In the morning you will visit the Potala Palace and in the afternoon, Sera Monastery and Norbulingkha Palace.
Potala Palace: The Potala Palace is perched atop the Red Hill and dominates the skyline of Lhasa. The Palace can be divided into two sections, the White Palace and the Red Palace. It was built by Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century and used as his center of meditation. It was in 1645 under the fifth Dalai Lama, Lozang Gyatso, that the Palace increased massively as the White Palace was completed. The construction of the Red Palace began in 1690 and was completed within a span of 4 years. It was the residence of the Dalai Lamas, until the 14th Dalai Lama escaped to India in 1959. Today, the Palace serves as a state museum of China. The Palace has vast inward-sloping walls and has many windows. Its roofs are flat at various levels. The central part of this group of buildings is quadrangular. This towering central portion of Potala is called the Red Palace. It contains the principal halls and chapels and shrines of past Dalai Lamas. It still holds items like murals, Holy Scriptures and sutras that are invaluable to Buddhism. Today the Potala Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of the most visited structures in the world.
Sera Monastery: In 1419 Jamchen Chojey also popularly known as Sakya Yeshe, one of the two principal disciple of Tsongkhapa, founded Gelukpa University, which later came to known as the Sera Monastery, and became one of the Great Three Gelukpa Monasteries of Tibet. The Sera University Monastery had three basic schools. The first is the Sera Mey Dratsang which was built in 1419 for the purpose of providing basic information on the doctrines of Buddhism and for the orientation of the monks. The second was the Sera Jey Dratsang, built in 1435, which was the largest, and was reserved for itinerant monks. The third one known as Ngagpa Dratsang which was built in 1559, was a school for the teaching of the Gelukpa dogmas. Scriptures written in gold powder, fine statues, scent cloth and unparalleled murals can be found in these halls. Colorful debates on Buddhist doctrines are held here and these employ a style distinctive from those at Lhasa’s other famous monasteries.
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 14th Dalai Lama, who added chapels, gardens, fountains and pools to the east of what the seventh Dalai Lama had built. This collection of palaces, also known as the Norbulingka Palace are located three kilometers west of the Potala Palace, which was the winter palace. 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 include furniture and a European style bathroom. There is also a zoo at Norbulingka, which was built to keep the animals which were given 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 AM till 12 noon.