2007/08 Asia Trip Itinerary | Home Page 3 of 3 |Page Up
By Day

The Potala sits on top of Marpo Ri Hill and is accessed from the rebuilt village of Shol the former red light district!

Our guide Ngodup (Nudu) had obtained tickets to enter the palace at 9,20. am we had to be there promptly and out again one hour later.  It looked a long way up to the entrance

Several years ago there were 1500 people a day entering the palace.  With these numbers the clay and timber structure was in grave danger of collapse

Twin ramps and flights of steps brought us to the entrances.  We arrived at exactly the time on our tickets.  Numbers are now  strictly limited to 50 visitors every twenty minutes between 9.00am and 1.00pm and 50 visitors ever thirty minutes for a further 2 .5 hours in the afternoon.   For a maximum of 850 per day
View from our entrance point

Deyang Shar entrance to the Dali Lama apartments

Tibetans waiting to ascend to the private quarters of their Dalai Lama 

There are three sets of stairs the central one blocked off, it hasn't been used since the Dalai Lama left and won't be used again until his return

From the roof we accessed the Dalai Lamas former home culminating in his bedroom.  It was hard to imagine a bright lively young boy closeted in these cold unheated and often dark rooms.   The ornamentation was heavy and the furnishings not made for comfort but he did have a marvellous view over the city

From the White Palace we moved to the Red, the religious heart of the Potala.  It is a treasure trove of Buddhist art and artefacts

  Here we saw the tombs of 8 Dalai Lamas including the 5th whose pyramid above his final resting place is decorated with 20.000 diamonds and pearls

With over 1000 rooms we could only see a fraction of them in the allotted time.  It was awesome to be there


  As photography was not allowed inside the Potala (2007) the red walled street above is my last photo

To give a glimpse of what there is to see inside I include here a photo of the bedroom of the Dalai Lama for which I thank and credit
 Luca Galuzzi


 Luca Galuzzi [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org)

 via Wikime


Coming down from on high,  literally and metaphorically we saw these young women painting the tops of the walls.    What caught our eye was the safety equipment or lack thereof

Surely in the event of a fall the tether held by her co worker would hardly save her and it was still a long way down

  Barbara, Raine and Ngodup exiting  the Potala Grounds.  Long before we heard of the Bucket List, this was on ours
 Pilgrims making the Potala Kora, round and round Marpo Ri they go, men, women, old and young, even the dog
Along with many other photographers, I like to pretend the road doesn't exist but sadly it does. This was taken from beside the old city gate


By Night


Imposing by day the Palace is stunning by night when it  is illuminated for several hours

The fountains dance for two hours every day from early April when the weather warms up until the National Day Holiday in October.   We almost  missed them

Raine and I chose to spend our last evening here.  It was unforgettable

Centered opposite the Potala is a flag platform, a replica of the one in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.  We arrived just as the flag was being lowered, the Chinese flag that is.   We asked where we could see the Tibetan flag and were told to ask when we got to Kathmandu, likewise photos of the Dalhi Llama.  The fully armed Chinese army marched away and we turned our attention back to the fountains in the square

       They may be monks but they are still boys who couldn't resist frolicking in the fountains, undaunted by the cold
     The soldiers and marching band came and went several times after the flag ceremony
Don't know why or whether this was a regular occurrence or a special occasion
2007/08 Asia Trip Itinerary | Home Page 3 of 3 |Page Up