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Potala Palace Visit

The Potala Palace is an architectural wonder — a spectacular edifice whose gold roofs soar high above the town and rise more than 300 metres above the valley floor. The palace can be seen from all directions for miles around.

The present Potala was built mainly in the Fifth Dalai Lama’s reign between 1645-1693. Until recently it remained the centre of political and religious power for the Dalai Lamas. With over one thousand rooms, it contained the living quarters of the Dalai Lamas while they lived and their magnificent golden tombs when they died.

Regents, tutors and other high lamas also had apartments in the building. A huge printing house and a seminary was run by the elite order of monks in order to train the government officials. Hundreds of elaborately decorated chapels and shrines, halls and corridors contain thousands of gilded statues — Tibet's pantheon of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, saints and demons.

Today the Potala is a state museum, eerily empty with 35 caretaker-monks, but to many thousands of Tibetan pilgrims it remains a beloved shrine.

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who's been there
Audley Travel specialist Chris

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Other experiences in Lhasa

These activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences around where you're staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident's eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can suggest tours and activities that will introduce you to the local ways of life.

  • Sera Monastery Visit
    Monks at Sera Monastery, Lhasa

    Sera Monastery Visit

    Sera Monastery Visit

    Founded in 1419 by one of Tsongkhapa's eight disciples, Sera became famous for its Tantric teachings. The warrior monks of Sera, the ‘Dob-Dobs’, were admired as athletes but also feared.

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  • The Dalai Lama's former Summer Palace
    Summer Palace, Lhasa

    The Dalai Lama's former Summer Palace

    The Dalai Lama's former Summer Palace

    The Norbulingka — the Jewel Park — contains the summer palaces of the 13th and 14th Dalai Lamas and is characterised by its spacious walled garden, the main throne hall, an audience hall, the Dalai Lama's private apartment and his mother's apartment.

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  • Walking the Ganden Kora
    Ganden Monastery, Lhasa

    Walking the Ganden Kora

    Walking the Ganden Kora

    Walking the Kora — one of the circuits around a monastery — is a traditional way for Tibetan Buddhists to worship, and you will see pilgrims making circuit after circuit of major monastery buildings wherever you are in Tibet.

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Experience it for yourself

You can enjoy this activity as part of the suggested tour below, or we can weave it into a trip shaped entirely around you.