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Potala Palace – Tibet – China

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On the Red Hill in central Lhasa is the highest old palace of the world which at the height of 3,767.19 m is named the Potala Palace. This falls in the Tibet Autonomous Part of China. The meaning of the word Potala in Sanskrit stands for the “Abode of Avalokitesvara” and was known to be the gift of the Tibetan king Songsten Gampo to his bride Princess Wen Cheng. After the fall of the Songsten Gampo Dynasty, the crumbling palace was restored and rebuilt by the Qing Dynasty and further expansions on the Potala Palace which started from 17th century.

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The Potala Palace is also known to be the abode of Dalai Lama till the 14th Dalai Lama went to India. Actually the restoration of the Potala Palace in the 17th century is known to have been started by the 5th Dalai Lama. The entire complex of the Potala Palace is divided in two parts, namely the White Palace and the Red Palace. The Red palace, painted in red is devoted to religious activities and has several prayer halls, chapels, and also the tomb of the 13th Dalai Lama. It conveys power and stateliness. The main parts of the red palace in the Potala Palace are the Great West Hall, the Saint’s Chapel, the North and South Chapels and the East and West Chapels.

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On the other hand is the white chapel which used to be the residence of the Dalai Lama. The white colour of the building tries to symbolise purity, peace, and quietness. It was also used as the building of the Tibet government. The fourth floor of the building is converted in to the Great East Hall where religious and political activities take place, the fifth and sixth floors provide home for the agents of the office and the seventh floor is the quarter of the Dalai Lama.

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The Potala Palace signifies the Buddhist teachings and its significance even in the Tibetan administration. The quarter of Dalai Lama, named Norbulingka, presents a sample of the Tibetan art and architecture and its amalgamation with the landscape as well as with religious thoughts. This quarter is situated in the 7th floor of the white palace. There are two parts to this living quarter, namely the East Chamber of Sunshine, and the West Chamber of Sunshine.

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The other parts of importance in the Potala Palace are the School of Buddhist Logic, the seminary, the prison, and so on. As a beholder of the traditional Tibetan culture the Potala Palace is home to a number of traditional objects like the murals, and the stupas, a number of statues, thangkas, and also rare sutras.

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For visiting the Potala Palaces there are strict rules which need to be abided by. The visit time to the palace is only an hour and the entry should take place only from the main entrance to the eastern side. The visiting hours are maintained and you can reach the palace by Being East Road through taxi or by foot.

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