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  • December 2009 (40)
  • The Potala Palace, Lhasa, China

    Mon, Dec 7, 2009

    China

    Potala’s Palace the fortress on the Hill top.

    The Potala Palace endures to be the symbol of Tibet’s and China’s legacy of history, art, culture and its religion. It prevailed from being a palace, then a monastery, a prison of one time to eternity of being the state museum.

    The Potala Palace, on the roof of the Jokhang, is Tibet’s largest building and one of the most spectacular structures in the world.

    The Potala Palace has been converted into the state museum by the Chinese government after the invasion in1959. Before that it was the winter house for the Tibet’s Dalai Lama.

    Potala Palace

    Recently it got declared as one of the New Seven Wonders of the world by the television show Good Morning America and Newspaper USA Today.

    Also a popular Tourist attraction it’s pronounced and inscribed in UNESCO World Heritage in 1994.

    Dalai Lama V (17th century.) made the Potala around the fortress of King Songsten Gampo on the Mount Mapori. Avalokiteshvra (chenerisk) is Tibet’s patron deity and “Potala” is the mountain in south India where this deity has been said to be resided as per the mythology. According to the history, all the ancient kings and Dalai Lamas are manifestations of Bodhisattva for they followed the religion and practiced Buddhism.

    At the center of beautiful Lhasa Valley stands on altitude of 3700m, is the Potala palace symbolizing Tibetan practice of Buddhism and its traditional practices of administration.

    Potala Palace has a rich chronicle for its construction and hence forth.

    • The King Songsten Gampo in 637 to welcome his bride Princees Wencheng builds this palace and then it was a meditation retreat.
    • Great Fifth i.e. Lobsang Gyatso who was the fifth Dalai Lama an important figurehead in the annals of Tibetan Story. He constructed the present palace in 1645; marking on its eve was unification of Tibet and making Yellow sect the state religion. By 1648 the white palace got completed and it thus started now being used as winter palace.
    • The Red palace was under construction when the great fifth died, though his death was not pronounced and was kept in secret till the completion of The Red palace was done. He was kept to be alive here for ten years even after the death by the monks who feared that its construction might not get completed. A monk who was his look alike impersonated him till then.
    • The years 1959 marked a change, when the riots happened in Tibet and due to China’s aggression the current Dalai Lama fled and remains to be exiled in India. In years between 1966 and 1977 the Cultural Revolution took place, in which the remaining monks wee made to flee or expelled and thus palace was abandoned, thereafter it was looted and damaged by Chinese soldiers. Now the Palace is under strict supervision and renovated and restored by Chinese government and is one of the highlight in china’s tourist place.

    The Magnetism and alluring Potala Palace also known as Winter Palace is charm with numerous edifice.

    It has thirteen Stories, and is 117 meters high. It’s mostly made of wood and stone i.e. the walls are made of granite and roofs and windows are of wood.  They have hip-gable roofs, over hanging eaves, upturned roof corners and gilded brass tiles and pillars.

    The White Palace

    It comprises of temples, halls and courtyards and served as living quarter for Dalai Lama’s and his fellow monks and servants. There is painting of images of Four Heavenly Kings, Devyang shar Court. There are three ladders, in which central one was for Dalai Lama and high magistrates. Here in this palace is huge murals describing construction of Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple. Also here we can see The Great Fifth’s edict sign with his handprint. It was mainly a political headquarters and in the east Sunshine did the Dalai Lama ascended throne and carried the administration work. Here we can see the Saint’s Chapel a shrine which had the compassionate and divine statue of Chenrenzi. Also there is Dharma Cave where the King Songsten studied Buddhism after converting. These are oldest parts of Palace. In the White Palace are two small chapels, the Phakpa Lhakhang and the Chogyal Drubphuk; which are dated the seventh century, and these chapels being the most oldest surviving structures and the most sacred. The Potala’s most venerated statue, the Arya Lokeshvara, is housed inside the Phapka Lhakhang, and it draws thousands of Tibetan pilgrims each day.

    The Red Palace

    The Red Palace has seven golden roofs and is famous for its religious compositions and structures. Here we have gorgeous stupas and precious cultural relics and all kind of halls for worshipping Lord Buddha. This is was the meditation center and also here resides the remaining of the Dalai Lama’s. After the death of Fifth Dalai Lama there is Great West Wall which inscribes the life  and his works and preaching on fine murals. In this palace which hold the links of history of tibet’s religion we find the high statue of  Tsong Khapa the founder of Dalai Lama’s lineage and it is here he is worshipped and enshrined. Also the famous Jataka stories are engraved and narrated in the palace. This place holds sthe stupas of all the Dalai Lams’s which are covered with golden leaf and studded with jewels which makes it look exquisite and lovely and brings you to the essence of Buddhism. The Red Palace is adorn with jeweled work and embellishment with shrines and tombs with precious offerings. Here we find a pagoda made of 200.000 pearls.

    The stupas are covered with tons of golds and semi preccious stones and carvings. Housing of the numerous chapels and monk’s assembly halls and libraries, the most important scripture of tibets’s is Kagyur and tengyur which are all hand painted and carved and inscripted on wooden blocks . Its over 200,000 of books are recorded here.This palace is dedicated to Honor the Buddhisattvas, Buddhas and his Dalai Lama’s. Also the eight Dalai Lama and Medicine Buddha and Sakyamuni is ornamented here in this Palace.

    In the 7th Century , the Jokhang temple Monastery was build and is the latest addition into the Buddhist religious complex. Here we can feel the peace and emancipate our thoughts and feel the serenity.

    jokhang temple

    The Potala Palace is the masterpiece of Tibetan art and religion. This palace strong like a fortress is striking and a must visit when in china. It represents there glorious past and history. All this three sites depicts the harmonious integration of Buddhism culture.

    The Opening time is 9.30am -13.00pm and 1500pm-1800 pm. Prices of tickets are RMB 100 Yuan Per person and taking photos inside charges are extra  also if visiting the golden roofs costs an extra fees of RMB 10 Yuan.

    Its Treasure trove of Tibet’s religion, culture and arts. The Sculptures, murals, antiques, Buddha figures and stupas of Late Dalai Lama’s are the highlight. It has an amazing and mystical attraction. The Grand buildings, beautified structures hold the harmony, peaceful with devotional atmosphere a visitor will experience the calm and feel exuberated here.




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