Lhasa has always been a paradise of pureness in my mind. Amy, one of my classmates is from Lhasa. She is a Tibetan who is proud of her hometown. Thus she told us a lot about Lhasa and Tibetan culture. This summer, I went there with Chinaholidays. We went to Potala Palace first. As far as I am concerned, Potala Place is to Tibet is what the Great Wall and the Forbidden City to Beijing.
The Potala Palace is abou 2 kilometers away from the center of Lhasa. It’s located on a mountain called Hongshan Mountain. Linda, our guide told us that the local people believed that Avalokitesvara lived on the mountain.
From my history textbook, I knew that the Potala Palace was built in the 7th century by Sontzen Gampo to marry Princess Wencheng of Tang Daynasty.
We climbed 5 slopes to enter the White Palace and the Red Palace of Potala. They are two connecting parts. The White Palace of Potala is a majestic 7-storey palace with various halls and galleries, the inside of which is painted with colorful resplendent Buddhist murals by masters. the Red Palace of Potala contains some marvelous structures such as the Dalai Lamas’ stupas, Buddhist hall, chanting sutra hall, with seven actual floors and six supporting foundation floors. There are over 1000 rooms in the palace, but we can only visit 20 rooms because others are not open to tourism. Being a palace with political and religionary functions in history, Potala is exquisitely decorated with gorgeous paintings and embossment themed on plateau landscapes, historical legends, Buddhist stories, the scene of building Potala, etc.
The porches and halls of Potala Palace twist and scatter from the foot to the top of Mount Hong and there seem to be 13 floors from the outside, but there are nine in fact – the four floors at the bottom are structures supporting the main body of the palace. It is marvelous that the palace was wood-and-stone structured in the mass, with the outer walls built with huge granites and some consolidated with iron.
Apart from being a famous imperial palace of Tibetan kings and a sacred land of Buddhism in Chinese history, the Potala Palace is also a museum. We saw a large number of cultural relics there, including ten thousand pieces of Thangka (Buddhist scroll paintings), statues of Buddhas made from gold, silver, jade, wood and clay, bullaes, sutras, Sharipu of Sakyamuni, etc.
It was really an amazing experience. I do recommend all of you who are interested in Tibetan culture and arts to visit the Potala Palace. It’s worth exploring.