Saka Dawa is the most important festival in Tibetan Buddhism; this Festival memorializes Shakyamuni's Buddhahood and the death of his mortal body. This day is said to be the birthday of Sakyamuni, the Great Buddha, and the day he died and became a Buddha as well as the day of the arrival of Princess Wencheng (the queen to Songtsen Gampo, a great Tibetan king of the 7th century AD) in Lhasa. People believe that good deeds in the month of this festival deserve 300 fold merits in return and this leads many people to donate large sums to the religious orders, monasteries, and to the beggars that gather at this time of year. Saka Dava Festival is observed on April 15th of the Tibetan calendar, every monastery preforms sutra and 'Cham' dances, and many religious activities are held on this day. People walk out of their houses and circumambulate around the Jokhang Temple and the Potala Palace. The three main circumambulation roads in Lhasa are crowded with devotees praying and prostrating themselves devoutly. In the afternoon, all the people get together at Zongjolukang (Dragon King's Pool) at the back of the Red Hill, where they sing dance, and entertain themselves. The festival reaches its highlight on April 15, which is considered the birthday and the day that Sakyamuni entered nirvana.
This Saga Dawa Festival with Mt. Kailash & Mansarovar Holy Tour is an important part of the festival which replaces the ‘Tarboche Flagpole’, the famous huge pole that lies on the way of Kailash Kora. Every year, the flagpole is brought down and a new pole is erected in the place. The pole-replacing event is watched by locals and foreigners alike with wonder and awe. All around Tibet people flock to the place to attend the event and to attach their small prayer flags to the pole. Along the Saka Dava Festival, we encounter the windswept Tibetan plateau, cliff-top monasteries, wild-looking but hardy and hospitable people, yak caravans journey over snowy passes, and the great peaks of the Himalayas with a foreground of grazing herds, yak skin tents and a glittering turquoise lake makes your journey exciting. On this expertly guided overland tour on a 4WD land cruiser, you get to explore the colorful mosaic of Tibetan arts, crafts, history, culture, custom, tradition, lifestyle, and cuisine and in the process attain profound spirituality. You become a witness to a host of indigenous cultures on your Saga Dawa festival tour around significant towns of Tibet (i.e. Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse, etc) combined with a three-day trekking around Mount Kailash. From there, you again cross the vast arid plains before heading south to the Nepalese border and returning to Kathmandu. You can join this trip either in Lhasa or in Kathmandu.
The Saga Dawa festival has been held here for the last thousand years. Having participated just once is such a powerful experience. Nepal Mother House Treks arranges the Saga Dawa Festival Tour with our expert staff to make a successful pilgrimage. Please come and join us for an adventure and culture trip.