Tibet, the Roof of the World
The Potala Palace
It was a wonderful change of pace. From the hot, hazy, humid climate of Central China to a place where the air was crystal clear, the skies bright blue, and a city that doesn't come close to a million people. Lhasa Tibet was the change that I needed especially since the Potala Palace was coming up soon on our list of places to visit.
First was the trip to Lhasa. As you can see on the map, it is nearly due west of Chengdu but a big change in pace at nearly 14,000 feet high. You feel the loss of oxygen at that altitude, in fact, the first thing we noticed in our hotel rooms was the bag of oxygen. As you can see our first impressions are of a very industrious farming community set in the mountains that end at the Himalayas.
One thing we noticed in arriving in Tibet is the hospitality of the people offering us silk scarfs, the temples that appear everywhere including this Buddha of the Rock we passed on the way into Lhasa as well as the prayer wheels that we saw in all of the temples, monasteries, and palaces. You walk counterclockwise around the wheels spinning them as you walk by.
This Dancer was at a restaurant called the Crazy Yak. Besides some pretty good food at a place not frequented by western tourists, the entertainment was terrific with so many colorful native costumes.
You are truly on the roof of the world here in Tibet. Mountains, clear air, beautiful skies, and to the south, the Himalayas and Mount Everest.
The Potala Palace in Lhasa Tibet is truly one of the wonders of the world. Home to the Dali Lamas since around 700, the sights and sounds inside this place will remain with you forever. Inside is dark and brooding and there is little or no light in most rooms. There are hundreds of chapels (actually 10,000 at last count and 1000 rooms covering 13 floors) dedicated to events and the people and the 14 Lamas that have lived in the palace since 700. While the rooms are not that large, each is filled with enough material for a museum. One Buddha had several hundred kilos of gold leaf covering it.
While you could not take photographs inside the Palace, the outside is a work of art in itself. Up on the roof here, you truly feel you are on the roof of the world.
A view of Lhasa Tibet from the roof of the Potala Palace. It is a small city of just around 300,000 people.
As you can probably guess, the Potala Palace was probably my favorite place on this trip. Go see a larger panorama of the Potala Palace at either 816x180 (47K) or 2148x474 (238K) pixels.
From here, More of Tibet, Roof of the World. Soon !!!

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