Lasa Shi, China

Potala Palace

Originally added by Kalsang Gyaltsen

The Potala Palace is the seat of Dalai Lama in Lhasa, Tibet. The Palace dominates the cityscape. The 17th-century Potala has 999 rooms and one cave with an impressive collection of statues, paintings, ancient artifacts, 3-D mandalas, stupas, and more.

Visiting Potala Palace is the highlight of any tour in Tibet. It is best to start the day by walking towards the Palace and setting on the opposite side if it. Chak Pori Hill is one of the best spots to take incredible photos of the Palace. Of course, if you can visit it for sunrise or sunset, the scene can look even better.However, the stairs leading to Chak Pori can be closed later in the evening. 

After taking photos from the outside of the Potala, go inside the complex. You will need Tibetan guide with reservation tickets to take you there. During high season, the time you can spend inside is limited. If you wish to explore the Palace at your pace, I recommend visiting in winter months when there are typically no limits. 

Inside the Palace you will see living quarters of the Dalai Lama, huge chapels with massive stupas, statues and 3-D mandalas, as well as important religious objects. From the top of the Palace you can see a panoramic view on Lhasa city.

If you have time, walk around the Palace with many Tibetans. They circumambulate the religious places in a clockwise direction (called kora in Tibetan). Watch Tibetans spinning prayer wheels along the complex perimeter. While walking the kora, you will walk through the peaceful park by the lake behind the Palace. On the lake, there is a small island with the Lukhang temple on it. The temple is famous for its murals.  

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