Potala Palace – Jokhang Temple – Barkhor Square


Today we visited the beautiful Potala Palace, traditional winter home of the Dalai Lama.
Potala Palace
Of course he is in exile in India so the palace remains mostly empty. After a fairly strenuous climb up the Red Hill and it’s many steps, one reaches the palace proper.
Lhasa from palace
Heading down from palace
It is divided into two parts, the white palace, which is mostly comprised of the living spaces of the Dalai Lama and the other monks that once inhabited the palace. The second part is the red palace, which houses mostly religious artifacts. There are literally thousands of statues of Buddha and other deities. Some very, very small and the largest is probably about 10 metres high. Some of the more beautiful rooms house the tombs of the past Dalai Lamas, they are covered in gold and encrusted in jewels. The Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, at the time, named Zhou Enlai had his guards protect the Potala Palace during the Chinese cultural revolution so all of the beautiful artifacts were saved from destruction. Also interesting were the many, many volumes of scriptures written by the past Dalai Lamas; all housed in little niches in the walls, from floor to ceiling in the large rooms. There are many Buddhist pilgrims walking throughout the palace, leaving offerings of food or money at the various statues and adding melted butter from their thermos’ to the butter lamps. These lamps are very large clay pots, the size of a witch’s cauldron, filled with yak butter and maybe 12 or so wicks. Mixed with the incense which is lit all around, they have a peculiar but not distasteful smell.
Palace gate
Emily at Palace
Maddie at Palace
After lunch we went to the Jokhang Temple, the most sacred temple and spiritual centre of Tibet­.
Barkhor Square and Jokhang Temple
Today is a special religious day, Palden Lhamo, named after the protective deity of this temple. Needless to say it was packed. Fortunately the Buddhist pilgrims form a line on the left and the tourists may pass on the right, otherwise it would have taken hours to get through. There is a central assembly hall where the monks gather each morning and night. Surrounding this are many small ‘chapels’ or rooms that have different statues within. The special thing about this temple is that it holds the Jowo Shakyamuni Buddha statue, perhaps the single most venerated object in Tibetan Buddhism. We only got a brief glimpse of the statue because it was so busy. The rooftop of the temple afforded us great views of the Barkhor square below and the palace beyond. Emily especially loved the decorative golden parts of the roof. She commented that she wished she had lots of golden toys to play with. Wouldn’t we all?
Jokhang Temple

8 Comments to

“Potala Palace – Jokhang Temple – Barkhor Square”

  1. On October 17th, 2010 at 8:21 am NatureNerd Says:

    Man do I want to pet a panda now.
    Thanks for all the blog postings – it’s great to hear of your amazing adventures!
    Did you go into the strange magic place?!

  2. On October 18th, 2010 at 5:25 am HeathR Says:

    Cool! Are you going back to the hospital in China or are you done and into the travelling bit? Who’s the older man – Si’s dad?

  3. On October 18th, 2010 at 12:38 pm Ian Robertson Says:

    really coool, if a wee bit of a lung buster.

  4. On October 19th, 2010 at 8:26 am Katrina Says:

    Fantastic! are the girls meeting up with other kids and playing at all? or is there no opportunity for this. i love to see kids play who can’t talk each others language.

  5. On October 19th, 2010 at 9:52 am pauline Says:

    Not much time for stopping to play. A bit in a restaurant might be all…

  6. On October 19th, 2010 at 9:53 am pauline Says:

    Back for treatment for the month of Nov. then our visas run out. Then meeting Si’s aussie mom in Thailand. That’s Si’s dad.

  7. On October 19th, 2010 at 9:54 am pauline Says:

    No, we just walked by…

  8. On October 25th, 2010 at 9:57 am Jess Says:

    LOVE your blogs! ;o)

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