The Potala, which in Tibetan means "High Heavenly Realm", is named after a stone cliff on Cape Comorin at the southern tip of India. It was sacred to the Buhhda of Compassion, whom the Indians worshipped as Avalokitesvara and the Tibetans believe to be Chenresik, who passed his spirit into the Dalai Lamas.
Built for several purposes, the Potala served as administrative center, seat of government, monastery, fortress and the home of all the Dalai Lamas from the Fifth to the Fourteenth, although from the end of the eighteenth century, when the Norbulingka was built as the summer palace, they stayed here only in winter.
The Potala Palace covers an area of 360,000 square meters, with over 2,000 rooms and 34 Buddha halls. The general layout of the Potala includes the White Palace for the living quarters of the Dalai Lama and the Red Palace for religious functions. The Red Palace contains many halls and chapels- the most stunning chapels house the jewel-bedecked tombs of 5th to 13th Dalai Lamas. The apartments of the 13th and 14th Dalai Lamas in the White Palace offer an insight into the high life.In the Potala Palace, there are a total of 57 butter lamp tenders.
Unlike the monks in monasteries, they seldom get togethere to recite sutras and pray for blessings. They are put in charge of a certain number of Buddhas and the reception of pilgrims and visitors. In addition, they are charged with the mission of looking after cultural relics and working to prevent theft and fire damage.The Potala is a treasure and a treasure house, that it contains the golden handwritten Buddhist scriptures, valuable gifts from Chinese emperors, and a lot of priceless antiques.
There are many colorful sculptures and paintings chronicling Buddhist folklore and ancient Tibetan life. The Potala Palace deserves the title of art gallery and museum; it is also a symbol of the wisdom and power of the Tibetan people. In 1994 it was listed as an UNESCO world cultural heritage site.
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