Norbulingka used to be the Summer Palace of the Dalai Lamas. First buildings were constructed in 1755 under the 7th Dalai Lama - 2km west of the Potala Palace. Subsequent Dalai Lamas ordered the construction of further buildings.
The Dalai Lamas stayed there during summer to meet guests and handle politics. Norbulingka comprises several palace buildings, Buddhist halls, pavilions, and the largest garden in Tibet. With all its beautiful plants, it is often referred to as the “Plateau Oxygen Bar“.
Today, Norbulingka is a public park and museum. Since 2001, it is UNESCO world heritage site. Throughout the year, locals celebrate festivals in Norbulingka garden. For example, during the Shoton Festival, Tibetan come to Norbulingka to have a family picnic and to enjoy opera performances and other shows.
Architecture & Art
Buildings, that you should pay attention to during your visit, are the Tyokyil Potrang, the Kelsan Potrang, and the Takten Migyur Potrang.
The Tyokyil Potrang is a beautiful pavilion with a golden roof, located in a lake in the garden. It was built by the 8th Dalai Lama. The pavilion houses numerous Buddhist murals and statues.
The Kelsang Potrang is a palace named after the 7th Dalai Lama (Kelsang Gyatso, 1708-1757). Under the 8th Dalai Lama, the palace was extended. From the 7th Dalai Lama onwards, all Dalai Lamas used this palace as their summer residence.
The Takten Migyur Potrang is a palace built in 1954 by the 14th Dalai Lama. You can visit the first floor, where you see his audience room, his meditation room, his sleeping room, the official entrance hall, a room of his mother and a consultation room.
Fun & Interesting
With all its beautiful plants and located at such high altitude (3650m), the Norbulingka garden is often referred to as the “Plateau Oxygen Bar“.