Sometimes, we have to go far away to explore the realm of our inner worlds. That’s what we want to com- municate through The Beddha Holistic Travel Guide. Long distances travel in the outer world, to find inner balance. Real journeys that can also be imaginary for those of you who prefer to stay in, but find compelling these experiences...
Tibet offers guidance to those on an internal quest, with its spiritual and meditation retreats that can take you through the meditative calm of the Himalayan lakes, to beautiful Buddhist monasteries, palaces and temples. And then there is nature, remote and wild, with its spectacular views of majestic mountains and giant rivers that cut the Tibetan Plateau.
Tibet peaceful and tolerant culture will awake spirituality in anyone exploring the country. One of the least explored places on earth.
Lake Manasarovar is a pilgrimage site for Hindus and other religions, and part of the Tibet spiritual retreat. According to Hindu mythology, the lake is the epitome of purity. Fed by the Glaciers of Mount Kailash, ex- pect breathtaking scenery.
The holy city of Lhasa features many ancient cultural and spiritual sites with its monasteries, including Dre- pung Monastery and the famous Jokhang Temple, the spiritual heart of Tibetan Buddhism. Built in the 7th century, the Temple gathers pilgrims from all over Tibet. They walk with prayer beads and wheels in their hands, focusing on achieving enlightenment.
Jokhang contains statues of Buddhas, lamas and protectors that have been collected between 639 and 1959. The central chapel houses Jowo, a 2500 year-old statue of the Buddha brought to Tibet 1300 years ago. Pil- lars embed priceless jewellery.
Murals cover the walls, depicting the history of Tibet and Buddhism, including the construction of the Tem- ple itself.
Drepung is the largest monastery in Tibet, and one of the few that still possess relics, especially if compared to other sacred places destroyed during the Cultural Revolution.
Barkor is a sacred circumambulation route around Jokhang Temple. Here Tibetan pilgrims come from far away, to cultivate good karma. A deep spiritual experience for those who believe and share this vision.
Potala Palace was once the Dalai Lama residence, and it is now a museum and World Heritage Site. Built on a hill, it is located in the centre of Lhasa city. It contains 13 chapels and it’s made of mud and wood Gold embossed tombs from past Dalai Lama, adorn the place.
To the east of Lhasa is located Yerpa, a place that offers numerous monasteries and meditation caves where hermits live.
A long walking pilgrimage site for Hindus, Buddhists and Jainis is the Sacred Mount Kailash, a mountain that dominates the Tibetan landscape. According to Hindu mythology, the place is associated with the god Shiva.
Another spiritual retreat is located in the heavenly Namsto, a picturesque mountain lake, known for its beau- ty (Namsto in Tibetan means heavenly).
For those looking for the untouched, the rarely experienced, explore the country side and spend time with no- mads and spiritual masters in far remote area where modernisation has not arrived yet. They say this is the last remaining of an ancient spiritual civilisation where people struggle to preserve it.
Terdrum is a beautiful valley with sacred history with natural hot spring that Tibetans believe to be medici- nal spring that cures diseases as it was blessed by the Guru Rimpoche. An ideal place to meditate and take bath.
Every culture has a different perception of what happens when we die. For Tibetans the body is a vessel, a temporary guest house. Therefore bodies are exposed to the elements because once life has expired, there is no need for it to be preserved. In some regions of Tibet celestial burial is practiced, a ritual where bodies are given back to nature, nourishing other living beings like birds or vultures (considered sacred animals by Ti- betans).
And Dregung Monastery is renowned for sacred sky burial, as celestial burial is also referred.
Though still common in rural communities, officially recognised and protected, sky burial is increasingly dif- ficult to practice due to various reasons, including costs and detractors that see this ceremony as primitive and distant.
Probably not the easiest destination to visit, due to some restrictions.
Don’t search for self-proclaimed gurus that abound today. Look for teachers with a good reputation and come from a long tradition. And be realistic about your expectations and outcomes of these experiences. Rest because due to time and climate, bodies need to work hard to adjust to the altitude. Yoga is therefore more spiritual than physical.
Live, rest and enjoy
✒ BY MARGHERITA ANTINORI