Potala Palace

Religious and administrative complex, near Lhasa, Tibet, China.

It covers 5 sq mi (13 sq km) atop a hill 425 ft (130 m) above the Lhasa River valley. Potrang Karpo (the White Palace, completed 1648) once served as the seat of the Tibetan government and the main residence of the Dalai Lama; from the mid-18th century it was used as a winter palace. Potrang Marpo (the Red Palace, 1694) houses several chapels, sacred statues, and the tombs of eight Dalai Lamas; it remains a major pilgrimage site for Tibetan Buddhists. The complex, which has a total of 1,000 rooms, was declared a world heritage site in 1994.

* * *

 
immense religious and administrative complex in Lhasa, southern Tibet Autonomous Region, southwestern China. It is situated atop Mar-po-ri (Red Mountain), 425 feet (130 metres) above the Lhasa River valley, and rises up dramatically from its rocky base. Potrang Karpo (completed 1648; White Palace) once served as the seat of the Tibetan government and the main residence of the Dalai Lama; from the mid-18th century it was used as a winter palace. Potrang Marpo (1694; Red Palace) houses several chapels, sacred statues, and the tombs of eight Dalai Lamas; it remains a major pilgrimage site for Tibetan Buddhists.

      King Srong-brtsan-sgam-po commissioned the building of a palace in Lhasa in the 7th century. Significantly smaller and less elaborate than its 5-square-mile (13-square-km) successor, it was named the Potala (“Pure Land” or “High Heavenly Realm”) for reasons that are not historically documented, although Mount Potala in India seems the likely source. Tibetan Buddhists acknowledge the Dalai Lama as the incarnation of Avalokiteshvara (Avalokiteśvara) (Chinese: Guanyin), a bodhisattva whose home was on Mount Potala.

 Srong-brtsan-sgam-po's palace was later destroyed, and in 1645 the fifth Dalai Lama ordered the construction of a new castle that could accommodate his role as both a religious and a government leader. Lhasa was again chosen as the location because of its importance as a pilgrimage site and its proximity to the three main Buddhist monasteries of Sera, 'Bras-spungs (Drepung), and Dga'-Idan (Ganden). The new Potala was built on Mar-po-ri for the security provided by an elevated position; until its use declined in the mid-18th century, the Potala was a major Tibetan military fortress.

      Of more than 1,000 rooms in the Potala, the ones considered most holy are the Chogyal Drubphuk and the Phakpa Lhakhang, remnants from the original palace of Srong-brtsan-sgam-po; the latter houses the sacred Arya Lokeshvara (Avalokiteshvara) statue. More than 200,000 statues and 10,000 altars are located within the sacred complex. Its value was recognized by China's Cultural Relics Commission, and the palace was spared during the Cultural Revolution. The Potala was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994. Two other locations—Tsuglagkhang, or Gtsug-lag-khang (Jokhang) Temple, one of the holiest places in Tibetan Buddhism, and the Norbuglingka (Nor-bu-gling-ka; Jewel Palace), the former summer residence of the Dalai Lama—were added to the World Heritage site in 2000 and 2001, respectively.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Potala Palace — Infobox World Heritage Site WHS = Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, Lhasa State Party = China Type = Cultural Criteria = i, iv, vi ID = 707 Region = Asia Pacific Year = 1994 Session = 18th Extension = 2000; 2001 Link =… …   Wikipedia

  • Potala Palace — Palais du Potala 29° 39′ 28″ N 91° 07′ 01″ E / 29.65786, 91.117 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Potala — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Conjunto histórico del palacio de Potala, Lhasa1 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Potala Palast — Tibetische Bezeichnung Tibetische Schrift: པོ་ཏ་ལ་ Wylie Transliteration: po ta la Aussprache in IPA: [potala] Of …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Potala-Palast — Tibetische Bezeichnung Tibetische Schrift: པོ་ཏ་ལ་ Wylie Transliteration: po ta la Aussprache in IPA: [potala] Offizielle Transkription der VRCh …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • palace — palaced, adj. palacelike, adj. palaceward, adv. /pal is/, n. 1. the official residence of a king, queen, bishop, or other sovereign or exalted personage. 2. a large and stately mansion or building. 3. a large and usually ornate place for… …   Universalium

  • Palais du Potala — Ensemble historique du Palais du Potala à Lhassa * …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Buckingham Palace — is the official London residence of the British monarch. [Traditionally the British Royal Court is still resident at St. James s Palace. While foreign ambassadors assuming their new position are received by the British sovereign at Buckingham… …   Wikipedia

  • Summer Palace — Not to be confused with the Old Summer Palace. For other locations called the Summer Palace , see Summer Palace (disambiguation) Coordinates: 39°59′51.00″N 116°16′8.04″E /  …   Wikipedia

  • Mukden Palace — Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang * UNESCO World Heritage Site …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.