Karlee Rondeau

Karlee Rondeau

Published: 17 Sep 2023

Source: Travelandleisureasia.com

The Potala Palace, famously known for being the former residence of the Dalai Lamas and a significant monastery in Tibet, holds a plethora of surprising facts that captivate the imagination of visitors from all around the world. This architectural masterpiece, perched on Marpo Ri Hill in the city of Lhasa, not only showcases the rich Tibetan culture and heritage but also reveals intriguing stories and hidden secrets. From its massive size to its spiritual significance, the Potala Palace continues to awe and inspire. In this article, we will explore ten surprising facts about the Potala Palace that will take you on a virtual journey through the halls and corridors of this extraordinary landmark.

Table of Contents

The architectural masterpiece of Potala Palace

The first fact that will leave you in awe is the sheer beauty and grandeur of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. With its magnificent architecture and stunning location, it is considered one of the most iconic landmarks in the world.

The former residence of the Dalai Lama

Did you know that Potala Palace served as the winter residence of the Dalai Lama for centuries? This spiritual leader of Tibet would move from the Norbulingka, his summer residence, to Potala Palace during the harsh winter months.

Unraveling the secrets of Potala Palace’s construction

The construction of Potala Palace is a true marvel. Built at an altitude of 3,700 meters, this monumental structure was constructed without the use of any modern machinery. The incredible feat of its construction remains an engineering mystery to this day.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site

In recognition of its cultural and historical significance, Potala Palace was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in It is considered a masterpiece of Tibetan architecture and a symbol of Tibetan identity and spirituality.

The treasure trove of Tibetan art and artifacts

Inside the Potala Palace, you will find a vast collection of valuable Tibetan art, including intricate murals, ancient statues, and precious manuscripts. These artifacts provide a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Tibet.

A pilgrimage site for Buddhists

Potala Palace holds great religious importance for Buddhists. Many devotees from all over the world journey to this sacred site to pay their respects and seek spiritual enlightenment.

A fortress-like structure

With its towering walls and fortified structure, Potala Palace was designed to be a defensive stronghold. Originally built as a monastery in the 7th century, it underwent several expansions and renovations over the centuries to become the imposing structure we see today.

Boasting over 1,000 rooms

One of the most astonishing facts about Potala Palace is its sheer size. This stunning palace complex is composed of over 1,000 rooms, including chapels, prayer halls, living quarters, and even tombs of previous Dalai Lamas.

The mystical Red and White Palaces

Potala Palace is divided into two main sections: the Red Palace and the White Palace. The Red Palace is the higher section and is dedicated to religious study and worship, while the White Palace served as the administrative and living quarters.

A symbol of Tibetan resilience

Potala Palace stands as a powerful symbol of the Tibetan people’s resilience in the face of adversity. Despite political changes and challenges throughout history, the palace has remained a pillar of Tibetan culture and spirituality.


In conclusion, Potala Palace is not just an ordinary monastery but a fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Site with a rich history and intriguing features. From its impressive architecture to its spiritual significance, there are numerous surprising facts about Potala Palace that make it truly unique. Its transformation from a religious center to a popular tourist attraction has made it a must-visit destination for travelers from around the world.As you explore the grand halls, majestic sculptures, and stunning views from the palace, you can’t help but feel the deep spiritual connection embedded within its walls. Potala Palace stands as a symbol of Tibetan Buddhism and has played a significant role in Tibet’s cultural heritage.Whether you are a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or simply seeking a mesmerizing experience, Potala Palace is sure to captivate you. Its fusion of history, religion, and breathtaking beauty make it a remarkable landmark worth visiting at least once in your lifetime.


Q: When was Potala Palace built?

A: Potala Palace was built in the 7th century, around the year 637.

Q: What is the significance of Potala Palace?

A: Potala Palace holds immense cultural and religious significance as the former residence of the Dalai Lamas and a symbol of Tibetan Buddhism.

Q: How tall is Potala Palace?

A: Potala Palace stands at a height of 13 stories, with the main building reaching a height of 117 meters (384 feet).

Q: How many rooms are there in Potala Palace?

A: Potala Palace comprises over 1,000 rooms, including chapels, meditation rooms, and living quarters.

Q: Can visitors enter Potala Palace?

A: Yes, visitors can enter Potala Palace; however, a limited number of visitors are allowed each day to preserve the cultural and historical significance of the site.

Q: Is Potala Palace open year-round?

A: Potala Palace is generally open to visitors throughout the year, except for specific maintenance periods and during Tibetan festivals.

Q: Can visitors take photographs inside Potala Palace?

A: No, photography is strictly prohibited inside Potala Palace to protect the fragile artifacts and preserve the sacredness of the site.

Q: How long does it take to explore Potala Palace?

A: The average time to explore Potala Palace is around 2-3 hours, depending on the visitor’s pace and interest in the exhibits.

Q: Are there any restrictions for visitors at Potala Palace?

A: Yes, visitors are required to follow certain etiquette and dress codes when visiting Potala Palace, such as wearing modest clothing and respecting the sacredness of the site.

Q: Is there an admission fee for Potala Palace?

A: Yes, there is an admission fee for Potala Palace. The fee may vary depending on the season and age of the visitor.