Tibetan Handicraft- weaved carpets are very popular
Want To Go ?
That I feel I was born a practicing Buddhist in my previous life is not why you should read this blog. Read it because it gives you a peek into an architectural feat, which stood tall during Tibet’s glory days, witnessed military occupation and now rests as a UNESCO heritage site - Potala Palace, Tibet.
A palace at a height of 12,100 feet, which took over 48 years to complete, and withstood a Chinese invasion. Look at the image below and tell me if you’re not blown away.
What is it about the Potala Palace which fascinates travellers from the world over for a Tibet travel? Let’s go back in time.
Once Upon a Cave
Built on Marpo Ri hill, in Lhasa valley, what we call Potala Palace now was once a cave, considered to be the abode of Avalokiteshvara, the Buddhist deity symbolizing compassion. It was used as a meditation chamber by the Emperor in the 7th century AD. The construction of the building which stands today began around 1645 involving more than 7,000 workers. Two important sections of the palace are the White Palace, the (erstwhile) living quarters of the Dalai Lama, and the Red Palace, a section devoted to Buddhist prayers and religious studies.
Buddham Saranam Gacchami
The Potala Palace Tibet was the chief residence of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the place he had to flee during the 1959 Tibetan uprising against the invading Chinese. The Palace was slightly damaged but escaped complete devastation through the personal intervention of the Chinese authorities.
Despite decades of political turmoil and change, Potala Palace has captivated my imagination consistently. I’ve had the opportunity to actually meet H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama and his accounts of how he grew up in the Palace and the events leading to the fateful night of the Chinese invasion can give anyone goose bumps. Well, that merits another storytelling session.
For now, I only hope my dreams of traveling to Tibet, Potala Palace are realized soon. I know I will never want to come back from the land of compassion and kindness. Till then, I dream of the palace of peace, the palace of struggle, the palace of power.
Swati is an avid traveller, adrenalin junkie, a dreamy writer by day and a crime fighter by night. She enjoys staying in the cupboard under the stairs while making a mean cup of chai and humming her favourite tunes.