Drepung and Norbulingka
Lhasa Travel Blog› entry 4 of 5 › view all entries
The itinerary for the day was supposed to be a visit to Sera Monastery, Drepung Monastery, the Norburlingka and a carpet factory. Sera Monastery is one of the three greatest monasteries in Tibet. Dreprung Monastery, located on the outskirts of Lhasa, was once the largest and most influential monastery with over 10,000 monks in its heyday but with around 700 monks today. Norburlingka was constructed as a summer palace for the Dalai Lama and later served the whole governmental administration.
As we were not religious and all the detailed explanation from our guide about the monasteries and its culture and history was too much of a bore for us, we decided to strike the visit to the Sera Monastery from the itinerary.
Situated at the foot of the Mountain Gambo Utse about 5 kilometers from the western suburb of Lhasa, the grand and white construction of Drepung Monastery gives the appearance of a heap of rice. As such, the name of the monastery in the Tibetan language means Monastery of Collecting-Rice.
On one of the walls in the courtyard of Drepung Monastery was a small hole. It is supposed to bring the person good fortune for eternity if the person could, from a distance of approx. 8m away and with the eyes closed, walk towards the hole and put the finger into it. We tried but were unsuccessful in our attempt. However, we were not complaining as we had been told that a visitor from the US hit the bull’s eye but broke her finger in the process.
Norbulingka means 'Treasure Park' in Tibetan and is situated about a kilometer southwest of Potala Palace on the bank of the Kyichu River. Reflecting both the ethnical, religious features of the Tibetan people and embodies the architecture style of inland China, it is of great cultural value and was listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 2001 as an extension of Potala Palace.
It was used as the Summer Palace for the Dalai Lamas and where festive celebrations were held. Its large garden, covering an area of 46 acres, is the largest man-made garden in the Tibet Autonomous Region and is opened to the public. We did have an enjoyable walk in the garden in the beautiful sunshine.