08-10-2006 15:42

Our last day in Lhasa of course was to be spent at the Patella Palace. Walking up the long winding walkway to the top of the hill where the palace stood, trees lined both sides and stone palates engraved with Buddhist scriptures found shade in them. The outside of the palace was mostly white with blue trimmed windows covered with fabric along the top that rippled like waves when the wind came. Typical Tibetan fabric hangings of white with a knotted continual black pattern in the middle hung all around. As we walked up the stairs to enter the palace you could hear women singing continuously from the rooftop. The inside of the palace holds deep red, blue, green, and gold. In many of the rooms it is quite dark except for the small areas left in the ceiling as a skylight that goes all the way through the 5 levels, the top level being the residence of the Dali Lama. The palace seems to be in 2 parts, one building in the center and another one built around it. The center building is a large room that is off limits to tourists, with high ceilings and long columns in the center. The outside of this building is painted in bright yellow with beautiful flowers and leaves and scrolls in reds, greens, blue, purple, and orange. The outside building has its hallways running along the center of the square surrounding the inner building. The ceilings are painted bright blue and each door is bright red with huge gold knockers tied with braided multicolored silk. The staircases are steep and off each hallway are the entrances to the individual rooms. The rooms hold Buddhist statues of various sizes and the walls are covered with small boxed shelves, each opening holding scriptures of the commandments. They are dusty boxes with deep red fabric covering two thirds of the front and just radiate importance from their presence. In different rooms you will find the thrones of various Dali Lamas. You will also come across the tombs of the lamas all covered in gold and precious jewels. The tomb of the 5th Dali Lama is the most impressive standing almost 9 meters high with 8 gold statues to his right and 8 gold statues to his left. In these rooms hang embroidered flowers and vines coming down from the ceilings all around the room. As well, heavy silk of different colors patterned with gold flowers hang all around making everything seem grounded and stable. In each room a large gold bowl filled with offerings of wax from the local Buddhist pilgrims kept the 16 candle flames alive. Tediously taken care of by the dedicated men and woman with ritual, the wicks were trimmed with sacred scissors and carefully placed into the can for removal while still burning. An ambiance of serenity and stillness can be felt all around and gentle smiles seen upon everyone's face.


Editor:Ge Ting