The Potala Palace winter palace of the Dalai Lama

The Potala Palace Lhasa Tibet
Located 3,700 meters above sea level, the Potala Palace is the largest and the most intact of ancient castle. Covering an area of 360,000 square meters, this palace contains incomparable treasures. Everything is comprised of gold, silver and precious stones. The Potala Palace is the symbol of Lhasa and religious center for all Tibetans.

Tibetan Religious Center

Located at an altitude of 3,700 meters, the Potala Palace is the largest and best preserved of ancient castle. Used as the Winter Palace of the Dalai Lama until 1959, the Palace is the symbol of the city of Lhasa and important location for Tibet. Center of religious power, the halls of the Palace showcase the wealth of Tibetan Buddhism. The frescoes, paintings, Thangkas, historical documents and many other artworks are made of gold, silver, pearls, gemstones or coral.

Magnificent Palace

As the highest ancient palace in the world, the Potala Palace is a masterpiece. This block without crack stands quietly as it towers 119 meters in height, located on the slopes of Red Mountain. The area of the Palace itself is 130,000 m², which is already quite impressive. But, if we add the wall, the garden and the lake, you then come up with a total area of 360,000 m², which is more than twice the size of Beijing’s Forbidden City!

A Museum Today

The Potala Palace was the residence of Dalai Lama, but after the escape of the 14th Dalai Lama to India, the central Chinese Government took possession of the Potala Palace and expelled most of the monks in order to calm tensions at this iconic site. Today, it is a sort of Museum, although the pilgrims still come on pilgrimage every year. This visit is quite different from a usual Buddhist monastery. Once inside, you may begin the tour in a very large queue of visitors.

The Original Palace

It all began in the year of 630 A.D. King Songtsen Gampo had built a royal palace in honor of his young wife, Wencheng. Located on the Red Mountain, he demanded that a palace with 999 rooms would be built. But after the fall of the Kingdom and many wars, the palace was almost completely destroyed. There only remains a cave and a building.

Reconstruction by the 5th Dalai Lama 

It was in 1645 that the reconstruction of the Potala Palace was started. In history, the Fifth Dalai Lama asked to build a White Palace, one of the parties of the present Potala Palace. From then on, reconstruction began by his authorization. After that, he established his residence at this site for the winter and moved to Norbulingka Palace in summer. In 1690, he wanted to built another part, the Red Palace. Then he ordered to demolish all the ancient houses to build the Red Palace in order to shelter the stupa. There were about 7,000 workers who were hired for this ambitious project and 134 million silver were spent, which is the equivalent of more than one billion euros! The entire Potala Palace shines in the colors of gold, silver, and many other colorful precious stones.

A Legend of the Red Palace

It seems the 5th Dalai Lama died while the Red Palace was not yet finished. The monks, who were afraid that the project would be abandoned if the people were made aware, hid the death news for 10 years! They put a monk with similar appearance on the throne of the Dalai Lama until the end of the work!

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  • Altitude

    3 658M Altitude The Potala Palace
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