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梦中的岁月

The Home of My Soul

 
 
 

日志

 
 

【原创】WHERE DASIPHORA FRUTICOSA BLOOMS Ⅱ  

2010-04-15 20:50:28|  分类: 驴行天下 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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2.       The Holy City Lhasa

We visited the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street, etc. the next day. Entrance ticket for Potala Palace is 100 Yuan for each (disabled free) with a three-dimensional panoramic color photographs of the Potala Palace on it, and it’s a very beautiful postcard, too, with postage. Visitors are request to go through security check to get in.  The first door is on the left side of the Potala Place, and there are a few other doors after that. In order to protect the Potala Palace, a world-class cultural relic, daily number of visitors is limited to 2000 and one hour for each one (Besides, the Perennial incense smoke inside would make people can not stay long). It is said that it will be closed completely in the year 2012. the wall of Potala Palace is about 4 meters thick with observation and ventilation holes, narrow and dark in some places; stairs are very steep, like the stairs to the attic of an old house in the countryside. But in general, it is very Glorious and splendid. Unfortunately, Cameras are forbidden at most of the places.  

Potala Palace is on the Red Hill in Lhasa. The palace building of 13 floors, 110 meters high, at an elevation of about 3750 meters is a world-famous ancient building group of castle style and is the essence of ancient Tibetan architectural art. Built in the seventh century, it has a history of more than 1300 years so far. It was built for Princess Wen Cheng after the marriage between Songtsan Gambo and Princess Wen Cheng, and then destroyed in wars. Being extended for half a century by the 5th Dalai Lama since 1654, its scale became huge, and it became an important landmark of Lhasa. Its majestic appearance can be seen from tens miles away.

Potala is Sanskrit transliteration of Guanyin resort Putuo Luojia; it is the same thing with the South Putuo and the North Putuo in the coastal region, only the name translation differences

360 meters long from east to west and 270 meters wide from north to south, covering a total area of 36000 square meters, it is the magnificent building with the highest elevation in the world concentrating palaces, castles and monasteries in one. Popularity of the venerable Potala Palace is not only because of its magnificence but its precious cultural relics as well; it is the essence of ancient Tibetan architectural art and is a treasure house of Tibetan art. It was placed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO.

Normally, visitors are routed to the east door with fresco of Four Devarajas from the None Word Monument at the foot of the hill via the zigzag slope road paved with stone plates and go through the palace wall tunnel of four meters long to the main hall. On the hillside, there is a platform of 1600 square meters or so, here was where all past Dalai Lama watch plays, it was named Deyangsha, and no photographing from now on. Go upstairs and through Dasongkuo Corridor and then get into the largest hall of the White Palace ── the East Hall. Historical records showed that since the 5th Dalai Lama was appointed by Qing Emperor Shunzhi with canonization decree and golden seal in 1653, all Reincarnations of Dalai Lama should be conferred on by Central Government, and the enthronements, ceremonies of assuming office, etc., should be presided over by high commissioners in Tibet. The East Hall was where the successive Dalai Lama held their enthronements, ceremonies of assuming office and other major religious and political events.

The Potala Palace is composed of the White Palace and the Red Palace. The White Palace, with seven floors, was Dalai Lama’s winter palace and was the place where the offices of the former Tibetan local government were located. Dongjiyuanman hall (Cuoqingxiasixipingcuo), 717 square meters, in the center of the fourth floor is the biggest hall in the White Palace and was the place where the successive Dalai Lama holding their enthronements, ceremonies of assuming office and other major religious and political events. Rooms on the fifth and sixth floor were Regent Office and rooms for everyday life, etc. There are two winter living rooms of Dalai Lama on the seventh floor. Because it is sunny all day here, it was called the East and the West Sunny Palace.

To memorize the Fifth Dalai Lama and place his stupa, 8 years after his death, the Red Palace had been built under the auspices of Sanjay Gyatso, the top official in power then, in the year 1690 and was completed in 1694; it is a trinity multi-story building group concentrating palaces, chapels and stupa palaces. The Red Palace is in the center of the Potala Palace, the White Palace is to the east and the monk’s residence is to the west. The whole Potala Palace is majestic and solemn.

Stupas of 7th to 11th Dalai Lama were built in the Red Palace later, together with lot of Buddha-halls, scripture halls and so on. 725 square meters, Stupa palace of the fifth Dalai Lama is the biggest Palace in Potala and frescos all over the walls; Among them, the most famous one is the one on the fifth Dalai Lama going to Beijing to be received in audience by Qing Emperor Shunzhi. In the palace, and above the throne of Dalai Lama, hanging a horizontal inscribed board written by Qing Emperor Qianlong saying the Land of Innocence. Some of the structures such as Dharma raja cave (qujiezhupu), etc., are the earliest building of Potala left over from the time of Tubo. There are precious statues of Sontzen Gampo, Princess Wen cheng, Princess Chizun and Lu Dongzan, etc. Trayo Dhatavah Hall is the highest hall of the Red Palace, Portrait of the Qing Emperor Qianlong and an eleven-face statue of Avalokitesvara, which was had casted by the 13th Dalai Lama costing over ten thousand taels of silver, are worshiped there, now. The Stupa Palace of the 13th Dalai Lama is the latest building of the Potala Palace, started in the year of 1933 and completed three years later. Besides, there is Guru Palace, the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment Palace, bronze Palace and Hereditary palace, etc.

Stupas of the First, Second, Third and the Fourth Dalai Lamas are placed in Tashilhunpo Monastery Shigatse and Drepung Lhasa; all the eight Stupas of Dalai Lamas from the fifth to the thirteenth are placed in the Red Palace of Potala except the Sixth. The only place with the vestiges of the Sixth Dalai Lama is his bedroom──Dedanji Palace. The Sixth Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyatso hosted Potala when he was fourteen. It is said that he had not forgotten secular life and composed large quantities of poems with his own experience, and Maji Ami in Barkhor Street was the place where he made tryst with his inamorata. In the 32nd year of the reign of Qing Emperor Kangxi, Tsangyang Gyatso was brought disaster to by Political and religious struggles in Tibet, dethroned by the Qing Dynasty and sent under guard to north. It is said that he was missing when passing by Koko Nor Lake and has never been heard of ever since.

The Potala palace was designed and constructed according to the characteristics of the climate and sunlight of the Highland── the wall base is thick and solid, and the tunnels and vents extend in all directions. There are pillars, bucket arches, brackets, joists, Rafters and so on in rooms to make up pole brackets. Aga soil (Appearance and texture are similar with tabia which was commonly used in 1950s and 1960s, but Aga soil is more polished) is used for floor paving and roof roofing. Feel dangling walking on the floor and some places are apparently collapsed. There are dormers on the top of the halls and the bedrooms for lighting and air conditioning.

 Potala Palace has some auxiliary buildings including Langjiechacang (vihara), clerical official school, Monk's residence, east and north courtyards, Xuelao city at the foot of the hill and Maji Kang (Headquarter of Tibetan Army) of the local government of Tibet, Xuebaliekong, scripture Printing House, prison, barns and the Dragon pool behind Potala Palace.

An extremely large number of historical heritages are collected and preserved in Potala Palace, among them are frescos of over 2500 square meters, nearly 1’000 pagodas, over 10’000 statues, over 10’000 Thang-ga ( a kind of scroll painting) and Precious scriptures books like Pattra-leaf scriptures, Tanjur and so on; and the items testifying the relationships between the local governments of Tibet and the central governments in history like Decrees on the Canonization of Dalai Lamas, golden seals and imperial jade seals issued by the emperors of Ming and Qing Dynasties, as well as the large quantities of gold and silver wares, porcelain, enamel, jade articles, Brocade products and handicraft articles. These artifacts are colorful and theme-rich.

Counting in tons, the most worthless in Potala Palace is gold, and RMB is everywhere: in and out of donation boxes, idol niche, on the floor, ground and in the trees at the back of the palace, and so on.

The Potala Palace is a large labyrinth, a building without terminal; you can hardly get out without a guider (no turning back). When you penetrate through the labyrinth, wreathed with the perfumed smoke of incense and loading with politics, religion, history, culture and altered with brightness and darkness, and finally see the brilliant sunlight, you will feel that you returned to the mundane world again and a kind of reincarnation is embodied.

There is a parking lot and a Tibetan restaurant to the right of Potala Palace, tourists can have dinner here, and enjoy anti-hypoxia tea ──Rhodiola for free. The best place to take pictures is near the flagpole at the Potala Palace Square. Night view shooting should be done after 21 o’clock Beijing Time, for the night has just begun to fall at that time (in summer).

After visiting Potala Palace, our bus parked in the Reserve and Retired Resettling and Training Center of the Tibet Military Area Command (this is probably the name of it, I do not remember clearly); over the gate of the center, there is an army emblem, a sign-board of the Tibet Military Area Police Station on the parastate and a picture of the competent police officer in police uniform, these made me extremely puzzled. We went to Jokhang Temple on foot from the Center. In the streets, there were small groups of armed policemen on duty every where, especially at the crosses. I just can not imagine how many people would be needed to relieve the guard.

Jokhang Temple is the most brilliant construction of Tubo period in Tibet, it is grand, solemn and florid, and is surrounded by the crowd of worshippers and prayers from all over Tibet. Many prostrates in prayer all the way to Jokhang Temple from their own homes. In Lhasa and on the way to Lhasa, many prostrating prayers can be seen, some of them are in small groups and some are alone prostrating in prayer all the way to Jokhang Temple from a great distance. The scenes and their devotion are so touching.

Jokhang Temple is also known as Zula Kang, which means, in Tibetan, sutra chanting hall. Jokhang in Tibetan is Juekang which means Sakyamuni.──the chapel with Sakyamuni Statue. This statue of Sakyamuni is the Jowo Sakyamuni (Life-sized and gold-plated Buddha statue at the age of 12) that Princess Wen Cheng brought to Tibet from Chang-an, it has the supremacy in Buddhism circle. The main building of this civil structure temple has three floors; the roof is covered with golden tiles of unique style of Tibet dazzlingly brilliant in the sunshine. Incense wreathing in front of the temple all day and devout believers prostrate in prayer on bluestone floor. Here was originally a weed clustered swamp; the lake in center of the swamp was called Ji Xue WoTang or Banks with Good Snow then. Princess Wen Cheng casted the horoscope and confirmed that Ji Xue WoTang is the heart of Rakasasa, this is extremely unfavorable for the King of Tibet to attain his cause, so she suggested having the lake filled up with earth carried on the backs of white goats, and then, have a temple built on it to subdue the demon. This is the origin of the Jokhang Temple. Today, the most precious Buddha statue worshipped in the temple is the 12-year-old life-sized statue of Sakyamuni brought into Tibet by Princess Wen Cheng from Datang (Tang Dynasty). The cloister runs around the Sakyamuni Hall in the center of Jokhang Temple is called Nangkhor. The place is called Thousand-Buddha Cloister and has three hundred and eighty prayer wheels. In Tibetan language, Nangkhor means “the inside track” or “of a home”; therefore, it can also mean “the pilgrim’s track at home”. It is the most mysterious and attractive route of pilgrimage in Lhasa, because it is close to Buddha. The street around the Jokhang Temple outside the wall is called Barkhor Street. Pilgrims from faraway prostrate themselves in prayer in Barkhor Street around Jokhang Temple clockwise (Tibetan Buddhism pilgrimages clockwise; and counter-clockwise the ancient native religion of Tibet──Bonpo). The ancient and bustling commercial street── the Barkhor Street is now a street of Tibetan artworks. Overlooking, from the golden roof of Jokhang Temple, the Jokhang Square, to the right faraway on a hill is Potala Palace, the willow nearby is the Princess Willow. According to legend, it was planted by Princess Wen Cheng. Jokhang Temple’s layout of orientation is different from the Han Buddhism temple; its main building is facing the west. The main building has four floors and side halls on both sides. The layout structure reproduces the ideal model of the universe of Buddhist mandala. The main halls of the temple are the Sakyamuni Hall, the Hall of Great Master Tsongkhapa, Tsongkhapa hall, Palden Lahm (the Lokapala of Gulug──Yellow hat) hall, holy ram Remujimu hall, Tibetan King hall and so on. Wood carvings and frescos in the temple very are exquisite.

Jokhang Temple is the center of Major Buddhist activities in Tibet. After the Fifth Dalai Lama had established Gan Phodrang regime, Government agencies of Kashag were located in the temple, concentrated mainly on the two top floors around the courtyard. Many important political and religious activities such as the lot-drawing from the golden urn (With the lot-drawing approach to identify the reincarnated soul boy of the highest Grand Living Buddha of Tibetan Buddhism is the formal system established in the 57th year of Qianlong Qing Dynasty──1792 AD) and so on are held here.

All the gilded rooftops and the Brackets of the Jokhang Temple are the typical style of the Han nationality; tower houses and carved beams are the Tibetan style. The 103 Animal carvings and the Sphinxes in line under the eaves of the second and third floors of the main construction show characteristics of the style of Nepal and India. There is a long Tibetan fresco (the Painting of Princess Wen Cheng Coming to Tibet) of nearly 1000 meters and a Jokhang Temple construction painting in the temple; and there are two Thangkas of Ming Dynasty embroidery of protective deities, these are two of the Tantric Buddhas the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism worships and they are rare art treasures.

There are staircases lead to the second and third floor terraces from the ticket office on the first floor, and from the terrace on the third floor, the Jokhang Temple Square and the Potala Palace can be overlooked. Admission fee is 85 Yuan per person, no discount for Disabled and others, not to speak of free pass. At the entrance of the passage of the main hall there is a fresco, on the right, on the story of constructing the Jokhang Temple; it plotted out the early figure of Potala Palace of the 7th century and the scenes of filling up the lake and building the Jokhang Temple. Clockwise from left to right, Tsongkhapa and his eight disciples are worshipped in the first small hall; these eight disciples made a great contribution to carrying forward the Yellow Sect (Shamanism). The first Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama are all in the list of the eight disciples. The six major temples of Shamanism: Gandan Monastery (established by Tsongkhapa himself), Drepung, Sera, Tashilhunpo, Taer Monastery in Qinghai and Lhabrang Monastery in Gansu (were all built by his disciples). A White Tower stands at the corner between the western wall and the northern wall; it was said that the tower had emerged from the Lake of Ji Xue WoTang before Jokhang Temple was built. One of the eight hierarchs of the eastern realm of Vaidūryanirbhāsa, or "Pure Lapis Lazuli"──the Medicine Buddha is sitting in the first small hall south side; next is the statue of emaciated Milarepa resting his hand on the ear; he is one of the founders of the White Sect of Lamaism. A few steps further is the Buddhas of the three times. Turn right, the second hall is Guanyin Temple, on the right of the temple are the statues of Sontsen Gampo, Princess Chizun (Bhrikuti) and Wen Cheng. Tsongkhapa and the great masters of the other sects are at the corner of southern wall and eastern wall. The first hall against the eastern wall is for Amitabha, and the next is for Byams-pa (Maitreya), it holds the good weather in Tibet. Before the end of celebration activities of the Tibetan New Year, Byams-pa will be taken out to circumambulate the Jokhang Temple.

When we were having a rest on the terrace of the second floor, an aged lama accosted us. His Chinese was poor, so it was difficult for us to communicate with each other. Through gesticulations and speech, I learnt approximate the meaning of his: My daughter has dad and mum, she is very happy; his dad and mum passed away (looked bleak when he was saying this, if he was an orphan when he was small?). He said he had been to Chengdu, Beijing, etc. I told him I had been to the Songzanlin Lamasery, and he looked very happy when he heard the name “Songzanlin Temple”. I seemed to see a ray of hope of communication (he might speak English), therefore I began to talk to him in English, but he waved his hand and said, awkwardly in Chinese, “I don’t understand I don’t understand”. He might mistook Songzanlin Temple as Sontzen Gampo. He said I was young and he was old, he was already 76 years old. It is interesting that wherever I went, including the Songzanlin Lamasery in Shangri-La nine years ago, Tibetans and monks were very kind to us saying that I looked like their Khampa guy.

 After visiting the Jokhang Temple and the Barkhor Street, we went to the Performing Art Centre of Tanglha Wind to have Tibetan dishes and watch the show; the fee was 198 Yuan per one. The variety of Tibetan food was limited but the quantities are unlimited, you can ask for them as much as you need.  Chang(Highland barley wine)tasted sour, no alcohol taste and odor, no the mellow taste of the chang of Shangri-La County Yunnan; the yoghurt is so sour that it would chill the drinker, but the pork of the Tibetan miniature pig tastes good. This kind of Black Small-eared Pig is a local pure black grazing pig of the rich low-lying areas Nyingchi. After the Tibetan meal, we watched large Tibetan style cabaret performed by the Tanglha Wind Performing Arts Center on spot. All the performers were Tibetans and most of them were young. The girls did not have the dark skins as the normal Tibetan girls have, everyone had the creamy skin and as pretty as fairy; and the boys, with smile on their faces, were dashing, passionate and handsome. Their skills of singing and dancing were absolutely tip-top. Almost every show was full house and spectators responded enthusiastically. Many of the actors and actress were the original singers of many songs and the singers of the songs in many motion pictures. The show was full of rich Tibetan style.

The day was still bright when the show was finished at about 9 o’clock in the evening. We hurried to Potala Square to take pictures of the night scene of the Palace. There were many people on the square, almost all of them were tourists, both motor vehicles and pedestrians were few. There were traffic policemen on the Middle Beijing Road in front of the Potala Palace to protect the safety of tourists crossing the street, this made people feel warm and at home. Standing on the square with the gentle evening breeze brushing on my cheek and looking at the brilliantly illuminated, magnificent and somewhat mysterious Potala Palace against the backdrop of deep blue sky while the sound of children’s chorus Snow Mountain linked to Beijing from the loudspeakers of the square was coming into my ears, I felt an easy and comfortable feeling welled in me. My finger continually kept pressing the shutter button and I could not believe that I myself was really in Tibet standing before the magnificent Potala Palace….

To be continued

  【原创】WHERE DASIPHORA FRUTICOSA BLOOMS  Ⅱ - 梦中的岁月 - 梦中的岁月

Potala Palace

【原创】WHERE DASIPHORA FRUTICOSA BLOOMS  Ⅱ - 梦中的岁月 - 梦中的岁月

Potala Palace

 【原创】WHERE DASIPHORA FRUTICOSA BLOOMS  Ⅱ - 梦中的岁月 - 梦中的岁月

 Jokhang Temple

【原创】WHERE DASIPHORA FRUTICOSA BLOOMS  Ⅱ - 梦中的岁月 - 梦中的岁月

Barkhor Street

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