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Potala Palace

Overview

Potala Palace in Lhasa is situated on Red Hill , which is 3,700m in elevation. It is known as the highest and one of the most famous architectural works in the world. The palace was built by the Tibetan King Songtsan Gambo in the 7th century for the princess Wencheng.from Tang Empire, and in the 17th century it was reconstructed.  The palace, famous its artistic, historic, and cultural values, has been ranked as the No. 1 must-see attraction in Tibet and attracted millions of visitors yearly. In 1994, the palace joined the list of world cultural heritage sites


Yet few seem able to agree about its origins. Some have suggested that politics drove its creation. They assert that the Tibetan Empire’s founder Songtsän Gampo – born sometime between the mid-sixth century and early seventh century CE – erected the fortress to solidify his political power. Others believe Gampo constructed it to woo a Tang Dynasty princess. Its name is thought to be derived from Mt. Potala, the mythical alpine dwelling place of Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion, in southern India.


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An architectural wonder even by modern standards, the palace rises 13 storeys from 130m-high Marpo Ri (Red Hill) and contains more than a thousand rooms. Pilgrims and tourists alike shuffle down through the three storeys, trying to take in the magnificent chapels and prayer halls.


The layout of the Potala Palace includes the rooftop White Palace (the eastern part of the building), used for the living quarters of the Dalai Lama, and the central Red Palace , used for religious functions. The most stunning chapels of the Red Palace house the jewel-bedecked golden chörten (Tibetan stupa) tombs of several previous Dalai Lamas. The apartments of the 13th and 14th Dalai Lamas, in the White Palace, offer a more personal insight into life in the palace. Grand aesthetics and history aside, however, one can't help noticing that today it is essentially an empty shell, notably missing its main occupant, the Dalai Lama, and a cavernous memorial to what once was.



Travel Tips: 

1)Potala Palace allows entry for less than 2,300 visitors each day

2)Bring your passport, otherwise you may be denied entry.

3)Only one hour time is limited for the inner of Potala Palace, so please try to read more beforehand so that you know what you are actually seeing. 

4)The palace is around 3,700m in elevation,  climb the steps slowly and prepare enough water with you. 

5)Take overcoat even in summer days, it will still be a bit cold and humid inside the Palace.

6)As the local tradition goes that you should visit the palace clockwise. 

7)Please do NOT step on the threshold 

8)Please do NOT smoke in the Palace

9)Please do NOT take photos without permission, the secret policeman there are very strict. 

10)Please do NOT wear a hat or sunglasses inside the palace.