August 2, 2011

The Dalai Lama's Summer Palace

While traveling through Tibet, one of the stops we made was at the Dalai Lama's Summer Palace, Norbulingka. Obviously, he no longer lives here, since he was forced to flee Tibet in 1959. He has not been allowed back since. The information we received while touring were by anonymous sources, since it is illegal to talk about. I even tried to google photos of this palace before the Chinese took it from them, and couldn't find any photos, or any information at all for that matter. If anyone else can find images, I would be grateful.
This palace was once a beautiful place where monks would sit in circles in the front courtyard and meditate. The artwork was of stunning intricacy and beauty, detailed in every aspect of the palace and its surroundings. In front of the entrance was a large, well tended, garden. As we are being told these details, we are noticing, ever more clearly, what it has become.

The palace's garden has been replaced with a road that goes right up to the foot of the palace walls. Cars park along side the walls, which have scratched and damaged the base of the palace.
Off to the side, we noticed a place that seemed to have been long since forgotten.

We were told that this used to be the Dalai Lama's playground. It has been left to ruins.
This was once a beautiful and sacred place.
The Dalai Lama was famous for his love of animals, this playground used to have many different species that he looked after.
A small glimpse at the playground the young Dalai Lama used to run through.
The Tibetan statues, as well as much of the art work, has been replaced with Chinese statues and artwork.
Since Tibet has been taken over, the holiness of the palace is now open to commercialization and advertising. I found the giant Budweiser Add (which was more of a building) to be the most obnoxious addition to this holy palace.   
The grounds have been torn apart for more "additions"
The palace is under constant construction.

I was filled with so much sadness while touring through the Palace. You are not allowed to take photos within the palace, so I can only post so much of what was actually seen. But upon entering, we witnessed a painter painting a chinese mural over a Tibetan one. This palace, and its art work, was created in 1755. These holy murals were hundreds of years old, yet today, hold no meaning to the new owners and the history of Tibet is being wiped out. The loss of such intrigate and meaningful artwork is only emphasized by the knowledge that it hasn't just been replaced, it has been destroyed.


  1. Wow!
    This is an amazing story, Im so proud of you for posting it.

    ***Free Tibet***