Day Journey Tibet’s Serene Hermitages Drak Yerpa and Shar Temple

Drak Yerpa Temple is a sacred place that holds great significance in the Buddhist tradition. It is located in the Yerpa Valley, which is situated in the northern part of Tibet. This temple has a long history, dating back to the 7th century. Over the centuries, it has served as a meditation retreat for many renowned Buddhist masters. The temple is perched on a hillside, providing stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. It is adorned with intricate carvings and vibrant murals, showcasing the rich artistic heritage of Tibet.

Drak Yerpa Temple, home to the Nyingmapa monastery, is located on a hilltop away from the ruins of the village. It is one of the four main places in Tibet, located on the top of the mountain that touches the clouds. The temple, which was built in the 7th century AD, has a history of 1500 years. Commissioned by Tubo Tsenbo Songtsen Gampo for his concubine Princess Mongsa Trizun, it has undergone expansion including the integration of the eastern temple and sunset, making it truly unique.

Drak Yerpa Monastery is about 30 kilometres from Lhasa, at an altitude of about 4,400 meters. Jokhang Temple Square offers a daily ferry service. Before your visit, it is advisable to check the timetable and ticket prices to ensure that you do not miss the bus.

drak yerpa view
Drak yerpa view

108 Meditation caves in Drak Yerpa

As one of the four major hermitages in Tibet, Drak Yerpa Monastery is famous for its mysterious practice caves. There are 108 practice caves in total, of which the most representative Fawang Cave is the practice place of Tubo Tibetan King Songtsan Gampo. In Tibet, there is such a well-preserved and gorgeous cave that the monks have continued to practice until now, and Drak Yerpa is the first.

On the way to Drak Yerpa Temple, you will pass Ngachen Mountain. Don’t miss it. The colourful streamers of the mountains are connected and swaying in the wind, creating a spectacular sight. The prayer flags hold great significance to the locals, symbolizing the presence of gods. Whenever the wind blows the flags, it is considered a divine blessing.

Drak Yerpa Temple exudes a serene and therapeutic natural atmosphere, making it an ideal spot for capturing photos with friends on weekends. Situated at an elevation of approximately 4400 meters, reaching the Buddha necessitates a 2-3 hour journey. This entails ascending steps, bending, and manoeuvring through a narrow cave that allows for only one person at a time. Hence, it is crucial to maintain a leisurely pace throughout the entire process. Should fatigue set in, there is ample opportunity to rest. If concerns about physical discomfort arise, it is advisable to carry a portable oxygen cylinder to prevent hypoxia.

Shar Temple

In the light and shadow of the pagoda, the adorable Shar Temple stands out as the most charming temple in Tibet. Located in Guoji Village, Changa Township, Linzhou County, Tibet Autonomous Region, it is a renowned nun temple and a popular pilgrimage site. With a long-standing history, it has attracted visitors for numerous years.

In Guoji Village, there was a temple where three girls worshipped Buddha. Without accommodation, they chanted spells to transform the temple into a nun temple, naming it Shar Temple. Located around 90 kilometres from Lhasa, it can be reached by car in approximately two hours. The altitude is relatively low, eliminating the need for mountain climbing. However, there are no direct bus services to the temple, so the only choices are carpooling or hiring a private car.

What to see in Shar temple

Shar Temple has many small pagodas arranged in a jungle-like environment, offering unique beauty from different angles. In the bright light of the plain and against the background of the blue sky, 108 white pagodas are scattered in a row, creating a beautiful and sacred display of became an attraction in the Shar temple. Shar Temple is very peaceful without the hustle and bustle of the city.

Sailing in Tallinn, you will meet many locals who will always greet you with a smile. Shar Temple is small, but you can stop and go all the way, you can walk around the temple in about half an hour. It is located on a gentle mountain pass and does not require climbing like the Drak Yerpa temple, and does not require physical strength. It is said that the rule for walking around the pagoda forest in the Shar temple is that the birthday and general year must be changed several times, which means safety and health.

One-day tour itinerary recommendation

Ngachen Mountain + Drak Yerpa + Shar Temple

  • 8:00 Gather at the White Tower on the west side of the Potala Palace
  • Arrive at Nagin Pass at 8:40, about 40 minutes by car
  • The tour time of Drak Yerpa Temple is about 3 hours
  • 12:30-14:00 from Drak Yerpa Temple to Shar Temple, 1.5 hours by car
  • Shar Temple tour time is about 1 hour
  • 15:00-17:00 Return to Lhasa from Shar Temple, 2 hours drive

If you come to Tibet for the first time, after visiting the urban area, you are worried about Gao Fan and dare not go too far; if you like to be quiet and slow down, and don’t want to be crowded with people to catch up with schedules and hot spots; if you like the sacredness of temples Serene atmosphere, this one-day tour around Lhasa must not be missed!

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Top Ten Tips for Traveling in Tibet

To embark on a journey to Tibet, it is essential to possess Tibet Travel Permits along with a Chinese Visa. The permits are specifically tailored to the destinations that the tourists intend to explore, and hence, the requirements may differ accordingly.

The Qinghai-Tibet Railway is the sole railway connecting Tibet to other Chinese cities. It spans a distance of 2,000 kilometres, commencing from Xining to Lhasa, Shigatse and Nyingchi.

Foreign tourists visiting China need to restrict their travel time. Therefore, opting for air travel to Tibet is a perfect alternative as it is more convenient and time-efficient than other modes of transportation.

The road network in Tibet Autonomous Region has expanded to cover a distance of 22400 kilometers. However, on average, there are only 1.8 kilometers of highways for every hundred square kilometers of land area.

Tibetan cuisine comprises a variety of food and drinks. Meat and dairy products are the primary components, and vegetables are not abundant, resulting in a highly specialized cuisine.

Here are some commonly asked inquiries regarding flights, trains, permits, and travel in Tibet. We have curated them especially for your convenience. In case you still have any queries, feel free to ask.

Tibet’s weather is unique because of the high altitude of the Tibet plateau, which averages more than 4,000m above sea level. It is slightly severe with sparse air and strong UV radiation.

Hotels in Tibet vary from luxurious five-star establishments to simple guest houses run by locals. While larger cities such as Lhasa offer a wider selection of accommodations, remote areas have limited options with only basic amenities available.

The Tibetan Cartography (in English & Mandarin), is an extensive assortment of maps, which we have thoughtfully selected. They will aid in your thorough exploration of the enigmatic terrain in the Tibetan vicinity.