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Potala Palace Visit, Tibet

The Potala Palace is an architectural wonder - a spectacular edifice whose gold roofs soar high above the town and rise more than 300 meters above the valley floor - 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 center 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, Boddhisattvas, 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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Photos of Potala Palace Visit