Start with the best: Potola Palace, the Dahli Lama's winter home. This is the most spectacular site in Lhasa...
but alas it also is the site with the most stairs in Lhasa, which makes
it a challenging place to visit on your first day in Tibet. But, by
taking it one step at a time and putting one foot in front of the
other, we made it all the way to the top. But, they don't allow photos
inside, so I'll follow this up with a few more photos of the exterior.
This is what Potola looks like from Jokhang Temple. Oh, and Angela, her
cousin Evan and I in the foreground. Other pictures of the temple are
Pictures of Buddhist art on the roof of the temple.
This is the Wheel of Dharma, surrounded by two deer, because the deer
were the first to listen to the teachings of the Buddha (in the forest).
This is the courtyard and fancy rooftop of the temple.
The plaza in front of the temple is a popular place to pray; these
people pray with their whole body, polishing the stones with their
Near the temple are a whole bunch of shops and food stalls; this one is
selling yak butter. Yak butter is very important in Tibetan society:
it's used in yak butter tea (which, alas, I wouldn't recommend) and,
more importantly, it's given as an offering in every temple and
monastery and... you name it.
Near Lhasa is Sera Monastery. It's best known for its afternoon debates
between the monks. The younger monks sit, and their more experienced
cohorts ask them questions and then ask them to defend their answers.
Some of the exchanges get quite heated.
Also nearby is Deprung Monastery. It features some beautiful buildings and artwork...
And, it has a public cafe featuring pictures of NBA and football (soccer) stars.
Also, there was some restoration work going on while we were there.
This gang of workers were shaping and strengthening the roof while
chanting and dancing. Watching them was certainly the most interesting
part of our day. It reminds me of the Mark Twain story of Tom Sawyer
white washing the fence; if they wanted to they could get the tourists
to do this work for them, because it looks like Tibetan line dancing...
This is an island in a small lake at Norbulingka Palace, the Dalai Lama's summer home.
Also in Norbulingka is the 14th Dalai Lama's own palace; each Dalai Lama add their own building to the grounds of this palace.
Evan and I are standing at the grand entrance of our hotel; I don't
think there was anything particularly good or bad about our hotel, but
it did get us warmed up with the idea of staying in hotels in Tibet.
You have to ask three questions of hotels in Tibet that you don't
normally have to ask of hotels: 1) Do you have heat? 2) Do you have
water? 3) Do you have hot water - 24 hours a day? The answer to each
question was no on at least one occasion in Tibet (the "no water" was a
temporary outage, but still...). This hotel had heat, water, and hot
water (until about 10 pm, anyhow) and yet the heat wasn't really
effective, resulting in Angela sleeping under the heat lamp in the
bathroom the first night (below).