Tibet Nature Tour

Potala Palace : The Sole Ornament of Tibet

The Potala Palace is located in Lhasa, Tibet. Potala Palace is a magnificent architectural marvel that has stood for centuries as a symbol of Tibetan culture, religion, and history. Potala Palace is rich with history and unique architectural features. The Palace has become an iconic landmark not only in Tibet but also worldwide.

A Short History of Potala Palace

The history of the palace dates back to the 7th century when it was built as a fortress by the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo the 33rd King of Tibetan plateau. The original structure was relatively small compared to the grand Potala palace, which sees in the present day.

During the reign of the 5th Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso, in the 17th century, the Palace underwent significant expansion and transformation.

The 5th Dalai Lama, who was a prominent figure in Tibetan Buddhism, made the Palace the seat of the local Tibetan administrative center and the residences of the Dalai Lama. Under his guidance, it was expanded into the present size and renovated to become a grand structure. The construction of the palace took several years and involved the labor of countless Tibetan, Han, and Nepalese craftsmen, artisans, and workers.

Architecture of Potala Palace

The architecture is a unique blend of Tibetan, Chinese, and Nepalese influences. The palace is built on Marpo Ri (Red Hill in the Tibetan Language), a hill overlooking the city of Lhasa, and is divided into two main sections: the Red Palace and the White Palace.

The Red Palace is at the highest point of the hill, is the spiritual heart of the palace. Red Palace houses many chapels, shrines, and tombs of past Dalai Lama. Whereas, the White Palace is the local administrative and living quarters of the Dalai Lama.

One of the most striking features of the Potala Palace is its imposing size and grandeur. The palace stands at a height of over 110 meters (13,000 feet) and covers an area of over 130,000 square meters. Potala Palace’s interior walls are adorned with intricate, culturally rich, and colorful murals, creating a stunning visual spectacle against the backdrop of the Himalayan mountains. The Potala is also adorned with gold-plated roofs, which shimmer in the sunlight, giving it a celestial aura. The exterior wall  is equally awe-inspiring, with a shape like a pyramid.

The Red Palace is a labyrinth of chapels, great halls, and prayer rooms, each adorned with exquisite Tibetan traditional artwork, statues, and Tibetan Buddhism artifacts. The most sacred and revered chapel in the palace is the Phapa Lhakhang Chapel, which is on the top of the Potala.

The 2nd holiest chapel is Tsongkhapa Chapel, which is dedicated to the founder of the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism. The chapel houses a life-sized statue of Tsongkhapa, surrounded by the Dalai Lamas from the 6th–12th and various offerings and butter lamps.

The White Palace is a more functional and practical space. It consists of various rooms and halls, including the living quarters of the Dalai Lama, the local administrative offices, and assembly halls. The most significant hall in the White Palace is the Great East Hall, where important religious and political ceremonies were held. The hall is adorned with intricate murals depicting scenes from Tibetan history and Tibetan Buddhist mythology.

The palace is not just a testament to Tibetan architecture, but also a repository of Tibetan art and Tibetan culture. The Potala palace is home to a vast collection of Buddhist religious scriptures, artifacts, and precious artworks of previous generations. It also houses the tombs of past Dalai Lamas, making it a place of pilgrimage for Tibetan Buddhists.

Why Visit Potala Palace

Potala Palace is an architectural masterpiece, showcasing the unique blend of Tibetan, Chinese, and Nepalese influences. Its towering structure and intricate artwork leave you in awe.

Potala Palace is the residence of the Dalai Lama. Therefore, it holds immense spiritual importance for Tibetans and Buddhists in the world wild. It is a place of pilgrimage and offers a serene environment for meditation and self-reflection.

Potala Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is representing the rich cultural heritage of Tibet. It houses countless artifacts, murals, and scriptures, which have had stories for more than thousands of years. That also provides a glimpse into the region’s history and traditions.

Visiting it allows you to immerse yourself in Tibetan culture. Embark on this unforgettable journey to Potala Palace and experience the spiritual and cultural wonders of Tibet.

Surroundings of Marpo Ri

Chopo Ri Hill–The Best View Point of Potala Palace

Chopo Ri Hill is a monastery on the opposite right side. There is a white stupa of a gateway door to Lhasa city in the middle of Potala and Chopo Ri Hill. Chopo Ri Hill, often known as “Bhar-Lu-Gu,” was the profound meditation cave used by King Songtsan Gampo in the 7th century. This site offers the best viewpoint of the iconic Potala Palace.

LuKhang Park & LuKhang Temple–Awesome Park with a temple in the middle of Lukhang Lake.

Lukhang Park and its temple are located just behind the Potala Palace. The Lukhang Temple was built during the reign of the 6th Dalai Lama. As materials were taken from the lake during the construction of the Potala Palace, the 6th Dalai Lama filled the lake with water and established the temple in its center.

Kha-Nga-Dong Nunnery

Kha Nga Dong Nunnery is located in the right wing. It is indeed a small and simple nunnery, housing less than 10 nuns. However, their chanting of prayers can be heard from a mile away.


Besides its architectural and cultural significance, the Potala Palace is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has been recognized for its outstanding universal value and its role in preserving Tibetan heritage. The Palace attracts thousands of travelers from all over the world. They come to marvel at its beauty and immerse themselves in Tibetan history and spirituality.

Potala is a true marvel of architecture and a testament to the rich history and culture of Tibet. Its unique blend of Tibetan, Chinese, and Nepalese influences, along with its grandeur and spiritual significance, makes it a truly remarkable structure.

Tibet Flight Information
Tibet Flight Info

Lhasa Gonkhar Airport receives over 80 flights daily. Many of these flights are from major mainland cities. There are just two flights from Kathmandu, Nepal, in a week. Wednesday and Friday are generally the days that flights from Kathmandu are available. Due to high demand, you probably find flights to Lhasa on other days of the week.

Tibet Train Information
Tibet Train Info

Tibet began to receive trains from China in 2008. Many who were concerned about getting altitude sickness no longer needed to be anxious because of train journey would give them plenty of time to acclimatize. Xining is the ideal station to catch a train to Lhasa. We can help by getting you a train ticket to Lhasa from Xining or other major cities.

Hotels in Tibet
Hotels in Tibet

Due to recent years’ development in the Tourism Industry, the average of every hotel in Tibet had leveled up. Therefore we try to find the most suitable accommodation for you. 

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