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Potala Palace, Tibet

The Potala Palace: The Marvelous Tibetan Creation

The Potala Palace is one of the most iconic landmarks in Tibet and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994. Located on the northern side of Lhasa valley, the Potala Palace is a magnificent architectural feat. It soars up to 117 meters high, and it’s the highest palace in the world. The structure of the palace is said to resemble that of a nine-story white building on the red hill behind it. Inside, the vast collection of treasures, jewels, and scriptures can be seen. The palace was originally built in 1645, and it came to be the place where the Dalai Lama resides during the winter months.

History of the Potala Palace

The Potala Palace has a long and interesting history. It is said that when the fifth Dalai Lama, Lozang Gyatso, was in power, he decided to build a palace on the Red Hill in Lhasa to preserve the paintings, scriptures and other sacred objects that had been collected by his predecessors. The fifth Dalai Lama moved into the palace in 1649 and made it his primary residence.

The meticulous layout of the building was divided into sections for the Dalai Lamas use and for the daily activity in the palace. The interior of the palace was filled with artwork, scriptures and symbols of Buddhism. As Buddhism was the primary religion of Tibet at the time, the palace was meticulously decorated with carved wood panels, gold ornamentation and murals depicting Tibetan Buddhist deities.

Over the years, the palace has undergone numerous changes and renovations. Most notably, the Chinese government dismantled and reconstructed large sections of the palace in 1959-60. The Chinese have since restored the palace to its former glory and have opened it to tourists with great care.

Architecture and Design of the Potala Palace

The palace is one of the most important examples of traditional Tibetan architecture. The grand, multi-level building is covered with red and white stripes, creating a distinct look. The building is divided into three main floors, with the top two floors reserved the Dalai Lama and his closest advisors. The lower level served as a residence for the palace’s staff and servants.

The architecture of the palace is quite sophisticated. The floors are connected by various staircases, ramps and alleyways, and the roofs are adorned with uniquecurved tiles. All these elements create a stunning juxtaposition of color, texture, and design.

Potala Palace, Tibet two

Significance of the Potala Palace

The palace is one of the most important places of worship for Tibetan Buddhists and it stands as a reminder of Tibet’s rich spiritual heritage. It is also of great significance to all Tibetans, as it is said to be the home of the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet, who was exiled from the country in 1959 and currently resides in India.

The Potala Palace holds an important place in the Tibetan culture and has been the site of several important ceremonies and festivals over the centuries. It is also a popular tourist attraction, attracting more than one hundred thousand visitors every year.


The magnificent Potala Palace is an elegant reminder of Tibet’s rich cultural and spiritual heritage. It is an impressive architectural feat and stands as a witness to Tibet’s tumultuous history. The palace is a unique and fascinating attraction that is worth visiting for its historical and spiritual significance.

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