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China > Pictures and travelogues > Potala Palace, Jokhang temple, and Drepung Monastery

Pictures from Lhasa and surroundings, Tibet: Potala Palace and Jokhang temple in Lhasa and Drepung Monastery.

Potala Palace in Lhasa
Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.

The Potala Palace was the chief residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to Dharamsala, India, in 1959. Nestling on Red Mountain (Marpo Ri) in the center of Lhasa Valley, Potala Palace occupies an area of over 130 thousand square meters (32 acres) and is more than 360 meters (394 yards) long from east to west. It it the greatest monumental structure in Tibet. It is composed of the White Palace, the Red Palace, and their ancillary buildings.

The Potala Palace contains materials and articles of Tibetan history, religion, culture and arts of great cultural and artistic value. It is open to visitors.
It has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Located at an altitude of 3,490 metres (11,450 ft), Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world. It is the capital city of the Tibet Autonomous Region.

Jokhang temple in Lhasa
Jokhang temple in Lhasa, Tibet: a view to Potala from Jokhang temple.

For most Tibetans, the Jokhang Temple is the most sacred and important temple in Tibet. It has remained a key center of Buddhist pilgrimage for centuries. It was built in the 7th century AD to house the statues of Buddha that princesses Bhrikuti from Nepal and Wen Cheng from Tang Dynasty China brought as gifts for their future husband.

The Jokhang Temple is a four-storey timber complex with a golden top. It is located on Barkhor Square in the old section of Lhasa. It is part of the "Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace" that has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. 

Other sites of historic interest in Lhasa area include the Norbulingka Palace (also world heritage), the Sera Monastery (the monastery where the monks' famous daily debates take place), the Zhol Pillar, Chokpori sacred hill, and Barkhor Street which is the center of old Lhasa.

Drepung Temple in Tibet
Drepung Temple (detail) in Tibet.

The Drepung Monastery is located at the foot of the Mountain Gambo Utse, 5 km (3.1 mi) from the western suburb of Lhasa. It is one of the great three Gelukpa university monasteries of Tibet. The other two are the Ganden Monastery at the top of Wangbur Mountain and the Sera Monastery in Lhasa.

The Drepung Monastery used to be the living palace of Dalai Lamas before the reconstruction of Potala. It houses many cultural relics. The Tibetan diaspora has created a Drepung Monastery in India.



Wildlife Photographer -
Find here more pictures of the wildlife photographer Marie-France Grenouillet, including great pictures from Tibet (temples, monasteries, people, landscapes) and many other tourist destinations in China and in the world.

See also

China > Pictures and travelogues > Tashilumpo Monastery, Tibetan scenery, and solar furnace in Tibet
China > Pictures and travelogues > Samye Monastery, Pelkor temple and Shalu monastery

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China travel guide and travel directory with many pictures.