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“Potala” is transliterated from Sanskrit, original meaning “the holy land for Buddhism”. The Potala Palace is the holy land for the Gelug Sect of Tibet Buddhism, the symbol of Lhasa and Tibet, the dream destination for pilgrims and tourists.
Located on the Red Mountain in the northwest of Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, Potala Palace is the magnificent structure with the highest altitude in the world, and integration of palace, castle, monastery, it is the largest and the most complete ancient palace and castle complex. Built leaning the mountains and presenting overlapping buildings, the Potala Palace is an outstanding representative of Tibetan ancient architecture.
The main building of Potala Palace is divided two parts, White Palace and Red Palace. With 117 meters high, 13 floors on appearance, 9 floors inside, the main building has a total area of 360 thousands square meters, and a total building area of 130 thousands square meters. There are palaces, spirit pagoda halls, Buddha halls, sutra halls, monk houses, courtyards. The White Palace is in the east of Potala Palace and the Red Palace is in the middle of it. The White Palace was where the Dalai Lamas lived and the Red Palace is the Buddha Hall and the spirit pagoda hall for Dalai Lamas of generations. The Buddha exhibition stand, a white towering wall at the front of Red Palace, is used for hanging a huge Thangka with images of Buddha, Potala, Jokhang, Ramoche and other personal, scene, etc.
The Potala Palace was originally built for Zamp Songtsen Gampo of Tubo Dynasty marring Bhrikuti Princess from Nepal and Wencheng Princess from Tang Dynasty. After the demise of Tubo Dynasty, most of ancient castles were destroyed in war. In 1645, rebuilt by the government of the Qing Dynasty and the protector Gushi Khan in Shuote Dynasty and regent Suonan Qunpei of Gelug Sect and the fifth Dalai Lama government, the White Palace of Potala Palace has been the residence for Dalai Lamas of generations and the holding site for important religious and political ceremonies and also the spirit pagoda hall for Dalai Lamas of generations. In the ancient time, the White Palace and the Yamen of grand minister resident of Tibet are the common ruling center, and the bkav-shag (local government of Tibet) is the executing agency.
In 1690, Desi Sanjay Gyatso built spirit pagoda hall for the fifth Dalai Lama and extended “Red Palace”, and in 1693, it was completed. The successive Dalai Lamas built 5 golden roof and several auxiliary buildings. Especially after the completion of spirit pagoda hall that was built for the 13th Dalai Lama in 1963, it has been the present scale of Potala Palace.
From 1988 to 1994, it was repaired massively again.
In December 1994, Potala Palace was listed in the world cultural heritage list by UNESCO.