Ther garden of Norbulingka is the Summer Palace in the western suburb of Lhasa, in Tibetan language, it means "Jewel Park". In the early time, Dalai Lamas would move from the Potala to this resort palace for dealing with religious and political affairs during Tibetan summer.But now, it has become the People's Park of Lhasa city.
One corner of Norbulingka Garden
Built in 1740s,Norbulingka is the biggest one that Tibetan people have built with best scenery and most heritages. The architectures here have been renovated beautifully. It is a good place to be visited although it does not match the Potala Palace or the Jokhang Temple becuase of the lack of artistry and heritages.
Therefore, some people have described Norbulingka as simply as "a watery pagoda, two lines of handicraft and souvenir shops and a few palace buildings located around the zoo".
When I quoted this saying, I did not mean visitors can skip Norbulingka during Lhasa tour but do need to choose the best time for visiting----the Shoton (Yoghurt) Festival in late summer.Not only Norbulingka charges free in this festival, but also visitors can see the most fabulous Tibetan Opera here. After the big showing the Buddha ceremony in Drepung Monastery,Tibetan people swarmed here for entertainment, such as riding,ferrule and archery.
Historic story of Norbulingka
Before 1740s, the area where the Norbulingka should have built was a piece of barren land with weeds and grasses, and frequently roamed by wild beasts. However, Dalai Lama VII
loved to travel to the place a lot. Therefore, China
's Qing Dynasty government ordered their Tibetan minister to sent workers to build a palace for him. In later ages, the palace had been expanded many times. It became the Norbulingka Garden, which had been a summer resort for Dalai Lamas to deal with Buddhist affairs and receive visiting Tibetan officials.
Mural paintings in Norbulingka
The New Palace is one of the best to see constructions in the Norbulingka Garden. The lively mural paintings(The repair project is completed in 2006) are quite attractive. The drawing "The Sakyamuni Buddha and His Eight Disciples under the Banyan Tree", seen in the north, is the highlight in the New Palace. The big picture of Sakyamuni's face expressions are depicted in elaborate way in details. He is always kind and silent. His eight disciples are in deep meditation and pious mood.
The Sakyamuni Buddha and His Eight Disciples under the Banyan Tree
The mural paintings in the south side are combined into a brief history of Tibet. It includes the story of Tibetan people's origins, the rise and fall of the Tubo Empire, the Tibetan Buddhism development between 9th century and 14th century AD and the history of Dalai Lamas. These 301 pictures are quite essential for people who want to have a glance in Tibet history and also a fine art masterpiece.