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Home Asia Tibet Lhasa - Potala palace
Lhasa - Potala palace E-mail
Asia - Tibet
04 July 2010

Stairs leading up to the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet

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The first sight of the Potala Palace was breathtaking. Not only for it's beauty, also because of the fact that Lhasa is situated 3650m elevation. Sick as a dog I dragged myself up, heavily leaning on my girlfriend's shoulder. A real turnoff was the fact that you were not allowed to take any pictures inside the Potala Palace. I took some in open courtyards and only a few secretly inside, but the rule was stringently enforced with soldiers guarding every room and corner. After a while we actually befriended one of them, who turned out to be an extremely friendly man who stuck with us for the next two hours. He was in charge and showed us a great deal of things, explaining things in really decent English, though he didn't let us take any pictures. Upon us asking him about it, he answered the rule was a strict government measure. Also all the money that pilgrims left virtually everywhere around sacred places inside the chambers went straight to the government, instead of to the Palace, the monks or the city of Lhasa. In the end I barely survived the long morning, but I just didn't want to give up. I'll have to be back to really enjoy the place, but at least I've seen a lot of it!