Pritam Rohila Travels

Reports of my travels along with some pictures

Oct 29, 2010


June 1 Continued

After lunch, we were to visit the famous 1,000-room Potala Palace.

Since, in spite of my altitude sickness medicine, I felt tired, short of breath, and unwilling to climb up a lot of steps, Kundan, I, and another woman chose not to participate in this visit. Instead, I spent the time taking pictures of the palace from outside, while Kundan and the other lady shopped around.

Potala Palace was originally built, on the slopes of Mt. Marpori, in the 7th century as headquarters of Tibet’s theocracy. But most of it was rebuilt by the 5th Dalai Lama in the 17th century, and has since been expanded and renovated. After the Chinese occupation, it serves as a museum.

Only 500 visitors are allowed inside each day, and only for one hour each. No liquids, lipsticks, explosive material or photography are allowed.

The tallest building is the Red Palace, which is adorned with murals illustrating the Buddhist folklore and the ancient Tibetan way of life. Also it has gold-covered tombs containing the remains of 8 Dalai Lamas.

Below the Red Palace is the White Palace. It was the seat of the government and the winter residence of the Dalai Lama until the Chinese take-over in 1951.

On either side of the White Palace are
former offices of the government.

At periodic intervals, the boundary wall of the Palace bears small pictures of various deities as well as

holy Buddhist mantras.

Across the street from the Patala Palace is a big square and

park, where people pray,

have family outings and picnics,

feed pigeons.

Later we visited a monastery, where our guide, Pemba, had spent several years of his early life. Not being able to provide for his education, his parents had turned him over to this monastery. There he learnt Tibetan and Sanskrit languages, and studied Buddhist scriptures as well as the moral and ethical laws. At 14, he decided he needed a change in his life, and quit the monastery. Later he married and now has two children.

Monks at the monastery greeted him warmly. One of them they helped us make our offerings of alcohol to one of their resident deity.

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