Results 1-4of 4 Reviews
Brooklyn, New York
January 24, 2011
September 15, 2005
In reality, Potala Palace, set atop Mount Marpori, was once the winter residence for Dalai Lamas and the seat of Tibetan government. It dates back to the 7th century AD to the reign of Songtsen Gampo and was extended by the fifth Dalai Lama in the 17th century to its present size. It is also a major pilgrimage site for devout Tibetans. The palace is divided into two, the red and white palaces. Once considered the tallest building in the world, it can be viewed from Jokhang’s roofs, Sera monastery, and in fact, from anywhere in downtown Lhasa.
We entered by the Western staircase that led us into the Western courtyard and the Namgyel Monastery. Climbing the path leading to the palace was reminiscent of climbing the Great Wall in Beijing—or a 30-minute workout on the treadmill. We were breathless by the time we arrived. The tour of the palace rooms was a blur as we began from the topmost level and gradually made our way down through narrow stairways. The dimly lit rooms opened to public housed statues of Buddha, Buddhist relics, and impressive golden stupas encrusted with precious stones of past Dalai Lamas. At the time of our visit, a crew of workers was busy tamping down the roof. The rhythmic pounding and singing enlivened the otherwise solemn atmosphere.
The tour ended in what was formerly the Dalai Lama's reception room for guests in the red palace. We took a short rest to catch our breath before walking back to the entrance (fortunately downhill this time).
We no longer view the Potala palace as a mysterious, isolated retreat. The palace now overlooks a spacious road that receives traffic from all directions. Directly opposite the palace is a large Chinese park and monument, as if to remind all that Tibet is now under Chinese rule. As a result of the road and construction of a stage at Potala square (for the coming 40th celebration of Tibet gaining the autonomous status), it was difficult to get the classic shot of the Palace in its entirety. Hopefully, the stage would only be a temporary fixture.
Admission:Adults- 100RMB limited to the first 1,500 visitors per day. Tourists and pilgrims jostle outside the ticket booth for up to 2 hours the day before just to secure an entry ticket for the following day.
Opening times: 9am to noon and 3 to 5pm
How to get there: Take a taxi (fixed fare of 10RMB) or hail a trishaw. You won't get lost.
From journal Tibet: Almost Heaven or Hell?
Townsville, Queensland, Australia
December 19, 2001
The airport is ninety minutes from town so even if you take the early morning flight, you will not be settled in your hotel until about 11am. Most people will spend the rest of the day just relaxing. On day two, you may feel able to venture out to become orientated to your surroundings but don’t overdo things. Perhaps walk to the Barkhor area and wander the streets and narrow alleys.
The Jokhang Temple is a "must see" attraction. You need several hours to see it properly including exploring the inner rooms and relaxing on the roof as you gaze over the city. Take time to watch the pilgrims chanting their mantras and prostrating themselves in front of and inside the temple. Marvel at their devotion and faith in spite of the many obstacles that have faced them in recent years. Be caught up in the passion, the sound and dramatic atmosphere of hundreds of worshippers walking clockwise within the temple complex. Entry fee is Y15 (about US$2).
The Potala Palace is a complete contrast. The huge building (there are more than 1000 rooms) sits high on a ridge overlooking the centre of town. It is dramatic and spectacular. It also, however, represents Tibet’s dilemma as this was the home of the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism and one-time government leader. Since 1959, the Palace has been empty and the Dalai Lama is in exile. Today it is a somewhat sad museum, lacking the sparkle of life. It is, however, something that should not be missed by any visitor. The building and much of the contents are marvellous. Take several hours to wander the corridors and rooms. Visit the Dalai Lama’s private quarters and thrill to the relics that somehow escaped destruction from the marauding Red Guards. Entry is Y70 (about US$9).
Lhasa has several monasteries worth visiting and there is good accommodation and restaurants within the central city.
From journal On top of the World
by Heather F
Heywood, Victoria, Australia
December 19, 2000
From journal Mysterious tibet