Tibet: Lhasa

Right: The Potala Palace, Lhasa.

The Potala Palace in Lhasa was built in the 7th century. An impressive structure comprised of more than 1000 rooms it can be seen from pretty much anywhere in Lhasa. Nearby is Patubuk Temple built into the side of the hill. The Potala along with The Jokhang were thankfully saved from destruction by Zhou Enlai during the cultural revolution.

At an altitude of 3,700m the air in Lhasa is quite thin. While I had already spent a bit of time at altitude in Sichuan I still found myself short of breath on occasion. It does pay to spend at least a few days at acclimatising before venturing further afield to reduce the risk of altitude sickness. People are known to experience problems in Lhasa though it is seldom life threatening. At higher elevations altitude sickness (pulmonary adema) can be a serious problem, one which should not be understated.

The Jokhang

While the most prominant landmark in Lhasa is undoubtedly the Potala Palace, the centre of daily life for many is the Jokhang and the surrounding Barkor market. Like the Potala the Jokhang was built in the 7th century.

Left: The Jokhang

There is always plenty of activity around The Jokhang and the police are always there with their megaphones to stop people loitering in groups. The Tibetan uprising was some time back but the government is still a bit paranoid about it all. Surrounding the Jokhang is the busy Barkhor Market.

Right: Norbulingka (The Jewelled Park)

Norbulingka was built in 1755 and has been the summer residence of the Dalai Lama. An impressive mural adorns the wall of the Summer Palace outlining the history of Tibet and the 14 Dalai Lamas, also thankfully spared from destruction during the cultural revolution.

Right: Early morning rays peer through the smoke of the urns at Ramoche Temple, Lhasa.

Ramoche Temple was built by Han Chinese architects in the 7th century.The project was overseen by Han Princess Wencheng.