Potala Palace in Lhasa Tibet Tour Guide:
Perched atop the Red Hill, the imposing white and red Potala Palace catches your attention with its massive structure even as you near Lhasa Tibet. Sprawled across 13-hectares, the 13-storey palace towers 117 metres high; its grandeur is magnified further by its positioning at the very peak of the Red Hill, at an altitude of 3,700 metres above sea level, making it the highest mountain palace in the world and an architectural marvel to-date.
While the actual structure staggers most visitors with its magnitude, its mini-version model made with over a quarter of a million pearls has the same effect! And the fact, that the palace features walls that are 3-5 metres thick, slant inward as they go up, and are based on foundations solidified with copper to make it withstand the most massive of earthquakes, astounds one further.
Experience the grandeur of the palace first-hand with a guided tour of its interiors. Stroll through the labyrinth of halls, chapels and libraries that make up the Red Palace, the site of religious study and prayers. Marvel at the beautiful murals lining the walls of the Great West Hall, which at 7,804 sq ft is the largest hall of Potala Palace. Travel back in time with a visit to the 7th Century Dharma Cave and the Saint’s Chapel, which houses the Imperial statues of King Songtsen Gampo and his wives.
Visit the Tomb of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama, a magnificent white stupa with a ton of gold and offerings of ivory, porcelain and elaborate murals, in the company of a monk. Be awed into silence as you walk past murals, stupas, statues, thangkas and other cultural relics at the White Palace, the section housing the residences and working offices of the regents and the Dalai Lama himself. A major feature of the White Palace is the magnificent 7,718 sq ft hall where momentous religious and political events were conducted.
Together, the Red and White Palaces house around 1000 rooms and 10,000 shrines including a hall that is over 1000-years old. The Dalai Lama, being in exile, is no longer in residence and the Palace is now a State Museum. Although only a selection of rooms including shrines for 13 Dalai Lamas are now open to the public, they reveal the grandeur of the Potala Palace, a UNESCO-World Heritage Site.
TIP: The Palace is located at the highest point of Lhasa Tibet and a visit requires time to acclimatise oneself to the high altitude. Visitors are advised to reserve the visit to the Potala Palace for the second or third day of your holiday in Lhasa Tibet, so they are acclimatised and have no problems climbing the many steps inside the palace. The guided tour of the Potala Palace is an hour-long.