Tibetans pronounce Potala with a hard accent on the first syllable. Since the 17th Century, it has been the home of the Dalai Lama. The building is divided into the Red and White Palaces. The Red was the winter residence of the Dalai Lama until 1959. The White was the offices of the government. Although the Dalai Lama is of the Yellow Hat sect, he was long recognized as the spiritual and political leader of Tibet.
The palace has 1,000 rooms. The building is 13 sories high and will leave you breathless (literally). The White Building is now closed, but we were lucky to tour the Red (tickets are hard to come by). The building contains an enormous number of cultural items and relics. Several of the Dalai Lamas are buried here in Burial Stupas. The stupas are adorned with gold and precious stones in great weight, size and quality. The view from the top is wonderful.
Hundreds of pilgrims walk the “coura” all hours of the day. They walk clock-wise carrying prayer wheels and prayer beads. Frequently they chant as they walk.
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