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Norbulingka
Summer Palace of Dalai Lama

Norbulingka, meaning 'Treasure Park' in Tibetan, is situated in the western suburb of Lhasa City and it is a typical Tibetan style garden. Construction began in the 1740s (During the period of the Seventh Dalai Lama), it is the summer palace of the Dalai Lama, and the place where they spent the summer at leisure and handled government affairs. Every summer, many government agencies in the Potala Palace will be moved here with Dalai Lama to handle official business.

In December 1994, Potala Palace was listed in the world cultural heritage list by UNESCO. In 2000 and 2001, Jokhang Temple and Norbulingka were listed in the world cultural heritage list as supplements.

Norbulingka is the largest, best-looking, and most historic site in Tibetan man-made gardens. After more than 200 years of expansion, the whole palace covers an area of 360,000 square meters. There are more than 100 species of plants in the palace, not only common flowers and plants in Lhasa, but also exotic flowers and plants from the north and south foothills of the Himalayas, and valuable flowers transplanted from the mainland or imported from abroad. There are 49 species of trees such as green pine and cypress and 62 species of famous flowers and weeds such as peony and paeonia. It is called the plateau botanical gardens. There are also 15 species of birds and animals.

It has 374 rooms, which are composed of several groups of palace buildings, such as Kelsang 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. The palace has well-decorated flower pond and lawn, exquisite gazebo and water pavilion, as well as a drama stage and wooden tables and stools. Each group of buildings is built with wood and stone as main materials.

The palace complex with Kelsang Potrang as its main body is located in southeast of the southern courtyard within the second wall.

The palace complex with Tyokyil Potrang (A pavilion in the midst of a lake) as its main body is located about 120 meters northwest of Kelsang Potrang, it is the  top scenic spot in in Norbulingka.

The palace complex with Golden Linka as its main body is located in the west of Norbulingka.

Built in 1954 by 14th Dalai Lama, it is called the Takten Migyur Potrang, in Tibetan means “Eternal Palace”, commonly known as the New Palace.

In addition, there are a large collection of cultural relics and classics in Norbulingka. The first category is the religious relics made in Tibet, the golden bronze statues is most famous. Besides the Buddha statues and stupas, the Thangka collection is also a highlight. Norbulingka has a large collection of various works from the 18th to 20th centuries of the Mian Tang School, the Qin Ze School, and the Ga Chi School. The other is various treasures rewarded and presented to the upper levels of Tibet by the central government and the emperor in Ming and Qing Dynasties, such as the gold and bronze Buddha statuses of Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang produced by the royal court during the Yongle reign of the Emperor Yongle in Ming Dynasty, and a Thangka with a type of weaving done by the tapestry method in fine silks and gold thread embroidered during the Emperor Xuande and all kinds of porcelain are rare treasures.

The exquisite murals are well worth a mention and visit. The exquisite murals of New Palace is more magnificent than other palaces. The murals in the northern hall show the kind, calm Sakyamuni and his eight contemplative disciples.

Shoton Festival

Norbulingka is one event center during the Shoton Festival in Lhasa every year. Famous groups of Tibetan opera from all over the country will gather here. From the first day to the seventh day in July of the Tibetan calendar, Tibetan operas are performed here every day. On the eve of the Shoton Festival, Norbulingka and the surrounding woods transformed into a colorful "tent city" in one night. These tents were used by Tibetans with their families to build a temporary "home" in Norbulingka. The people in Lhasa during the festival almost came out of the house, all wearing bright festive traditional clothes, a family or with their friends in groups of three or five person set up tents and sit together under the shade of trees on the grass, bring barley wine, butter tea, Tibetan snacks and other food, drink from home. They drink, talk, play Tibetan chess and card games, dance and sing. Once Tibetan opera began, the crowd formed a circle and enjoyed the wonderful performances of Tibetan opera actors.

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