All the local inhabitants of the Tibet assert that “if someone has not visited the Potala Palace, then he has not viewed Lhasa, the capital of the state of Tibet that gained its independence in 1951. Many travelers have started including Lhasa to their China travel packages.
This sacred complex for the Buddhists contains magnificently designed and decorated structures that amaze the tourists coming to spend their vacations in China
The word Potala means the island of the ship in the Sanskrit language. This name refers to the island where the gods of mercy live and has always been a holy place for the Bandits since ancient times.
The Potala Palace has remained the summer resort of the Dalai Lama for a long period of time until the 14th Dalai Lama escaped from the complex and went to reside in India in 1959 and since that date, the palace has been transformed into the most important highlight of the region that is included to all tours to China
The Potala Palace, being called as “the icon of Lhasa, the Tibetan capital has become one of the most important cultural and historical centers in Asia.
On top of a high mountain in Lhasa in the Chinese Tibet, lies the famous palaces complex of Potala. Looking exactly like a fortified fortress, this complex dates back to 1300 years. It attracts numerous tourists coming to spend a tour in China every season.
The Potala Palace as first constructed in 641 by Songtsän Gampo, the Tibet King, to welcome his princess, Wan Ching. Afterwards it has become the center of the Dalai Lama, the supreme religious leader of the Tibetans Buddhists. The complex was rebuilt by the fifth Dalai Lama between the years 1654 and 1693.
The Potala Palace is the original home of many golden treasures and precious stones. Some scholars have asserted that completing a total sorting of all the treasures of the palace would take years and years of hard work. This was why the Potala Palace was added to the UNESCO world heritage list in 1994. This gave more importance to the palace and the number of tourists who travel to China and visit Potala has started to increase tremendously during the past few years.
The Potala Palaces complex was very first established in the 7th century AD. This complex lies 3700 meters above the sea level with a total surface area of around 4000 square meters.
The length of the complex, from East to West, is 360 meters, and its width, from South to North, is approximately 270 meters. The main structure of the Potala palaces has a surface area of 117 square meters and it consists of 13 floors that were luxuriously constructed.
The Potala Palace is considered to be the highest historical building that was ever constructed in the world. The complex consists of many structures including luxurious palaces, temples, and fortresses. The traditional Tibet style of architecture is quite apparent in the Potala palace.
This style is clearly represented in the fortresses that were constructed with wood and rocks, many huge strong columns, the golden outer layer of the ceilings, and the square shaped inner ceiling. This unique type of architecture attract the attention of many travelers who spend their holidays in China
If we take a look on the design of the Potala palace from above, we can easily point out the overlapping yards, twisted corridors, and many other features characterizing the Tibet style of construction
The structures of the Potala Palace were erected in a way to differentiate between the major buildings and other secondary structures. This fact highlights the major buildings of the complex showing its beauty and how the architects of the palace were skilful in creating several layers of buildings that makes the visitors sense the harmony and the greatness of this historical site that is usually included in many custom tours to China
The Potala Palace is considered to be a miracle of architectural art. The buildings of the Potala Palace can be divided into two main sections. The first section is the residence of the Dalai Lama and his political activities and the second section consists of the towers and the tombs of the Dalai Lamas from all generations. This is besides many Buddhism structures.
The center piece of the first section of the Potala Palace is the white palace which was built in 1645 and the construction work of this palace took 8 years to be completed. There are two large beautiful temples erected to the East and the West of the palace. The white Palace took that name from the white color of its walls.
The main structure in the other section of the Potala Palace is the Red Palace that was erected in 1690. This palace was constructed in the reign of Kangxi, the emperor who belonged to the Qing dynasty and ruled from 1661 till 1722, who ordered many craftsmen from China and Mongolia to enlarge the palace.
After Tibet has gained its independence in 1951, the central government has paid great attention to the Potala Palace and in 1961 the palace was added to the list of the important protected monuments of the country.
Moreover, a certain amount of money was specified for the restoration and reformation of the palace on annual basis. However, the Tibet government has faced many obstacles problems because the Potala palace at that time has not witnessed any repairing works from more than 300 years.
This was why the Council of State of the Tibet has specified a huge amount of money in 1985 for a comprehensive restoration program of the Potala Palace. This amount of money was considered to be the largest amount to be assigned for repairing a historical site in the history of the Republic of China.
The Chinese authorities and governmental officials wanted to preserve the cultural significance of the palace and in addition, they wanted to preserve this popular touristic site that many group tours to China visit everyday
The second stage of the restoration works of the Potala Palace was completed in 2009 with the help of the Chinese government, the local authorities of the state of Tibet, and many international organizations as well. The restoration works of the palace have cost around 22 million dollars for the overall comprehensive restoration of the Potala Palace; the central government of china has paid more than 50 million dollars to regain the greatness and beauty of this amazing piece of architectural art.
The Potala Palace has gathered and preserved a large collection of unique historical antiquities since the fifth Dalai Lama has given the complex his attention 300 years ago. Many travelers organize affordable tours to China to explore the greatness of the monuments of the country and this of course includes the Potala Palace.
The Potala Palace has more than 25 thousand square meters of murals, around 1000 Bedsits pieces of arts, and 10 thousand statues from different periods of time.
The palace has a rare collection of books and Buddhists manuscripts and some of them were written on leaves.
There are also some evidence of the strong links and relations that were established between the local authorities of the Tibet and the central government of China throughout history. This collection includes the Golden Records, Golden seals, and Jades seals.
This collection of items were granted by the rulers and kings of the two most powerful dynasties that have ruled over China for more than 500 years, the Ming and the Qing, to the successive Dalia Lamas.
The Potala Palace also offers another set of displays to the visitors of the palace like golden and silver jewelry, Jades, historical tools, silk textiles, many handicrafts tools, and makeup as well. This was why a large number of China travel packages usually include a visit to the Potala Palace.
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