saxena recipient Conde Nast Top Travel Specialist Award for India, Tibet, Nepal, Sri Lanka
India, Tibet, Nepal & Sri Lanka

Festivals of Tibet Photo Cultural Tour

Overland journey from Lhasa to Kathmandu via Everest's North Face with Sanjay Saxena

Himalaya – the name says it all. Straddling the border between Tibet and its southerly neighbor, the Kingdom of Nepal, the world’s tallest mountains soar to the heavens, seemingly piercing the unimaginably blue Tibetan skies. For the peoples of the Himalayan kingdoms, these mountains are sacred; for on their lofty heights dwell the gods and goddesses of the Indic religious traditions of Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. In fact, the mountains themselves are considered manifestations of the deities.

Rising above them all is the “goddess” of all mountains, the colossal Everest.  Reaching a stupendous 29,017 feet, the world’s tallest mountain exerts a powerfully magnetic pull.  Known as “Peak XV” by the early Indo-British surveying team that established its summit as the world’s highest, the mountain was later named after Sir George Everest, head of the Great Trigonometrical Survey.  While this is the name by which most Westerners know the mountain, to Tibetans it is Chomolangma, “The Goddess Mother of the Universe,” while to the Nepalese it is Sagarmatha, “The Forehead of the Sky.” 

We begin our journey in Tibet by exploring the sites in Lhasa and Shigatse, imbibing in Tibet’s unique cultural heritage and acclimatizing the high elevation of Everest’s North Face Base Camp. We then journey to Shegar and Rongbuk, and finally to the Base Camp. We then make the dramatic journey to the Tibetan-Nepalese border, dropping precipitously into the Himalayan foothills on our way to exotic Kathmandu.

On Demand - Private Departures
June - October 2016

Outline Itinerary

You will be met on arrival and transferred to our hotel.

In the morning, our group will take the sunrise flight from Chengdu to Gongkar, home to Tibet’s international airport. If the weather is clear, this sunrise flight from Chengdu to Tibet will offer magical panoramic mountain views, including the 24,783’ Minya Konka and the mighty Namche Barwa, 25, 439’. Upon arrival at Gongkar, we will be met and transferred to our hotel in Tsedang. Walking tour of bazaar and the town.

Today we cross the the great Tsamgpo river and visit Sayme the first Tibetan monastery in Tibet. Also visit other sites in Yarlung Valley.

After sunrise excursion in the Yarlung Valley, we drive to Lhasa, the “forbidden city” to many a historical traveler. This afternoon we will make a pilgrimage to the Jokhang, Tibet’s most sacred religious temple. The roof of the Jokhang, with its wonderful golden gables and carvings, offers a magnificent view of the Potala. The Barkhor, the maze-like warren of shops and stalls that surrounds the Jokhang, will beckon us to join the Tibetans who travel here to pay homage to the Jokhang as they circumambulate the sacred shrine.

Lhasa will reveal its unique character and many mysteries as we visit many of its most significant historical and cultural sites. We have two additional days to leisurely explore and photograph in and around Lhasa while allowing our bodies to acclimate to the high elevation. In addition to the Potala Palace, we will also visit Drepung and Nechung to the Northwest and Sera Monastery, to the Northeast of Lhasa.

 After an unforgettable three days in Lhasa, we set out towards Gyantse via the turquoise waters of Yamdrok-tso, one of Tibet’s four great sacred lakes.  As we drive over the 16,000 ft Karo La, we will take an hour long acclimatization hike towards Karo glacier.

This morning we explore the beautiful Kumbum stupa (the Temple of the Hundred Thousand Buddhas), one of the greatest buildings in the Tibetan Buddhist world, renowned both for its religious significance and dramatic architectural splendor. After arriving in Shigatse, Tibet’s second largest city, we will visit Tashilhunpo Monastery, home to the Panchen Lamas,

Another acclimatization day as take lovely hike through Tibetan countryside, passing small villages over a pass to the rarely visited Ngor Monastery. We will be back in Shigatse late afternoon with the balance of the day at your leisure.

This is a travel day, as we leave the hustle and bustle of Shigatse and head out across the starkly beautiful Tibetan Plateau towards our destination, the town of Shegar.

A pre-dawn departure brings to Pang La, a 17,000 ft high pass offering a panoramic view of the Himalaya, in time to see the sunrise over the Himalaya. Descending down from the pass we reach the one-of-a-kind destination: base camp at the north face of the mighty Everest, at 29,017’ the world’s tallest mountain peak. Sunset on Everest.

After sunrise on Everest, we leave the majestic north face behind as we head to Nepal. We begin the precipitous drop in elevation, 9,000’ in total, as we reach the border town of Kriyong, elevation 7,500’ by late afternoon.

This morning we clear customs and cross the border Bridge into Nepal. We then drive to legendary Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital city, where we will visit Durbar Square, Hanuman Dhoka and the bazaars of old Kathmandu. Tonight we will enjoy a splendid Farewell Dinner.

We will be transferred to Kathmandu’s airport in time for our return flight home.


Photo Cultural Journeys:
  • Photographer's Myanmar & Angkor Wat
    Myanmar (Burma of late) is a 'must' on any photographer's bucket-list. From the shimmering pagodas in Yangon to the fields of pagodas in Bagan to the leg-rower fishermen of Inle Lake, Burma will conjure up images that your minds eye will forever remember, while your camera tries to capture the moment. But that's not all, form Burma we fly to Cambodia to photograph the World Heritage site at Angkor Wat.

  • Photographer's India - Land of Tiger
    India's jewels are not just the palaces, temples, and bazaars but also its rich wild life which define her exotic past. On this wildlife photo tour, you will visit two of India’s premiere wildlife parks – Kanha National Park and Bandavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh. We end the trip with visits to World Heritage sites of Khajuraho temples and the Varanasi by the banks of the Holy River Ganga.

  • Photographer's Nepal
    Himalaya – the name says it all.  Straddling the border between Tibet and its southerly neighbor, the Kingdom of Nepal, the world’s tallest mountains soar to the heavens, seemingly piercing the unimaginably blue Tibetan skies.  This land was made for hikers and photographers
  • Photographer's Bhutan
    Bhutan is an immensely beautiful and serene land, and is a place where the Buddhist faith of its people remains the nation’s most vital cultural force. Our tour incorporates one of Bhutan's most preeminent Buddhist festivals.
Suggested Extensions:
  • QuickEscapes – Kerala
    After this hard high altitude tour, take in some R&R in the calm and leisurely paced life on the backwaters of the Arabian Sea, enjoy the pristine beaches of Kerala and an ayurvedic spa. We fly you to Cochin via Kathmandu.

Other itineraries featuring Western Tibet and Everest:

Call us toll free at 1-800 MY INDIA (1-800-694-6342) or email us to request a detailed day-to-day itinerary.

“a prodigious,
great white fang…….
from the very jaws of the earth ­ the summit of Everest appeared.”
- George Mallory

Potala Palace, Lhasa by photographer Lewis Kemper
Potala Palace
Photo: Sanjay Saxena

Historic Potala Palace
Sera & Drepung in Lhasa
Kumbum in Gyantse
sunrise & Sunset on Everest
Bazaars of Kathmandu

It's Included:
Medical & evacuation insurance
All hotels, meals, ground transportation, local guides and entrance fees
Fully escorted trip;
- Sanjay Saxena

Private Departures Only:
June - October 2016

Land Cost per person:
6 - 10 participants: $6200

Please call for pricing for
1-5 particepants.

Download detailed itinerary
Tour Map

North face of Everest by photographer Lewis Kemper
Kampa woman, Jokhang
Photo: Sanjay Saxena

Buddha satatue, Lhasa  by photographer Lewis Kemper
Maitreya Buddha
Photo: Sanjay Saxena

Shepards at Karo Glacier
Photo: Sanjay Saxena

Sunset on Everest
Photo: Sanjay Saxena

North face of Mount Everest by photographer Lewis Kemper
Kathmandu temple
Photo: Sanjay Saxena

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