In possession of rich cultural heritage, Potala Palace is a must-see place of your Tibet trip.
Overview of Potala Palace
Potala Palace, the highest ancient palace in the world, was situated on the Red Hill of central Lhasa, reaching 3,767.19m (12,359.55ft) at the topmost point. As 5A tourism spot on the national level, the Potala Palace is a must-see travel spot for tourists who wanna explore Tibet. With profound Buddhist culture, Potala Palace attracts a large number of pilgrims to pray in this holy place.
The History of Potala Palace
Potala was named after a holy hill in South India which means "Abode of the Avalokitesvara (Buddha of Mercy) in Sanskrit word." The Legend of Potala is dating back to the 7th century, the Tang Dynasty (618B.C. - 907B.C.) of China that the then Tibet King Songtsen Gampo built a 9-story palace with a thousand rooms up on the Red Hill for his bride, Princess Wen Cheng of the Tang Dynasty and named it Potala Palace. The Potala Palace we see today was built in Qing Dynasty. Because the original one is destroyed in the war when the Songtsen Gampo Dynasty declined.
The Structure of Potala Palace
The Potala Palace is a landmark of Lhasa and Tibet, containing two parts, the Red Palace and the White Palace. Located on the southern slope of the Red Hill, the Potala Palace was built along the hill. Potala Palace processes more than 1000 rooms, chanting hall, seminary, temples, diverse chambers for worshipping Buddha and chambers housing the stupas of several Dalai Lamas.
The Red Palace, the center of Potala Palace
The Red Palace, the highest part of the center, was completely painted to red to symbolize stateliness and power. It was devoted to religious study and Buddhist prayer and composed of a complicated layout with different halls, chapels, and libraries each layer. In addition, it processes an array of smaller galleries and winding passages. Great West Hall, considered as the largest hall, with beautiful murals painted on its inner walls takes an area of the 725 sq meters (about 7,804 sq ft). There are three chapels around the Great West Hall but only the Dharma Cave and the Saint's Chapel remain constructions of the 7th century with the statues of Songtsen Gampo, Princess Wen Cheng, and Princess Bhrikuti inside.
The White Palace, the wring of Potala Palace
The White Palace or Potrang Karpo once served as the office building of Tibet local government was painted to white to convey peace and quiet which was composed of the living quarters of Dalai Lama. The Great East Hall, occupied a space of 717 sq meters (about 7,718 sq ft), was the pot for momentous religious and political events. The fifth and sixth floors are served as the living quarters and offices. The seventh floor, the living quarters of Dalai Lama consists of two parts, the East Chamber of Sunshine and the West Chamber of Sunshine.
1. Visitors all have to enter from the east main entrance.
2. Taking a coat when visiting Potala Palace; It is a little bit cold inside the Potala Palace.
3. Chakpori Hill is the ideal spot to take pictures of the Potala Palace.
4. The travel time in Potala Palace is limited, no more than 1 hour.
5. Any kind of liquid is restricted.
Recommended Tour Itineraries Including Potala Palace
This is a relatively easy route for travelers. After 2 days of essential sightseeing tour in Lhasa, tourists will go to Shigatse passing through Gyantse, then stay overnight at the lakeside of Namtso - the holiest lake in Tibet. At last, enjoy a hot spring bath in Yampachen on the way back to Lhasa.