The Potala Palace is situated on the top of the Red Hill in central Lhasa, at an altitude of over 3,700 metres it rises over 100 metres. The Palace was built by the King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet in 637AD over a sacred cave as a palace for his bride the Princess Wen Cheng of China. Consisting of 9-storeys it was said to have had a thousand rooms. With the collapse of the Songtsen Gampo Dynasty, and the subsequent wars the palace was severely damaged. Construction of the present palace began in 1645 during the reign of the fifth Dalai Lama and by 1648 the Potrang Karpo, or White Palace, was completed. It was at this time that it became the Dalai Lamas main residence and the centre for political and religious affairs in Tibet though later became his Winter Palace. READ MORE
The Jokhang Temple ("House of the Lord") is a four-storey timber complex with a gilt roof situated in the heart of Lhasa. It is the holiest site in Tibetan Buddhism and is the place where the ceremonies of initiation for the Dalai Lama and Panchen Llamas are held.
Constructed in 647 by the first ruler of a unified Tibet, King Songtsen Gampo (617-49), itsí purpose was to house a sacred image of the Buddha, the Jowo Rinpoche which was brought to Lhasa by Queen Wengcheng the second wife of the King from China as a dowry. This statue is still enshrined within the temple and is the holiest object in Tibet. READ MORE