Monday, February 15, 2010
Lhasa Continued . . .
Our travels in Lhasa continued . . . and we went to Potala Palace!! The residence of the Dali Lama until 1949 when he fled to India to avoid persecution. The Chinese have now turned the palace into a museum and entrance is strictly monitored.
It contains over 1000 rooms and 10000 shrines . . .
. . . and, what felt like, 1 000 000 steps . . .
We made it to the top! Here is 'The White Palace' - the former residence of the Dalai Lama.
Here's our guide, Sim, hanging out with us outside the Palace catching our breath before heading in . . .
Photo's inside were strictly forbidden (and I didn't want to take any chances with the Chinese security guards). The inside was amazing, though. Room after room filled to the brim with statues, shrines, and artwork. Every square inch was accounted for. We followed the Tibetan's as they weaved a path from room to room - praying, chanting, making offerings - while some of the smaller Tibetans, like this little guy, practiced their 'hello's' with us about a thousand times . . .
Here's a view from the back of the palace looking over the Chinese part of Lhasa.
After leaving Potala, Shawna and I went for a bite of lunch and then we were off to Jokhang Temple. Jokhang is the holiest and most important temple in all of Tibet. It was about a 2 minute walk from our guesthouse - right in the middle of Barkhor Square. The temple was amazing inside (like every temple we saw during our journey) but the really awesome part about this one was that we were allowed on the roof. We were lucky enough to catch some of the monks relaxing in the midday sun . . .
. . .
. . . the view from the top was INCREDIBLE!!! You can see Potala Palace in the background, two prayer poles covered in flags, two massive incense burners, and the people prostrating in front of the temple.
We stood there for a long time soaking it all in . . .
After the tour was over, our guides left us to wander around Barkhor Square . . . so we did some shopping!
Check out the Yak Butter - - best deal in town . . .
Check out the Yak Meat - - best deal in town . . .
Shawna had a particular fondness for the Tibetan aprons - can you blame her? Look at all the colours!
How do you like my new duds? Sim helped me find the coat and got me a great deal. I was happy (and warm).
All of that shopping made us hungry so we hit up another restaurant to try out some more Tibetan cuisine . . . what a life!
Thenthuk (Tibetan yak noodle soup) and potato momo's ( fried dumplings) -- REALLY delicious!
See you all next time as we make the journey to Gyantse via the 5000m Kambala Pass and Tibet's holiest lake . . .