The next day after our arrival, we went to the Putala Palace. I had seen it many times in magazines and TV documentaries and had been admiring its grand magnificence for a long time. I really wished I might have a chance to be here one day. Now here I was.
I was a bit sick that morning due to the mountain sickness. Dizzy and a slight headache. Such easy matters as climbing the ladders at the hotel might become really something. Sometimes I even thought my veins might be burst out as if somebody was pricking my head with a sharp knife. So did other fellas. My friends suggested me to do everything slowly, then there should not be any problem. So I did, and I felt better.
We went to the palace in the afternoon. It was a sunny afternoon and the sun was shining brightly. We had to put some suncream to prevent from sunburns. It was only about 10 minutes’ drive from the hotel to the Putala, and I could actually see it from the balcony of the hotel the night before.
There standing in front of us was the Putala Palace, with overwhelming grandeour. It was built at the foot of a mountain( In fact, most of the palaces and monasteries in Tibet were built among mountains). Its construction started from 17th century as the winter palace for Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetans. It was a 13-storey palace and was said to have 1000 rooms or chapels altogether.
The chapel was divided into two parts: The Red Palace and The White Palace. The Red Palace was the place where Dalai Lama held religious ceremonies. Here were also enshrined most of the Lamas, whose tombs had been built with gold. Interestingly enough, the amount of gold used for each tomb vaired with the contributions of its owner to Tibet and the religion. Another key factor was the financial conditions at that time. Of all the tombs, the 5th Dalai Lama’s tomb was the largest, using altogether 3721kgs of gold. The tomb was brilliant with an awesome height of over 12 meters and every worshipper was filled with deep veneration before it.
There were several chapels where Dalai Lama used to pray, everything was laid out as if he had used it just now. Another chamber used to be the place Dalai Lama received the foreign envoys. It was a rectangular shape room, Dalai’s chair was on the right end and the envoy’s on the left. On the chairs were some mattresses embroidered with traditional Tibetan and religious patterns.
We climbed up the stairs very slowly. On the 11th floor, we found ourselves in a large square. There was a two-storey building in the middle. The square used to be a stage where the traditional Tibetan opera was performed, and there was a room in this two-storey building where Dalai Lama enjoyed the performance from one of the windows.
The White Palace was the place where Dalai Lama handled his daily political affairs. Most of the rooms were closed and we couldn’t see what was inside.
As Tsizhon our tourguide told us, the Palace was always a holyland for all the Tibetans. Every year, thousands of pilgrims from all the country and the world paid their worship for their god. Till now, many Tibens still regard Dalai Lama as their real spiritual leader. It was a pity that politics and religion seemed to become twin brothers that influenced eacher profoundly. As she said, the political stability in Tibet always precedes over its economic development.
About two hours later, we came out of the palace. The sun was shining above, but we could see tiny snowflakes falling from the sky. What a wonder! And I felt I was getting better with the mountain sickness. 🙂