Potala Palace - The Majestic Realm !Potala Palace is located on Potala hills at an altitude of 3,700-m. Situated in the center of Lhasa valley, it has been recognized as a World heritage site by UNESCO. Some say that the palace is worthy enough to be included in the list of wonders of the world. Being one of the oldest structures in Tibet, Potala Palace has also become the most visited monument in Tibet.
How the Legend Goes !The construction of the palace was started by King Songtsen Gumpa in the 7th century for his two newly wed wives. The palace was used by the king as a retreat for meditation till his death. The palace also suffered heavy loss due to several wars and lightning strike and later reconstructed by the order of 5th Dalai Lama in 1645. It gave a new look to the structure as the palace was not only mended, but was completely restructured, thus becoming a holy seat of Dalai Lamas gaining the important political center. After the 7th Dalai Lama, who constructed a summer palace in Norbulingka, Potala Palace was only used in winters. It stopped being abode for Dalai Lamas after the 14th Dalai Lama was ousted from here to Dharamshala in India due to a failed uprising against the invading Chinese in 1959. Since then it is used as a State museum of China and is now a famous tourist destination.
What to Look For, What to Do !Potala Palace generally comprises of two portions, The White Palace which is the administrative block and the Red Palace - a religious block. You will be entering the Palace from East portal which will lead you to Deyang Shar courtyard. This is the place where Dalai Lamas used to enjoy Tibetan Opera. To the west of it is the White Palace where you will find the living quarters of monks, which is on the fifth and sixth floor. On the fourth floor, there is a longest hall of the White Palace called the Great East Hall. It's a brilliantly decorated hall that was once used for holding any big religious or political functions. The quality of the art you will find inside is definitely worth your time. Don't leave the building without going into the balcony of the White Palace from where you will get a panoramic view of Lhasa City.
Move to the next portion of the Palace, the Red Palace. This is where you will find relics and antique of 7th century. The Red Palace is full of statues and gorgeously carved stupas that will completely justify your effort to come to Potala Palace. Here also you will find a gigantic hall in the middle, The Greatest West Hall, which is the largest hall in entire Potala Palace. The walls of the halls are filled with portraits about the life and works of fifth Dalai Lama. You will be awe-struck by knowing about the power and dignity that a Dalai Lama holds in the scheme of things. Apart from the halls, you can also visit the other five chapels, The Saint's Chapel, The North Chapel, The South Chapel, The East and The West Chapel. The North Chapel is dedicated to Sakyamuni Buddha along with the fifth Dalai Lama. Similarly, all other chapels are also dedicated to some important personalities in the course of history.
What Else You Need to Know !You can visit the Palace from 9.00 to 12.00 in the morning and from 3.00 to 5.00 in the evening. It will be better if you keep something around 3 hrs in hand just to roam around in the palace, but if you wish to enjoy the exquisiteness and elegance of this marvel, keep aside at least half a day if not more. There is no doubt that palace will be of great interest to elders due to its rich history but it is also going to be a special place for kids also as the whole palace is full of color and vibrance. There are frequent bus service from the Lasa Town to the palace, you can also hire private taxi.
Sojourn to this paradise, so mighty, so divine and absolute sceneric. The words here are just the mere reflection of what you are going to see in this one of a kind marvel. Potala Palace has everything in it that will make you think, is there any better place on the face of earth.