Norbulingka Palace is named as the Summer Palace, located west of Lhasa. The beautiful garden was first built in the mid of 18th century. That’s where they deal with affairs and hold religious activities. The garden covers an area of 46 acres, with 370 rooms of different sizes. NorbuLingka means Garden of jewels, from seventh Dalai Lama till Fourteenth lived here. now it is included in UNESCO world heritage sites, during seventh month of lunar calender, Shoton Festivals used to celebrate here by performing Tibetan Opera
Location: about 3 kilometers west of Potala.
Ticket prices: 60 yuan for each tourist.
Opening time: 9:00- 17:00 on Monday-Saturday.
History of NorbuLingka Palace
Norbulingka Palace was built in 1755. That’s where the later generations after the 7th Dalai Lama deal with affairs, hold celebrations and spend the hot season, rest and conduct religious activities. In the mid-March every year, Dalai will move here from the Potala Palace, stay until the end of October and then return to the Potala Palace. So, Norbulingka Palaceis called “the summer palace” and the Potala Palace “the winter palace”.
NorbuLingka covers an area of 360,000 square meters, made up of the Kalsang Phodrang Palace, the Jainsey Phodrang Palace, and the Deyang Mingyur Phodrang Palace. Each palace is divided into three sections: the palace, the front section and the garden. In the garden there are altogether 370 rooms dotted with pavilions, waterside pavilions, hills and lawns. In summer, various flowers, grasses and trees were planted around. Now it has become an open garden in Tibet.
The Kalsang Phodrang Palace was a first winter palace built by the 7th Dalai Lama in Norbulingka Palace. Phodrang means “palace”. The 7th Dalai Lama named it after himself. Since the palace was built, it has become the place where Dalai under 18 years old learn Tibetan language and sutra from the masters and where they are initiated into monk hood. After they come into power, they will still recite sutra, study history, read scriptures and appoint officials and discuss government affairs.
The Jianse Phodrang Palace and Jainse Lingkas were built during the time of the 13th Dalai Lama. Most west part of Norbulingka Palace. In the Jainse Phodrang Palace there are hall of worship, khanpo house and storehouse etc. Also in the palace there are many splendid murals with a full view of Mount Wanshou and Mount Wutai and some bearing strong Han characteristics in symbol of “blessing, wealth, longevity and happiness”
Deyang Mingyur Phodrang Palace (Eternally Unchanging Palace), also called New Summer Norbulingka Palace, was the second palace added here in 1956 for the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. It was completed in 1956 with an area of 1080 square meters. It has not only features of religion and monastery but also those of splendid palace and sumptuous villa.
Setting feet on the steps of the New Summer Norbulingka Palace, you can see a pair of tiger whips hung on the two sides of the gate, which is a symbol of power. It also shows that nobody is allowed in without permission. This pair of whips is one meter long. It’s said that the whip was first used by the palace vanguards. Later, every time Dalai went on an inspection tour, a special guard would hold the whip in front to drive away the walkers. Inside the red-painted gate, you will see huge pictures of lion and tiger on both sides, which shows the dignity of the government head’s house.
In the middle of the New Palace is the Dalai’s throne decorated with gold and gemstones. The murals in the New Palace are especially attractive. The topics include Tibetan history, the biographies of Tibet Empire and Dalai Lamas and the whole story that Songtsen Gampo sent his minister Gar tongtsan to Tang Dynasty to seek a marriage alliance. Another story described vividly in the murals is that Songtsen Chitsong served a banquet to claim his uncle, which settled the problem who was the heir’s mother.
The vivid description tells people how the little King claimed the envoy from Tang Dynasty as his uncle without hesitation. One more story is: in 1652, the Fifth Dalai went to Beijing to have an audience with the Shunzhi Emperor and was conferred as Dalai Lama and granted golden volumes and golden seals.
The latest murals described the fourteenth Dalai’s attending the National People’s Congress in Beijing via the then-opened Kang-Zang Highway in 1954, and his visits all over the country; all the gifts presented by the Central Government are displayed here.
The constructions, murals and decorations in NorbuLingka are the quintessence of the Tibetan temples and palaces