Up we go: Potala Palace, Friday, 10/16/15

But first, in the shadow of the great palace, the people of Lhasa meet each morning to dance, men and women both, and our group joined in, or at least we watched.  I recorded several videos, but haven't figured out how to post them.  Their dancing is lively, as they step to recorded music, more like line dancing.  Hundreds gather, and they seem happy and proud as they move to native tunes.  Bernice and I tried a few steps, and then I retreated to film.  It's a marvelous way to begin the day!

Bernice (center in red) did all right!  Left of this picture, was the real crowd. 
Oh, I wish you could see the videos.

Who could resist their photo taken with this golden guy?

Sheila, Joanne and Marilyn near the plaza.

We'd all been looking forward to exploring the Potala Palace, seat of the Dalai Lama and one of the most awe-inspiring princely residences and palaces in the world.  At 12,300 ft above sea level at its highest point, this amazing palace has the honor of being the highest palace in the world.

Look at this incredible, breathtaking, and historical UNESCO World Heritage treasure built on a red hill ... it's the landmark symbol of Tibet!  It consists of many houses, chapels, and is regarded as one of the most beautiful architectural buildings in the world.  The general structure is two parts -- the Red Palace and the White Palace. Housed within are artifacts from Tibetan history, religion and culture.  Statues of Buddha, murals and works of art grace every area of this mountaintop palace.

For us it was the culmination of our Tibetan visit.  We'd been advised, even before we left the states, that walking shoes would be necessary and walking sticks helpful to climb 458 steps up the palace.  It's a one-way trip; the entrance is in the front and the exit is in the back.  Most of our group was willing.

According to Wikipedia, "The building measures 400 meters east-west and 350 meters north-south, with sloping stone walls averaging 3 meters thick, and 5 meters (more than 16 ft) thick at the base, and with copper poured into the foundations to help proof it against earthquakes.  Thirteen stories of buildings -- containing over 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and about 200,000 statues -- soar 384 ft on top of Marpo Ri, the "Red Hill," rising more than near 1,000 ft in total above the valley floor."  Over 1,000 rooms and painted white by the faithful every year!!!

The stone steps were very steep and the walking sticks really helped.

We climbed, huffing and puffing, and our group met up here (along with others), and once inside, using our cameras was prohibited (tho okay outside)  More taboos of Tibetan Buddhism -- no hat or sunglasses, don't step on the doorsill (up and over), don't smoke in the halls.  The visit time is strictly limited to one hour.  Those dark "curtain" panels?  Made of yak hair.  Reading the brief introduction below will give you more information.

Absolutely stunning inside, trust me on this.

The view of Lhasa and surrounding mountains unmatchable.

No, we weren't finished with those steps ... now we had to go down!

Simply, Wow.

I didn't write down where we ate our lunch, but I know we were hungry after all that exercise.  When lunch was finished, back on the bus!  Next was a talk/demonstration of traditional Thangka paintings by a Master's student, which we thoroughly enjoyed.  Following this we met with a doctor practicing traditional Tibetan medicine in a hospital (Mentsekhang) located close to Potala Palace on busy Barkhor Street.  Using thangka wall hangings (charts), he pointed out that Tibetan medicine has a close relationship to the Tibetan calendar, and that local doctors believe the body changes with the seasons.  This entire day was a revelation!

And lastly, after our farewell dinner at the DeKang Hotel in Tibet, we were entertained by dancers and even a (costumed) prancing yak... and, by gum, we joined in the celebration!  What a wonderful country with beautiful sites and gentle people, guided by their Buddhist religion.  We have loved visiting the "rooftop of the world."

Tomorrow, after breakfast, we fly to Nepal ...!


  1. The palace is a pretty impressive place.

  2. OK Nickie. splain. The Dalai Lama is in exile in India. Tibet is officially part of China, right? Does China recognize this holy place? Seat of the Dalai Lama you said. What am I missing?

    1. China "tolerates" the palace. The Tibetan people revere the palace. Though the Dalai Lama cannot return to Tibet, this palace and Lhasa are still considered the "seat of the Dalai Lama."

  3. Don't know if you figured this out yet but the best thing to do about the video is upload to YouTube and then insert it into your blog.

  4. Oh Wow! That about covers it ... not just that spectacular palace, but the demonstrations and talks afterwards. Must have been amazing.


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