Friday, May 13, 2011

Lhasa, Tibet

I’m going across the world from Germany for this post. Lhasa, Tibet is a hidden (literally in between the Himalaya Mountains) jewel that needs discussion on my blog. Just looking around the Web for these pictures was so much fun and I’m really excited to talk about it! Lhasa is the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region in China. At an altitude of 11,450 feet, it is one of the highest cities of the world. The city embraces a very strong Buddhist culture and is known for its beautiful temples and palaces. Here are some fascinating places to check out in Lhasa.

The Potala Palace was named after Mount Potala and served as the chief residence of the Dalai Lama until 1959. The palace was built in 1645 by the fifth Dalai Lama and was abandoned when the fourteenth fled from it after an invasion. It was constructed with a copper foundation to protect it from earthquakes. The palace is known to be one of the three main hills in Lhasa that make up the “Three Protectors of Tibet.” The Dalai Lama really lived in style by the looks of this palace! The combination of bright colors really makes a bold artistic and architectural statement; the Potala Palace is a huge tourist attraction today.

The Jokhang Temple is the most sacred and important temple in Tibet and means “The House of Buddha.” It was founded in the 7th century by King Songsten Gampo. It is believed that the temple was built to store important Buddhist statues that his two brides brought to Lhasa as part of their dowries. Today there are about 800 religious metal sculptures inside the temple that are closed to the public and are almost impossible to see.

Along with the Potala Palace, this temple is the most popular attraction in the Tibetan city. The Jokhang Temple is four stories high and its roofs are covered with bronze tiles. At the top, there is a statue of two golden deer looking up at the Dharma wheel in the center, which serves as a huge icon. The interior of the temple is a labyrinth of private chapels and visiting the temple is a magnificent religious experience for anyone. While some of the temple has been restored and rebuilt, most of its frame and original elements are from its initial construction in the 7th century.

Lhasa is an extremely interesting place in that it still embraces old traditions and keeps them alive. Buddhism is a huge part of the citizens’ everyday lifestyles and affects their demographics and economy. Looking at some of these amazing pictures, I think it would be a life-changing experience to visit this city to find inner peace and self. What do you think?

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