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Dragon King’s Pool
A Silent Pool “Behind the Palace”

There is a quiet pool behind the Potala mountain. The shimmering greenish water reflects the surrounding trees. Lhasa's famous park, Zongjiao Lhokang, is located here.

Zongjiao means "behind the palace" (here Potala) in Tibetan. Lhokang means shrine of Lho. Lho is a general term for underground and water spirits that form a group in both Tibetan Buddhism and the ancient Bon religion. The name Dragon King later became popular based on internal traditions. Therefore, the water was called "Pool of the Dragon King".

In the 17th century, a lot of soil was fetched from here when the Potala Palace was expanded, which created many pits. The pit, which was created in this way, filled with water and became a pool. The water was controlled by the sixth Dalai Lama. On the island in the middle of the pool, a tower (Lhokang) was built based on the pattern of the "Altar City" in Tibetan Buddhism. In addition, a bridge with a width of 3 m and a length of 20 m was built to connect the island with the country. Under the residence of eighth and thirteenth Dalai Lama, it was completely renovated. Lhokang has three floors, and on the first two floors, there are statues of the female deity Meizhosaiqen who were brought here by the sixth Dalai Lama, and a replica of an "Altar City" as well as statues of protective deities. Sidewalks were built around this structure. From here you can have a closer view that the top floor is hexagonal and the overhang of the roof has a Dougong Construction (a system of brackets inserted between the top of a column and a crossbeam), which is a typical construction for inland structures with interlocking beams. You can still see the "Swinging Roofs" that a few nobles could see this part in the past. After the democratic reform in Tibet, Zongjiao Lhokang was declared as a park. Today, numerous residents come here for the Saga Dawa Festival every year to worship the deity Meizhosaiqen and they light butter oil lamps and offer hada with sacrificial dishes.

 

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