Norbulingka is located in Lhasa City, China,s Tibet Autonomous Region, at the bank of the Lhasa River about two kilometers west of the Potala Palace. It was the palace and garden of the former Tibetan local government, and is now a key cultural relicsite under state protection and a large garden open to the public.
Norbulingka, meaning Jewel Park, was the Summer Palace of Dalai Lamas. Originally built by the Seventh Dalai Lama in the 18th century, it now covers an area of some 360,000 square meters (about 89 acres) after successive expansions by the Eighth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth Dalai Lamas. Potrangs, pavilions, gardens, a zoo, lakes and woodland make Norbulingka the perfect place for visitor to relax.
The construction of Norbulingka started in 1751, and it reached the present appearance in 1956 after numerous expansion and renovation. It includes five groups of architecture and gardens. In history, the Dalai Lamas, beginning from the seventh Dalai Lama, moved to live here from the Potala Palace from March to September each year.
NorbuLingka is named the Summer Palace, located west of Lhasa. The beautiful garden was first built in the middle 18th century. That,s where they deal with affairs and hold religious activities. The garden covers an area of 46 acres, with 370 rooms of different sizes. In the garden people worship Buddha, spend their holiday, and study the Tibetan-style palaces.
Norbulingka consists of several palace complexes, such as the Kelsang Potrang, Tsokyil Potrang, Golden Linka and Takten Migyur Potrang. Each palace complex is divided into three sections - the palace section, the section in front of the palaces and the woods.
Kelsang Potrang, named after the Seventh Dalai Lama, is a three-storey palace with halls for worshipping Buddha, bedrooms, reading rooms and sanctuaries. Tsokyil Potrang, when the Eighth Dalai Lama was in power, is considered to be the most attractive in Norbulingka. Khamsum Zilnon built during that time is really a striking pavilion of the Han architecture style, where Dalai Lamas enjoyed Tibetan opera. In 1922, a wealthy benefactor had Golden Linka and Chensel Potrang constructed for the Thirteenth Dalai Lama. Meanwhile, a lot of flowers, grass and trees were planted. In 1954, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama built Takten Migyur Potrang, which is also called the New Summer Palace, means ,Eternal Palace, in Tibetan. The architecture has combined the characteristics of temple and villa and is more magnificent than other palaces. The exquisite murals in the palace are well worth a mention and visit. The murals in the northern hall show the kind, calm Sakyamuni and his eight contemplative disciples. However, the murals in the southern hall vividly tell the development of Tibet in comic strips.
Norbulingka is the largest and grandest garden in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau with the highest gardening level artistic level. It borrowed the architectural style from the inland areas of CHina while maintaining and reflecting the local ethnic religious style from the inland areas of China while maintaining and reflecting the local ethnic religious and natural features. It has been preserved intact until now and was never damaged or changed in history. Because of its prominent and universal cultural values and its direct and clos relations with the Potala Palace, the Chinese government has decided to apply for its inclusion in the World Heritage as the extension of the Potala Palace.