Potala Palace

Potala Palace is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions located in Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet. Sitting atop Potala Hill, it rises miles above sea level, showcasing golden-roofed buildings and an array of towering hallways and ancient artifacts. For over a thousand years the palace has symbolized the city of Lhasa and remained its most enduring landmark. The long climb uphill to the palace's entrance is a bit rugged at first, especially if you are joined by pilgrims clutching their parcels of yak butter, which seems to be a popular thing to leave at one of the numerous shrines and chapels inside. But it is well worth it to see one of the great architectural masterpieces in all of China.

The history of the Potala Palace Tibet begins in the seventh century when King Songtsan Gambo of the Tubo dynasty ordered the construction of the 999 room palace to commemorate his wedding to the princesses of Nepal and Tang. The palace is widely recognized as the pinnacle of Tibetan architecture, and the epicenter of the entire Lhasa Valley. The interior is just as renowned, as the intricate murals that line the corridors lead you through a maze of treasured materials focused on Tibetan history, religion, culture and arts.

There are two halves to the Potala Palace: the red palace and the white palace. They are separated, as you would guess, by the colors found on the walls. Throughout the history of the Potala Palace Tibet, the red section has been used for religious purposes, while the white served as the living quarters for the Dalai Lamas, and where they would handle their political affairs.

The Red Palace consists of the Hall of the Buddha, the Memorial hall and the Scripture Hall. This is the half that most tourists spend their time in; it contains imposing chapels, and numerous jeweled tombs of previous Dalai Lamas. The White Palace is more utilitarian, mostly offices and a printing house, but the apartments of the thirteenth Dalai Lama offer a rare glimpse into the history of the Potala Palace. Here you can find what it was really like to experience court life for the Dalai Lamas, and the roof allows elegant views of Lhasa and its surroundings.

Another reason to visit the Potala Palace Tibet is to see the chanting pilgrims who descend on the landmark each day, offering up ceremonial scarves and the aforementioned yak butter at the chapels and shrines. Potala Palace is also the resting place of many iron, bronze, gold and silver pieces, as well as sacrificial instruments from the same period. You will also find all kinds of leather goods, porcelain artifacts, carved stone goods and a wide array of gems, seals and the golden documents issued by emperors to the Dalai Lamas.

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