Monday, 22 October 2007

Lhasa Potala Palace (Day 2)

Finally I arrived at the much anticipated Potala Palace.

The original Potala was originally built in the 7th century and was restored by the 5th Dalai Lama to the current state in the 17th century. Once the tallest building in the world (before there were those skyscrappers), the Potala consist of 13 storey.

There are the white and red buildings in Potala, white for political meetings and red for religious purposes. No photographs are allowed inside the Potala but I can tell you that those walls and carpets that are centuries old are very well preserved still.

Today, there are quite many restrictions to get into the Potala. Firstly, tickets are limited to 1,000 per day and each tourist is allowed only 1 hour inside the Potala. From what I read, if you want to get tickets to Potala, you have to go there 1 day in advance to register and the next day to queue. My word of advice, contact a tour agency. Not only can they secure a ticket for you, it's best to have a guide tag along to explain the history of the Potala to you. Have your passport ready because at the security check point, passports are required for verifications.

Pilgrims getting into Potala. These are mainly nomads who will travel to Lhasa only during winter (in other seasons they will be busy with farming and grazing cattles).

The Potala is currently being taken care of by the Chinese authority. It is such an irony that the very people who caused the Potala to be partially destroyed during the cultural revolution are those who are profitering from the tourist visits to this palace today. I feel sad for the Tibetian people, they are no longer allow to enter the Potala freely. Something so religious and sacred like the Potala, who will have the best interest for it? And who will be in the best position to protect it and let it flourish for the many years to come, just like it did for the last couple of centuries?

An overview of Lhasa, the biggest city in Tibet. Once, it was only 12sq km big. Today, it is 56sq km.

A Tibetian lady with her dog. I asked for a photo of her and her dog, she was rather shy and was laughing at it.

Dear colleagues, if you are reading this, here's just a 到此一游 photo to prove that I have been to Potala! No download from the internet haha...

I wish I could share with you my entire photo collection in Lhasa but that will have to wait till I return home I guess. I am going to brave the cold and walk to Potala again to take some pictures of it by night.

1 comment:

*sheep said...

u're right! the palace is indeed majestic. Think any person who likes photography will love Tibet.