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Himalaya

Day 68: Lhasa

Lhasa, Tibet 
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Makeshift lutes.
Michael Palin - HimalayaPotala Palace and Potala Square should never be confused. One is the greatest building in Tibet, and the other is a large open space created by filling in a lake and flattening a neighbourhood of old Tibetan houses in order to celebrate 20 years of the creation of the Tibet Autonomous Region.

The only use of one for the other is that the best view of the palace is from the bleak square, where the wind blows the water of the ornamental fountains into your face and tourists pose in the middle of the emptiness to have themselves associated with the now equally empty palace on the hill.

The Tibetans call the peak on which the palace is built Mount Marpori and the soaring upward curve of the Potala's walls, rising 13 storeys and nearly 400 feet (120 m) high, stirs memories of the Himalayan rock faces we've seen to the south. Until the first skyscrapers were built, the Potala Palace was believed to be the tallest building in the world.
Lhasa, Tibet 
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Woman with public and private prayer wheels. These have mantras written and inserted inside and must always be turned clockwise.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 68: Lhasa
  • Country/sea: Tibet
  • Place: Lhasa
  • Book page no: 164

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