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Potala Palace

Potala Palace under bule skyCapping the Red Hill of Lhasa, Potala Palace was built more than 1, 300 years ago. Rumor has it that the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo, a pious adherent of Buddhism, often went to the top of a mountain near Lhasa to chant scriptures and pray. He named the mountain Potala, which is a trans "teration of a Sanskrit word referring to the residence of Avalokites-vara, the Goddess of Mercy (Guanyin in Chinese).

In 641, after marrying Princess Wencheng of the Tang Dynasty, Songtsen Gampo built Potala Palace for her and their descendants. However, the original palace was destroyed by lightning and Succeeding warfare during Landama's reign. It is said that the existing statues of Songtsen Gampo and Princess Wencheng were lucky enough to survive the disasters. In l652, Potala was rebuilt by the fifth Dalai Lama.

Built at all altitude of l2,139 feet, Potala Palace is about 1,312 feet long and 984 feet wide, occupying a total area of more than 1,399,307 square feet. Its 13-floor main building is 384 feet tall, making it the world's highest altitude construction.

Potala Palace is composed of two sections for difierent purposes. The White Palace is a seven-floor building originally built in 1645. The wall of the palace was painted white to convey peace and quiet, hence the name. The Great East Hall (Cuoqingxia) on the fourth floor is the largest open space in the White Palace, occupying 7,718 square feet and supported by 38 grand pillars. This hall is also used for important religious and political events. The living quarters and offices of regents are on the fifth and sixth floors; the top floor consists of the East Chamber of Sunshine and the West Chamber of Sunshine. Because of the light in there all year round, the East Chamber and West Charnber were where the Dalai Lamas lived, worked, and studied.Potala Palace with trees

The other section of Potala Palace is the Red Palace, built in 1690. Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty once sent more than 100 workers to help with the construction. The Red Palace consists mainly of various chapels and stupas for different Dalai Lamas. With a height of 49 feet, covered by more than 6,614 pounds of gold foil, and decorated with thousands of pearls, gems, corals, ambers, and agates, the fifth Dalai Lama's  stupa is regarded as the highest and the most luxurious. While the White Palace serves as a living space and political center for Dalai Lamas, the Red Palace is mostly a religious center for various rituals.

 

Potala Palace Tour

In December 1994, Potala Palace was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. With the most magnificent scenery and large scale, it is really worth visiting during the tour to Lhasa. After the tour to Potala Palace, tourists will learn more about this mysterious city.