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  Norbulingka (the Summer Palace)




It was first built in the 1740s. As a result of continuous expansion by the Dalai Lamas, it covers an area of 40 hectares. The Qing magistrate dispatched to Tibet built the origi Norbulingka, meaning "Treasure Park nal palace for His Holiness, the Seventh Dalai Lama who often visited the area. In 1751, the Seventh Dalai Lama began construction on the Kelsang Potrang as his palace where he ruled and received officials and high lamas. The Fourteenth Dalai Lama lived in the Kelsang Potrang during the construction of his new palace. Construction seldom stopped under the reigns of different Dalai Lamas. In 1956 the Fourteenth Dalai Lama finished his own palace - Takten Migyur Potrang, usually called the New Summer Palace. In the past, each spring a grand procession of lamas would follow the Dalai Lama to move into the park. Before 1959, common people had no access to the palace.

Khamsum Zilnon is a very eye-catching building behind the main gate. It was originally a Han style pavilion and later changed into a theater where the Dalai Lamas watched Tibetan opera. Tsokyil Potrang is a group of buildings on water. Dalai Lamas used to read in a hall of the palace. In 1922, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama began construction on his Golden Lingka and Chensel Potrang, which are located at the back of the woods. Various flowers, grasses, and trees surround the palace which was heavily painted with murals, bearing strong Han characteristics. Takten Migyur Potrang, meaning "Eternal Palace" in Tibetan, was completed in 1956 for the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. Though it is called the New Summer Palace, it is a very traditional architecture except for its interior modern facilities. In the palace there are many splendid murals painted by a Fourteenth Dalai Lama's painter. The topics of the murals are vast, including: Tibetan officials, Sakyamuni preaching under a Bodhi tree, Tibetan history from its founding by the Holy Monkey, the vicissitudes of the Tubo Kingdom (633-844), Tibetan Buddhism, and the Panchen Lama's and Dalai Lama's interviews with Chairman Mao Zedong in Beijing. The present Dalai Lama's private apartment is also on view, remaining untouched. In a little sutra hall, there is a Dalai Lama's throne which is wrapped in gold foils and decorated with gems.


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