Norbulingka is considered the ‘Summer Palace’ of Lhasa. Norbulingka, meaning ‘treasured park’ in Tibetan, is located in the west suburb of Lhasa City, at the bank of Kyichu River and about 3,300 feet (1 kilometer) to the southwest of Potala Palace.
On every March 18th of the Tibetan calendar, the Dalai Lama moves here to spend his summer, hence it’s reputation as the summer palace. During the summer and autumn months, the Norbulingka becomes hub of dancing, singing, music, and festivities.
Before the 1740s, the site of Norbelingka was a desolate land where weeds thrived and wild animals lived. The history of the Norbulingka can be traced back to the 7th Dalai Lama who used a spring here to cure his health problem, and the government of the Qing Dynasty subsequently decided to build a pavilion for him.
In 1751, the 7th Dalai Lama gave an order to construct a three-storied palace named Kelsang Place after his name Kelsang Gyatso. Later Dalai lamas also moved here for their study and as a summer resort.
The 8th Dalai Lama enlarged the Norbulingka on its former base and the pool was dug into a lake. According to the architectural style from the inland areas of China, the Dragon King temple and palace were built in the midst of the lake, which were connected with other places by stone bridges. In 1922, Golden Phodron and a cluster of buildings were built in the southwest during the life of the 13th Dalai Lama’s and lots of flowers and trees were planted nearby.
In 1954, the Takten Migyur Phodrong was built by the 14th Dalai Lama, thought by many to be the most elegant palace in the Norbulingka.
Norbulingka takes up approximately 90 acres (36 hectares) and is considered to be the largest man-made garden in Tibet. A two-storied pavilion facing west is the first spot seen by tourists after entering the garden, which is the place to perform Tibetan Opera for Dalai Lama. The front area is the stage of Tibetan Opera and the second story is for watching the performance.
During the Shoton Festival, Tibetan Opera is performed here. In the northwest area is the Tsokyil Phodrong and Chensil Phodrong. On the west side stands the Golden Phodron and other buildings include the large red doors to the palace. In the north, you can see intricate murals which tell the history of Tibet!
Norbulingka houses a large collections of Tibetan carpets, Italian chandeliers, Ajanta frescoes and many other precious artifacts. In 2001, it was entered into the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and was added as an extension of the Historical Ensemble.
Admission Fee: 60RMB
Open Hours: 9:30-18:30