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Potala Palace, Lhasa





Fast Facts

  • Location: Located on Moburi Mountain, to the west of old Lhasa.
  • Time to Visit: July to September
  • Preferred Timings: 09.00 a.m. to 07.00 p.m.
  • How to Reach: Unlike the other destinations in China, it is a bit difficult to get in to Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area. Though majority of the tourists reach there by a 10 hour bus ride from Chengdu, there are also other means of transportation available to reach Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area.
    Air:
    The nearest airport is Lhasa Gonggar Airport (LXA), located about 50 km from Lhasa. You can reach to the city centre of Lhasa from the airport in about an hour. You will find regular flights to Lhasa from various parts of China including Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Kunming, Qamdo, Shanghai, Xi'an, Xining and Zhongdian.
    Bus:
    You can reach Lhasa by Qinghai-Tibet (Qingzang) railway. You will find trains to Lhasa from Golmud, Xining, Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing.
    You can reach Potala Palace from the city centre of Lhasa just by foot. Alternatively, you can also hire a taxi.
  • Entry Fee: 200 rmb.
  • Time for Visit: 2½ hours (approximately)
  • Nearest Airport: Lhasa Gonggar Airport (LXA)
  • Nearest Station: Lhasa

Before the Empire State Building was built, long before the Burj in Dubai was even thought to be possible, this was the tallest building of the world. Rising over 13 stories, this grand and unbelievably magnificent building was to the outer world, the very symbol of Tibet, then the Forbidden City. Its exotic charm, mystery and grandeur intrigued the world right from the time of its establishment. It once served as the residential palace of the Dalai Lama, and is presently a museum.

A treasure house for articles and materials of Tibetan history, arts, culture, religion and heritage, Potala Palace is the destination for all those who love to appreciate rich sculptures and architecture. Located on Moburi Mountain, to the west of old Lhasa, the Potala Palace is known for its grand building, complex constructions, devotional atmosphere, precious sculptures, murals, scripture, antiques and religious jewelry. The 117 meters high huge palace covers an area of over 360,000 square meters and has 13 stories. Once the chief residence of the Dalai Lama, the Potala Palace, Lhasa has been converted into a museum nowadays.
Visiting the Potala Palace

The complexity of the stone and wood structure of Potala Palace is just seeing-to-be-believed. The palace consists of over 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and around 200,000 statues. The palace consists of White Palace and Red Palace. Whereas the White Palace has halls, temples and courtyards, on the other hand, the Red Palace has various chambers for worshipping Buddha and chambers of eight stupas, covered with gold foil. The most famous of those belongs to the fifth Dalai Lama.

Once you enter into the East Portal, you will find Deyang Shar courtyard — a place where the Dalai Lamas watched Tibetan opera from. The White Palace is located at the western side of the courtyard. The walls of this palace were colored white in order to covey the message of peace. The Great East Hall on the fourth floor was the place for holding important religious and political events. The fifth and sixth floor has living quarters and offices of regents. The top floor has two wonderful chambers for watching sunrise from the East Chamber and sunset from the West Chamber. The Red Palace, known for its religious status, gorgeous stupas and rich culture relics, is located in the middle of the Potala Palace. The red wall of the palace represents stateliness and power. The inner walls are painted with wonderful murals. The corridor upstairs also has religious murals figuring Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Dalai Lamas. The main central hall of the palace, known as the Great West Hall, has got four grand chapels. Visit the holiest shrine of the Potala Palace at the Saint's Chapel, located at the north side of the hall. Also visit the North Chapel, centered on a crowned Sakyamuni Buddha and the South Chapel, centered on Padmasambhava. The East Chapel is dedicated to the founder of Gelug tradition — Tsong Khapa. The West Chapel has got five golden stupas. You should also visit three galleries in the hall. The first gallery is located above the West Chapel and has some wonderful murals and a number of large windows that help to bring light into the Great Well Hall. The second gallery gives access to the central pavilion. The third gallery has a number of dark rooms consisting of a great collection of bronze statues and miniature figures. Also visit the Tomb of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama in the west of the Great West Hall.

Special Remarks:

Remember, according to the local custom, you need to tour clockwise around while visiting the Potala Palace. Climbing up to the top of the building may be a bit tough for many, so you'd better slow down. It is also advisable to take a coat, as the environment inside the halls may be a bit chilly.

Also please make a note of the fact that, only 2,300 tourists are allowed to enter into the Potala Palace everyday. So, it is always better to turn up there well in advance and also purchase your ticket beforehand. While buying your ticket, you have to show your identity card or passport.

Note: Don't step on the doorsill.
Smoking is prohibited inside the halls.
Photography is prohibited without prior permission.


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