(PRWEB) April 20, 2012
Explore Tibet Discloses UNESCO World Heritage Sites draw crowds to Lhasa:
At the heart of Lhasa, rising 300 meters from the valley floor atop Red Hill, the Potala Palace is the ultimate symbol of Tibetan culture, history, and religion. According to Xinhua News, the palace is expected to receive over 1.3 million visitors this year alone. However, Potala is not the only world-famous site of Tibet trip in this ancient city, Jokhang Temple and Norbulingka Palace are also major tourist and pilgrimage destinations that are designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Potala was built in the 7th century by Songtsen Gampo, the first ruler of a unified Tibet. Further construction was done in the 17th century, under the guidance of the 5th Dalai Lama. It is named for the mountain in India thought to be the home of Chenresig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. The palace has over 1,000 rooms in 13 stories and is the traditional winter home of the Dalai Lama and the seat of Tibetan government.
Jokhang Temple, considered the most sacred temple in Tibetan Buddhism, was also constructed in the 7th century. It houses two holy relics, statues of the Buddha as a child brought to Tibet by the two wives of Songtsen Gampo, one from Nepal and one from the Tang court. The temple is frequently visited by scholars, pilgrims, and tourists who travel to Tibet. A series of streets and a square around the Temple form the Barkhor circuit, a popular tourist destination and circumambulation route for pilgrims.
Norbulingka Palace was built by the 7th Dalai Lama, and is located 3 kilometers west of Potala. The Palace is built in traditional Tibetan style, and served as the Dalai Lama’s summer home. The large garden surrounding the palace attracts visitors year-round. The palace was damaged during the Cultural Revolution, but efforts to restore it have resulted in the site receiving the UNESCO designation in 2001.
These three sites are the primary tourist destinations in Tibet, and their prominence as world-class UNESCO heritage sites makes them can’t-miss attractions for any Tibet tour.