Potala Palace, one of the important sculptures in Tibet and is probably the most popular destination for thousands of Buddhist devout and foreigners. Potala Palace, is considered as the winter palace of the Dalai Lama's since 7th century thus Potala Palace is considered as the core symbol in Tibetan Buddhism as well as traditional administration in Tibet. Potala Palace is famous for being the chief residence for Dalai Lama.Potala Palace was named after Mount Potalaka, which is considered as the abode of the Avalokiteshvara one of the most popular and major Bodhisattva in Tibetan Buddhism and Nepalese Buddhism.
Potala Palace is located upon Marpo RI Hill around 130 meters above the Lhasa valley. The Potala Palace is considered as the highest monumental Buddhist structures in all of Tibet. Early history states that even King Songtsen Gampo went to meditate in the meditation cave in the Marpo hill which is known as the dwelling place of Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva. In Tibetan Buddhism, Meditation is considered as one of the important Buddhist practices. One impressive features of Potala Palace is its foundation i.e. the building was constructed with copper as its core foundation to make Potala Palace earthquake proof.
Things to See in Potala Palace
Being a monumental structure that can be seen most part of the valley, Potala Palace is around 400 m east west and 350 m North-South with thirteen stories of building. Potala Palace, consists of 1000 rooms with more than 2000 different Nepal Tibet Buddha statues i.e. Tibetan Buddha statues, Nepali Buddha statues etc. Among these few Buddha statues, some Buddha statues are considered quite important and there are around 10,000 Buddhist shrines inside the Potala Palace.
Some important things to see inside Potala Palace are:
- White Palace
Known as the Potrang Kampo, White palace is the important structures in Potala Palace, and was used as the living quarters of Dalai Lama before the exile of 14th Dalai Lama. White Palace was built during the period of 5th Dalai Lama but the structure built by 5th Dalai Lama was believed to be smaller than the present one and the extended palace was built 13th Dalai Lama. The White palace contains living quarters, offices, and other rooms required for administrative point of view. The most interesting things to see in White Palace is the gold stupas which is the tombs of Eight Dalai Lamas and considered quite sacred in Tibet.
- Red Palace
Known as the Potrang Marpo, Red Palace is another important structures in Potala Palace. The important features of Red Palace is that it only used for religious study and praying purpse. Red palace is also popular for its many halls, chapels, libraries. Great West Hall is the central main Hall of Potala Palace, and consists of four great chapels i.e. Saint's Chapel, North Chapel, South Chapel, East Chapel, West Chapel. Another important sculptures of Red Palace is many form of Gallery i.e. 1st Gallery, Second gallery, Third Gallery. Red Palace also consists of the tomb of 13th Dalai Lama which is located in the Great West Hall
- Lhasa Zhola Pillars
Other important things to see in Potala palace is Lhasa Zhola Pillars which are located in the Zhola Village. These two pillars were constructed from stone. The interior pillar is known as doring nangma which can be found in the village fortification walls and the exterior stone pillar is known as the Doring Chima and located outside the South entrance of the village.
Potala Palace can be considered as the important Buddhist Pilgimage Sites in Tibet and is the destination for thousands of people, and pilgrims. Potala Palace is the Buddhist pilgrims destination for Buddhist disciples and monks from Nepal as well as China. Buddhist monks from Tibetan Buddhism, Chinese Buddhism as well as Newar Buddhism and Vajrayana Buddhism visit Potala Palace quite often.