The White Palace

On August 17, 2011, in Lhasa, Monasteries, Temples, Tibet, by Jack Li

The White Palace is one of the major buildings inside the Potala Palace. It used to be the residence of Dalai Lama, the supreme religious leaders of Tibet. The seven-floor mansion was named “the White Palace” because its outer walls were all painted white. The top floor of the palace is the Sunlight Hall, which once was Dalai Lama’s bedroom and study. In ancient Tibet, only high-ranking lamas were allowed to visit the hall. The layout of the hall can be divided into two parts, the West Sunlight Hall and the East Sunlight Hall. The West Sunlight Hall was built during the construction of the Potala Palace, while the East Sunlight Hall was established later in replication of it. Part of the roof of the Sunlight Hall is retractable so that duiring the day time, sunlight can enter the hall. That is why the hall was called “the Sunlight Hall”. The opening roof would be covered by tarpaulin during the night.

The fifth and sixth floors of the White Palace were the place where Dalai Lama handled offical business. The forth floor, the Yudong Hall, is the largest hall in the White Palace, with a length of 27.8 meters and a width of 25.8 meters. Dalai Lama’s throne is placed in the hall, with a big plaque saying “prosper the borderarea of China” above it. The inscription on the plaque is written by Emperor Tongzhi of the Qing Dynasty. Grand ceremonies, for example,   coronation, were held there.

In addition, there is a hill in front of the White Palace, with a large square on its mountainside. The square is called the Deyang Square. It was the place where Dalai Lama used to enjoy theatre performances and held outdoor activities. And to the south and north of the square, there are schools for lamas. The weather-beaten White Palace welcomes a great many of visitors everyday.

The Potala Palace

Jack Li

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