Saturday, 25 July 2009

Will you get OD on Potala Temple?

I'm actually too excited about the photos of the great Potala Temple to publish the post without my usual write-up. I'll fill those in when I have time. Meanwhile, enjoy colourful Tibet!

[30 July 09 - Lunch Time] So yes! Potala Temple was our first Tibetan place of visit. It is indeed a monumental structure for the Tibetan people and I am enthralled by the long history of Potala Temple which transformed from a palace into the current standing temple. It was built during the time of King Songtsen Gampo in the 6th century and got burned down in a war. In the 1600s, the fifth Dalai Lama in the 1600s started the construction of a new structure which later became what we see today. The hall for worshiping bodhisattva Avalokitesvara and the statues of Songtsan Gambo and Wencheng Konjo are the remains from the old palace and can be seen in Potala Temple today.

I recommend these sites for more on the wonderful Potala Temple
History of Potala Temple
Structure of Potala Temple
Attractions of Potala Temple
Potala Temple on Wikipedia

Built on top of the "Red Hill" (Marpo Ri), the massive Potala Temple stands like a formidable fortress. Though, it was extremely crowded in the temple, all the treasures contained in it left me completely in awe. It was a pity that photography was not allowed inside the temple.

There was the hands-print of the fifth Dalai Lama, placed in a frame, at the entrance of the White palace. Dalai Lamas have different a hands-print that is different from ordinary people and apparently, the hands-print of the Dalai Lama is a way to find the next reincarnation of the Dalai Lama.

There were many rooms and halls that we visit via different passages. It was confusing with the crowd and the many hallways. But, there were many amazing things. The architecture and the wall colour of the building at some parts reminded me of a youth hostel I stayed in Germany while at most of the time was fascinating and unique. There were rooms with golden stupas and tombs of previous Dalai Lamas, some of which were covered with interior decors that I have never seen before. I'm completely fascinated by the wall of pigeon boxes which keep precious religious scriptures written in Sanskrit. These pigeon boxes covered the entire wall up to the ceiling!

Caught a rickshaw driver as the coach was heading towards Potala Temple

The great Potala Temple on Marpo Ri

Souvenir shops and eatery at the base of the temple

Worshippers kneeling with reverence in a line in front of the Potala Temple

More worshippers walking along the street, some with their prayer wheel

A pilgrim on his knees

Different postures when performing the pilgrimage

Entrance gate for tourists

Tibetan lady doing laundry

Tibetan building with colourful windows

Yellow building in the midst of the white

Walking up into the temple grounds

A square in front of the Potala Temple

Window curtains with Tibetan symbols

Many tourists going up the stairs

Tree covered with fluffy stuff

A shrine on our way up

Lady sweeping the floor at the entrance into the temple

Window curtains with different symbols at different levels.

Gods that guard the heavenly gates

Colourful passage way

Entrance into the central part of the temple where the White and Red Palaces are. At this point on, no photos are allowed to be taken.

I love these colourful door and window curtains.

Entrance into the main part of the temple

A building with colourful walls beside the entrance

Symbols in gold at the top of the entrance

Tourists and temple worshippers climbing up the wooden stairs to enter

Showing temple tickets to gain entry

Lady in traditional Chinese costume

Reddish wall

Man looking at the view from the temple

An enthusiastic photographer

Another picture of building with many windows

Temple worshippers in traditional costume

Got my sister to pose, hehehe

Halfway down, there is a vacant area for more photo taking

And, here's the view up. I'm afraid, we're much too close to the building as the reddish brown part has been covered.

Prayer flags are hung by the side of the temple and an elderly man is reading it.

There seems to be prayers inscribed in these stone plates.

The view of the other hill on our way down of Potala Temple

A nearby building

Outside of the temple ground, we see more temple worshippers heading towards the temple

Some goes to the trail of prayer wheels to rotate them as they walk past them.

Pagoda in the middle of the road.

"It is said that prayer wheels are used to accumulate wisdom and merit or good karma and to purify negativities such as bad karma. The idea of spinning mantras comes from numerous Tantric practices where the Tantric practitioner visualizes mantras revolving around the nadis and especially around the meridian chakras such as the heart and crown." - Wikipedia. Please click on the link to read more about prayer wheels, which is some very interesting stuff.

Lady with her prayer wheel.

Inscribed stone plates and prayer flags on the side of a hill

Man sitting by the lamp post with his prayer wheel

Water sprinklers set off in the garden in front of the temple

Flowers in the garden in front of the temple

Busy road in front of the temple

Jumping pose

Elderly man walking with his prayer wheel

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