Potala Palace

The Potala Palace is positioned in Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. It got its name after Mount Potala that is the abode of Avalokitesvara or Chenresig. The Potala Palace was the prime residence of the Dalai Lama, prior to the escape of the 14th Dalai Lama to Dharamsala in India subsequent to an invasion and unsuccessful rising in 1959. At present, the Chinese government has converted this site into a museum.

The structure measures 400 m from east-west and 350 m from north-south, along with sloping stone walls. These walls on an average are 3 m. thick, but at the base are 5 m in addition to the molten copper poured into the foundations to guard the structure against earthquakes. The site was initially employed as a meditation retreat by King Songtsen Gampo, who in 637 constructed the first palace therein to welcome his bride Princess Wen Cheng of the Chinese Tang Dynasty.

The structure comprises of 13 stories of buildings that constitute over 1,000 rooms, approximately 200,000 statues, 10,000 shrines and ascend 117 m on top of Marpo Ri or the Red Hill, rising more than 300 m (about 1,000 ft) in total above the valley floor.

The Potala Palace construction blends so well with its environs that it almost seems as a divinely construction rather than a man-made structure. Although, it does miss out on the symmetry of grand tree or mountain, but the evident lack of direction is centered, initially by the red central block followed by the golden pavilions on the top that automatically catches attention.

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