Potala Palace, Tibet – Located on 3700 m Above Sea Level 

Potala Palace

Potala Palace

Potala Palace is a sacred place in the minds of Tibetans, as well as the symbol of Lhasa. It was built in the seventh century and it has already had a long history of over 1300 years. The temple complex covers a surface area of some 220,000 square meters, making it one of the largest in China. Comprising the White and Red Palaces with their ancillary buildings, was built on the Red Mountain in the center of Lhasa Valley, at an altitude of 3,700 meters. The Potala Palace has 1000 chambers. The white places was for secular use. It contained living quarters, offices, the seminary and the printing house. The red Palace’s function was religious. The Potala Palace has always been the political center of Tibet since the fifth Dalai Lama.

Potala Palace Tibet

Potala Palace Tibet

The construction of the Potala Palace was initiated by Tibetan King Songtsan Gambo for his bride, the Tang Dynasty Princess Wencheng. When the Tibetan Kingdom was in its prime period, for the friendship between the Tibetan and the Han nationalities, and to welcome Princess Wencheng into Tibet, Songtsan Gambo ordered the construction of the Palace. It had 999 rooms, plus the red tower on the mountain top, one thousand rooms in all. Since then, houses began to appear as living quarters in addition to tents. The pious followers of Buddhism regarded the towering Palace on top of the mountain as “The Polala Mountain,” the sacred place of Buddhism, hence the name of the Palace.

Most fascinating about the Potala Palaceare the Buddhist statues of various size made of copper, gold or silver, which are unique and exquisite in shape, excellent in craftsmanship, and lifelike. Some of

Potala Palace Room Interior

Potala Palace Room Interior

them have a height of several meters, and some, only a few inches. There are at least over 200 thousand statures in all.

Today the Potala Palaceis an enormous Hotel & “Art Museum” filled with dazzling array of paintings. The Art Gallery on the second floor of Sixipingcuo Tower alone contains 698 mural paintings. According to the autobiography of Dalai Lama of the fifth generation, the creation of Potala murals was started in 1648 A. D. by 63 painters from various parts of Tibet and completed 10 years later. Over the past 300 years or more, the original murals have undergone several renovations and a number of new murals have been added. Their contents cover a broad spectrum of Buddhist life, and the unique land, custom, history and episodes of Tibet. Tibetan painters are adept in applying colors of sharp contrast to depict varied and colorful images, and have reached

Potala Palace

Potala Palace

extremely high artistic realm. Some of the mural paintings measure 5-6 meters high and a few score of meters long. Usually several hundred paintings are grouped together in a magnificent and kaleidoscopic endless array.



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