One of the wonders is the Potala Palace. located at Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region, China at an elevation of 3,700 meters. The name Potala came from Sanskrit. Meaning the land of compassion Buddha Avalokiteshvara, also known as Boddhisatva Chenrezig in Tibetan.
History of Potala Palace
Potala Palace is built on a red hill, known as Marpori. The Marpori hill looks like an elephant lying down as a sign of auspiciousness. Potala Palace was once a meditation area of the 33rd King Srongtsen Gampo during the 7th century. King Srongtsen Gampo is known as the emanation of the compassionate Buddha Chenrezig. Nowadays we can also witness the beauties of the meditation cave of the King in the Potala Palace.
Even though Potala Palace was built before the Jhokang Temple. The statue of the compassion Buddha Chenrezig in the Jhokang Temple nowadays has given a prophecy to King Srongtsen Gampo that he should send to escort the sandalwood statue of the compassion Buddha Chenrezig into Tibet from the border between Nepal and India to flourish the Buddha Dharma in Tibet.
The Legend of the sandalwood statue of Compassion Buddha Chenrezig
The statue naturally appeared from the sandalwood in the deep forest border between Nepal and India along with three other statues of compassion Buddha Chenrezig.
Location of the four statues in the year 2018
- Jowo Wati in the Kyirong Phakpalhakang Temple.
- Jowo U Kang in the Buddhanath at Kathmandu, Nepal.
- Jowo Jamali at the border between India and Nepal where it appeared.
- Jowo Lokisharawa in the Potala Palace. Jowo means lord or master in the Tibetan language.
King Srongtsen Gampo started the construction of Potala Palace including the Phakpa Lhakang temple for the statue of Jowo Lokisharawa Chenrezig.
Facts of Potala Palace during the 7th Century
- Potala Palace was first built on the ninth floor.
- The main chapel is Phakpa Lhakang and all others are the Palace of the King.
- During that time, Potala was home only to the King.
- The palace of the Queen and Princess is at the Chakpori opposite hill near Potala Palace.
- During that time, it is said that there is a floating bridge between the two Palaces.
- King Srongtsen Gampo has six wives. Four Tibetans: 1. Mongsa Tricham from central Tibet Duilong was known as the highest-ranking Queen. She started the first meditation retreat center in Tibet at Drakyerpa during the 7th century. Later many great masters meditated at Drakyerpa including the Maha Guru Padmasambhava, Maha Guru Atisha, Maha Guru Shantarakshita, and Maha Guru Lalung Paldor. Two other wives from outside of Tibet are Wencheng princess from Tang Dynasty and Princess Brikuti from Nepal.
- Princess Brikuti has helped in the construction of Potala Palace. Especially the wall paintings in the Potala Palace.
- Later Princess Wencheng was welcomed in front of the Potala Palace by King Srongtsen Gampo.
During the 9th century, Potala Palace was affected by natural causes like thunder creating fires so only the Phakpa Lhakang temple and the Chogyal Drupuk ( the meditation cave of the king ) remained. During the 17th century, the 5th Dalai Lama started the reconstruction of the Potala Palace.
Photo: The height of the Potala Palace is 117 meters
White Palace and Red Palace
5th Dalai Lama constructed the 9th-floor Palace known as the White Palace. The construction duration of the White Palace was around 5-6 years. At the end of the 17th century, the 5th Dalai Lama passed away secretly because of the construction of the Potala Palace.
His disciple Sangay constructed the Red Palace on the 13th floor. The construction duration of the Red Palace was around 12 years. The Red Palace was built especially for the Golden Tombs of the 5th Dalai Lama.
Nowadays Travelers can visit the tombs of the 5th Dalai Lama in the middle of the Potala Palace ground floor.
Potala Palace and the Jokhang Temple are the two main sights inside Lhasa. The entrance fee of the Potala Palace for Travelers is 200 Chinese Renminbi in the summer from May to October. 100 Renminbi from November to February during the off-season. The Potala Palace tickets have to be booked four days in advance.
Potala Palace is the number one sightseeing recommendation in Tibet for Travelers. We arrange a Potala Palace tour on the 2nd-day tour to acclimatize to the altitude. We recommend Travelers do some exercise before climbing the stairs of Potala Palace.
Photos are not allowed inside the Palace. The view of Lhasa from the Potala Palace is stunning. Potala Palace has three entrances gate and one exit gate. Travelers are not allowed to carry the liquid and match inside the Potala. Travelers can leave them at the central gate of the Palace and pick them up after the sightseeing.
Travelers can buy the water near the summit of the Potala. Travelers must bring their passports while traveling inside the Potala. We highly recommend Potala Palace.
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