The Norbulingka Park
The Norbulingka Park or 'Jewelled Garden' is located in the western suburbs of Lhasa, was built in the middle of the 18th century during the reign of the 7th Dalai Lama and served as the Summer Palace of Dalai Lamas where they handle political affairs, practiced religious activities and spent holidays. Traditionally the Dalai Lamas would leave the Potala Palace every spring and spend the summer in Norbulingka. Lingka in Tibetan means a beautiful place with trees and lawns, and Norbu means treasure. In addition to its beautiful environment, Norbulingka boasts many palaces, pavilions, various kinds of flowers as well as a lake and a zoo. In the past, Norbulingka was heavily guarded, with access allowed only to a few with special permission. Now it is open to the public. During the Shotun Festival which starts on July 1 of the Tibetan calendar, the park is crowded with people who come to sing, dance and picnic for the celebration. Every year, it attracts numerous visitors. The best time for visiting Lhasa is from June to September, when it has the best climate, the highest oxygen concentration and the most beautiful natural scenery.