Why is the Norbulingka special?
Norbulingka Park is the largest and grandest garden in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau with the highest gardening level artistic level. It borrowed the architectural style from the inland areas of China while maintaining and reflecting the local ethnic religious and natural features. It has been preserved intact until now and was never damaged or changed in history.
Norbulingka, meaning "Treasure Park" in Tibetan, is situated in the western suburb of Lhasa City, at the bank of the Kyichu River, about two kilometers west of Potala Palace. The garden covers an area of 360,000 square meters (about 430,000 square yards), with 374 rooms inside. It is the biggest man-made garden in Tibet.
Norbulingka Park consists of several palace complexes, such as the Kelsang Potrang, Tsokyil Potrang, Golden Linka and Takten Migyur Potrang. Each palace complex is divided into three sections - the palace section, the section in front of the palaces and the woods.
Norbulingka has four gates, one in each side. East gate is the main gate. Khamsum Zilnon is a very eye-catching building behind the main gate. It was originally a Han style pavilion and later changed into a theater where the Dalai Lamas watched Tibetan opera.
Kelsang Potrang, named after the Seventh Dalai Lama, is a three-storey palace with halls for worshipping Buddha, bedrooms, reading rooms and sanctuaries.
Tsokyil Potrang, when the Eighth Dalai Lama was in power, is considered to be the most attractive in Norbulingka. It is a group of buildings on water. Dalai Lamas used to read in a hall of the palace.
Golden Linka and Chensel Potrang
In 1922, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama began to build his Golden Lingka and Chensel Potrang, which is located at the back of the woods. Various flowers, grasses and trees were planted around. Some of the finest murals are found at the back of the woods in the Golden Linka and Chensel Potrang. These murals bear strong Han characteristics.
Takten Migyur Potrang
Takten Migyur Potrang, meaning Eternal Palace in Tibetan, was completed in 1954 for the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. Though it is called New Summer Palace, it is a very traditional architecture except for its interior modern facilities.
The architecture has combined the characteristics of temple and villa and is more magnificent than other palaces.
The exquisite murals in the palace are well worth a mention and visit. These splendid murals painted by a Fourteenth Dalai Lama's painter. The murals in the northern hall show the kind, calm Sakyamuni and his eight contemplative disciples. However, the murals in the southern hall vividly tell the development of Tibet in comic strips.
The present Dalai Lama's private apartment is also on view, remaining untouched. In a little sutra hall, there is a Dalai Lama's throne which is wrapped in gold foils and decorated with gems.