Lhasa , one of the highest cities of the world, is the capital of Tibet Autonomous Region of China. Lhasa , literally meaning , Place of the GODS has been the center of Tibetan Buddhism and has many monasteries around. Red and White Potala Palace soars over the Holy city and the charming whitewashed old Tibetan quarter continues to preserve the essence of traditional Tibetan life.
Photo : Potala palace ,Jokhang Monastery , Barkhor Street , Drepung monastery , Norbulingka Palace , Sera monastery
Potala Palace was the residence of Dalai Lamas and was the headquarter of government of Tibet until 1959 AD when 14th Dalai Lama fled to India during the Chinese invasion. The construction of the palace was started by 5th Dalai Lama in 1645 AD. Thirteen stories of the Potala Palace containing over 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and about 200,000 statues is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Jokhang Monastery is the spiritual center of Tibetan Buddhism and is the holiest destination for all Tibetan pilgrims. The temple’s architectural style is a mixture of Indian Vihara design, Tibetan and Nepalese design. The oldest part of the temple was built in 652. Over the next 900 years, the temple was enlarged several times with the last renovation done in 1610 by the Fifth Dalai Lama.
Barkhor Street is an ancient round street surrounding Jokhang Monastery. Even today , many pilgrims holding prayer wheels walk clock-wise from dawn to dark. The street is always full of religious atmosphere and a world of exotic articles. Varied shops on both the sides of the street are selling Tibetan ornaments, knives, prayer wheels, Long sleeve chuba ( Traditional Tibetan dress ) and Thangka ( Traditional Tibetan scroll paintings ).
Drepung Monastery established in 1416 AD is known as the most important monastery of Gelugpa in Tibetan Buddhism. It is considered one of the ‘Three Great Monasteries’ of Tibet. The conservation of the monastery is excellent and frescoes using mineral colours can be seen on the walls of the rocks.
Norbulingka Palace or The Park of Treasures is the biggest man made garden in Tibet. Constructed in 1755 AD by 7th Dalai Lama , the palace has been the summer residence of all the Dalai Lamas from 7th to 14th. Norbulingka is mainly made up to several palaces where Dalai Lamas kept study and lived during summer.
Sera Monastery is located at the foot of Tatipu Hill was built in 1419 AD. The monastery was named Sera which means wild rose in the Tibetan language, because the hill behind it was covered with wild roses in bloom when it was built. Scriptures written in gold powder, fine statues, scent cloth and unparalleled murals can be found in the monastery.