Potala palace is World’s Heighest Palace.
The World’s Heighest – ” Potala Palace”
Clear blue skies on the top, plateau mountains, snow-covered peaks, sacred chants across streets, people doing parikrama on feet, and the sounds of melodic chimes. Doesn’t this remind you about the roof of the world, Tibet? The roof of the world also has the – World Highest Palace, Located in the heart of Lhasa, Tibet. This beautiful palace is the Home to his holiness The Dalai Lama (winter palace) or called Norbulingka traditionally.
1) Location and How to get to Lhasa:
Tibet’s altitude is 14,370 meters above sea level. Potala palace is situated approximately 3,700 m more than the 14,370 meters above ground level in the center of Lhasa. This means you can imagine how oxygen is scarce. People or travelers get mountain sickness and fall short of oxygen, hence oxygen is more in demand over here.
Lhasa is the capital of Tibet, yet doesn’t have an airport. The nearest airport which you can arrive is the Gonggar airport. Which is situated outside the city almost many km away. When you enter Lhasa there is a long tunnel in Quxu. And after one hour of a drive, you arrive in Lhasa!
Railway stations are accessible around China and Tibet which starts from Beijing to Lhasa and vice versa, this rail system is the longest but takes only 1-2 days to reach due to the non-stop speed.
2) History of Potala Palace:
It was the home of His Holiness Dalai Lama from 1649 to 1959, Due to conflicts that arose he had to leave his home and since then it has been a museum and, A world heritage since 1994. If you observe the palace closely there is a red palace and a white palace. The white palace is for administrative purposes and the red palace is for religious purposes. The Potala palace contains two houses of prayer on its northwest corner that preserve portions of the first structure
In 1645, after one of his spiritual advisers, Konchog Chophel (d. 1646), pointed out that the site was ideal as a seat of government because it is between Drepung and Sera monasteries and the old city of Lhasa. The external structure was build in 3 years while the interior, together with its furnishings took 45 years to complete. The Dalai Lama and his government moved into the Potrang Karpo (‘White Palace’) in 1649.
3) Why was the Potala Palace built?
It is 1,300 old since the Potala palace was built. As a gesture of love on behalf of the Tibetan king Songtsen Gambo for his marriage to Princess Wencheng of the Chinese Tang Dynasty. Eventually, monks came to rule Tibet and the palace was expanded and converted into the winter residence for the Dalai Lama.
4) Festivals which take place Around Potala Palace:
- Shoton festival
- Shoton Celebration (some of the time spelled Sho Dun) is one of the biggest and most popular celebrations in Tibet. On the off chance that you are going during that time in Tibet, it is an extraordinary chance to see conventional Tibetan Culture. A large number of individuals come to celebrate it. There is such a lot of communication with local people during celebration exercises.
- Shoton in Tibetan means Yogurt banquet. During the festival, Tibetan artists perform traditional operas, and important monasteries display large Thangkas – Buddha paintings. The main events gave the other two names to the festival – “Tibetan Opera Festival” or “Thangka Exhibition Festival”.
- As per the lunar calendar, the Shoton festival begins on the sixth month, and 29 the day.
5) History of Shoton Festival
- The Gelug Sect of Buddhism has a regulation that between April and June according to the Tibetan calendar lamas may only practice Buddhism in monasteries to avoid stepping on and killing tiny living things.
- When the ban ends, lamas go out of the monasteries and laymen offer them sour milk and perform Tibetan operas. After 1642, the Gandain Phodrang (Paradise Palace) became the political, religious, and cultural center of Tibet.
Tens of thousands of people went there each year to give yogurt to the lamas and to ask for blessings. The Tibetan Opera troupes and wild yak dancing troupes all came to perform. In this way, the Shoton Festival began.
More about Shoton Festival:
Shoton Festival is very popular among Tibetans. Thousands of Tibetan people gather at the Drepung monastery to see huge Thangka – Buddha Painting. Tibetans believe that the Thangkas can give a blessing. pilgrims also visit Sera monastery and Norbulingka park to see another giant thangka. Tibetan artists perform traditional opera dance in Norbuledka park for visitors.
Everyone visits all Palaces in the park to pray, leave donations and visit the Palaces to pray and leave donations.