Friday 19 October 2018. Tibet Photos
Highlights: Tsamkhung Nunnery, Polata Palace (Dalai Lama’s Winter Palace)
An incredibly exhausting but fulfilling day from hearing nuns signing and praying to hiking around the Polata Palace.
Last night I slept a little better but altitude symptoms are still there, worse my cold is starting to go full on. I’m expecting by tomorrow to be at the uncontrolled coughing stage. First thing today was to organise clothes washing while having breakfast.
The tour plan had us going today to the Dalai Lamas’ Summer Palace Norbulingka but the group elected to switch this to the Tsamkhung Nunnery as this will be our only chance to see a nunnery on this trip. The nunnery was near Barkhor Square so a short ten minute walk saw us there.
Tsamkhung Nunnery was built in the 15th century on a site that had been used for meditation by the 7th century Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo . The main attraction of the Nunnery was the praying nuns which we got to experience. We also got to watch some of the nuns make items to sell to the public to support their mission.
We then returned to our hotel and after a very early lunch (11.20 am) walked to Polata Palace which we saw last night light up. The 5th Dalai Lama started its construction in 1645. Thirteen stories of buildings—containing over 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and about 200,000 statues. This was the seat of power of the Dalai Lama until going into exile in 1959. The number of visitors to the palace was restricted to 1,600 a day.
To gain access you need to pre-purchase tickets which have you passport details on it and saw ticket and passport at various times. There are over 300 steps to get to the top of the Polata Palace and at this altitude that isn’t easy for anyone.
During our visit we got to visit the 14 Dalai Lamas’ (current Dalai Lama) meeting and waiting rooms as well as the same types of rooms for other previous Dalai Lamas. We got to witness various burial Stupas of previous Dalai Lamas during our visits the greatest of which was the 5th Dalai Lama with a huge golden burial structure.
The Polata Palace is an amazing piece of architecture, history and cultural with too much to take in during one afternoon visit. It’s understanding why this Palace has been listed by UNESCO.
After leaving the Palace grounds we went to a vantage point that showed the exact picture used on the Chinese 50 Yen note.
Tomorrow we head out of Lhasa and into regional Tibet on our way to Everest and higher altitudes.