Drak Yerpa is called Brag Yer-pa in Tibetan language; sometimes local people call it as Yerpa, Dagyeba, Dayerpa or Trayerpa. It is only about 18 km to the east of Lhasa city. Driving straight along the Najin Road till the east suburbs of Lhasa and ascending to the pass of Mt. Najin, we could have few minutes stop on the mountain pass to take photos of the mountain peaks with prayer flags, and the farmland below, then continue to drive down along the mountain road. It is really breathtaking experience. Once we get to the small cross, we will see the Drak Yerpa and we can hike up to this holy site. It locates in the spectacular limestone cliffs of the Yerpa Valley, with an altitude of about 4000 meters.
It is said that Lhasa is the shrine of Tibet but Drak Yerpa is the shrine of Lhasa. And without a visit to Drak Yerpa in Lhasa tour is just like making a dress without the collar. We are going to visit the famous ancient meditation caves. It consists of a monastery and a number of ancient meditation caves which were used to house about 300 monks in the history.
In the middle of the 7th century, Songtsan Gampo and his team built Drak-Yerpa for his wife. Songstan Gampo (604-650) was the 33rd king of the Yarlung Dynasty. And he was the first emperor of a united Tibet. It was said that there were 108 caves at Drak Yerpa in the past but now only a dozen of them remain well. And the earliest among these caves is the cave of Songtsan Gampo. Many individual temples were built around the cave, then after several expansions, they were consolidated forming the well-known temple. This site is very peaceful and has stunning views. To walk and hike where Songtsan Gampo and the later Guru Renpoche and the later Padmasambhava or Guru Rinpoche (late 8th to early 9th century) have walked is really aspiring.
Drak Yerpa pilgrimage sightseeing tour takes about 2 hours, and we can prepare it as a half day leisure travel experience with some easy hiking. Our travel agency can arrange camping equipments, tour vehicle and driver, guide for this short trip.
Above is one photo taken on the trip to Drak Yerpa, on April9, 2012.
After visiting the site, on return to your hotel in Lhasa you can find something nice to eat in the city area. We are sure that you will have had a glimpse of the real Tibet at the end of the tour day.