Sitting well exposed to the glare of the sun, the summer experience at Potala Palace prompted the Seventh Dalai Lama (1708-1757) to have Norbulingka built, a summer palace for Lhasa’s governing officials. Each year in spring, a grand procession took the current Dalai Lama and government officials from Potala Palace to Norbulingka.
Translating to “Jewel Park,” Norbulingka was centered around a walled garden and the favorite residence of the current Dalai Lama who had the New Summer Palace addition constructed as his own residence as his predecessors had done. In 1959, the army shelled the palace in an attempt to flush him out while he and several hundred Khampa warriors fled to India in the night.
The ruined palace was restored in 2003 and it was reopened as a tourist site. To the west, a zoo has replaced the old private zoo kept on the palace grounds, however the bare concrete animal cages don’t match up with current standards for animal welfare. The zoo has a separate entrance fee.
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