Lhasa Sightseeing (B)
In the morning, visit Drepung Monastery, once the largest monastery of Tibet. Later visit Mentsekhang (traditional Hospital). In the afternoon visit Norbulingkga Palace. The rest of the afternoon is free for rest or stroll around. Overnight in Lhasa
Drepung Monastery: The Drepung Monastery is the largest in Tibet. Its foundations were laid in 1416 by Jamyang Chojey, a direct disciple of Je Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelukpa Schools. This beautiful monastery is atop the Gambo Utse Mountain, 5 kilometers from the western suburb of Lhasa. Before the Cultural Revolution of 1959, the monastery housed about 15,000 monks. The ground floor of the monastery is organized on the caves and temples of Jamyang Chojey.There are also two white pagodas on which the buildings of this monastery rests. In the southwest corner, there is the Ganden Potrang which is a building which was constructed by the second Dalai Lama in 1530. At the centre, there is the Coqen Hall with a large square before it. A wide series of stone stairs will lead to the Entrance Hall. Once you enter through, you can see the Sutra Hall which is supported by 183 pillars. Inside the monastery there are statues of Sage Manjushri Tsong Khapa and Kwan-yin Bodhisattva. The Coqen hall has the conch of Jamyang Chojey.
Mentsikhang (Tibetan Medicine Institute): The history of Tibetan medicine can be dated back to 2,300 years ago but for giving this a worldwide recognition Mentsekhang played an important role. Mentsekhang, the Tibetan medicine institute was built in 1916 as the center of research for Tibetan medicine. This serves as the traditional Tibetan hospital and is incidentally the largest in Tibet. It is located at Yuthok Lu just west of the Jokhang Temple. This was also the place for calendar calculations and was under the Tibetan local government before the Cultural Revolution in 1959. In 1980, Mentsekhang was expanded and it became the immediate centre for research and production of Tibetan medicine. This is also the place where training and treatments are provided. The institute is spread over an area of 40,000 sq meters. It consists of various departments like, orthopedics, pediatrics, internal medicine and surgery, etc. Mentsekhang is also the school for training Tibetan doctors. The Tibetan medical theory is portrayed on Thangkas as a teaching tool.
Norbulingkha Palaces: In 1755, the seventh Dalai Lama built a park and a modest palace as his summer residence.Later on other structures were added but the most important contribution was made by the present/ the 14th Dalai Lama,who added chapels, gardens, fountains and pools to the east of what the Seventh Dalai Lama has built. This collection of palaces known as the Norbulingka was the winter palace for Dalai Lamas. Norbulingka when translated literally means the Jeweled Park. Among others, the most visited one is the palace of the 14th Dalai Lama which was built in a fusion style of both Tibetan and Western from 1954-1956. The living quarters have a modern touch and included a lot of furniture and a European style bathroom. There is also a zoo at Norbulingka, which was built to keep the animals, offered to the Dalai Lama. The Austrian Mountaineer Heinrich Harrer helped the 14th Dalai Lama build a small movie theatre here in the 1950s. In 2001, UNESCO inscribed Norbulingka on its World Heritage List as part of the “Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace”. The Norbulingka garden opens for general public everyday at 9 in the morning till 12 noon. It again reopens at 3.pm and closes just an hour after at 4 in the evening.