Potala Palace

Potala is Sanskrit, referring to the residence of the Goddess of Mercy. Potala Palace is the shrine for all pilgrims as a great representation of Tibet. People come here would be feasted from both sense organ and inner soul by its magnificent physical construction and collections as well as its significant religious, politic and cultural sense to this vast highland.

Actually, it is not only the holy place for the Tibetan people or pilgrims but also for other travelers, considering the fair natural scenery around here and its amazing architecture art and cultural relics. Endless people from the whole world pour into Lhasa to visit Potala Palace no matter what toil they suffer. In March 1961, Potala Palace was identified as one of the first National Key Cultural Relics Protection Units; in December 1994, it was listed onto the World Cultural Heritage List; in 2013, National Tourism Administration enrolled it as AAAAA scenic spot.

Potala Palace, not only was built for Princess Wencheng by Songtsan Gambo as the major ideas regarding it but also earned its existence for the important political reason. Songtsan Gambo originally decided to move capital to Lhasa and built Potala Palace to strengthen his position, meanwhile to take it as a gift for his Tang’s wife Princess Wencheng. In the later time, Potala Palace witnessed many important religious and political rituals, was taken as the Winter Palace for the Dalai Lamas and also the center of the united state and church.

With the outstanding Tibetan style, Potala Palace is the landmark of Lhasa and Tibetan highland. The present existing biggest-scale and best-preserved ancient palace architecture in Tibet earns Potala Palace the fame “One of the Ten Great Architectures in the World”. In the classic style of traditional Tibetan castle, the main part with 13 floors in total was constructed with woods and stones, consisting of White Palace and Red Palace. The White house won its name for its white external wall, was the place for the Dalai Lamas to do political affairs and live. And there are 7 floors in this Palace, lying in the bottom of Potala Palace and 2 rooms in the seventh floor named “Sunshine Palace” were taken as the living place for the Dalai in winter because of the bright and abundant sun lights resource. The Red Palace with red outer walls is in the center of the Potala Palace’s top and consists of all Buddhist halls for the storage of stupas of Dalai Lamas (towers to store the born ashes).

Potala Palace could date back to 1300 years ago and was built about 1000 small palaces under the order of Songtsan Gambo firstly. As time went on, natural disasters like lightings and thunders and wars attacked this ancient palace and bought it less and less scale. It was in 1645 that the fifth Dalai Lama reconstructed Poltala Palace, in 1690 that the Sanjay Gyatso extended the Red Palace when he built the Stupa for the fifth Dalai, in the later years that some Dalai constructed more 5 Golden Proofs and some annexes and in 1936 that the Stupa for the thirteen Dalai was the last building of Potala Palace, from then on, this significant Palace kept the scale until today.

Long term history had endowed Potala Palace with a large amount of historical relics and collections, shocking the whole world with about 10,000 thangkas (a scroll painting regarding Tibetan Buddhism), various Buddhists statues with different size and made of gold, silver, jade, stone, wood and clay, the stupas for the generations of Dalai Lamas, the official documents from the Emperors and governments of Qing Dynasty, scriptures and apparatuses. The stupas of Dalai Lamas occupy the most important position, which was equipped with fine construction art, gorgeous ornaments with rare treasure. For example, the stupas of the fifth Dalai is 14.85m tall and decorated by 19,000 Liang (1 liang has same amount with 50 grams) gold, more than 15,000 pearls agates and jewels. These rare treasures not only show people today the ever prosperous time of Tibet and wisdom of Tibetan people, but also the data and clues to research the politic, economy, culture, architectures of the snowy highland.

Open time: 08:30-19:00 (except the New Year in Tibetan calendar and some important Tibetan festivals)

Entrance fee: CNY 200 in peak season (May to October); CNY100 in low season (November to next April)

Travel Tips:

  1. The tickets for Potala arein quite heavy demand all years, especially in peak season(May 01 to October 31) when the travelers need to reserve the ticket one day. One person could reserve 4 tickets at most with credentials once only in a week.
  2. Travelers should respect and obey all customs of Tibetan Buddhismduring the tour: caps and sunglasses as well as skirts are prohibited here; photos are not permits here; people should not step the doorsills in the Palace.
  3. There are strictsecuritychecks: controlled knifes, inflammable and explosive dangerous goods, liquids would not be allowed in the Palace and the bid size bags are possibly checked.
  4. There are no toiletsduring your whole visiting in about 40 minutes, so travelers are suggested to take of their business in advance.
  5. Travelers need to walk for about half hour from the entrance gate to the ticket lobby, so a proper time arrangement to avoid lacking time to buy tickets is necessary.
  6. Potala Palace would turn off the night view lights at 22:30, so people should take photos of the night view before that time.
  7. There are three sites to take the pictures of this grand Palace: at the Yaowangshan view platform at the southwest of Potala Palace to take the side overall scene and sunrise; at the Zongjiao Kukang Park to take the inverted image of Potala Palace; at the Poltala Square to take the fronted photos.

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