Norbulingka, meaning Treasure Park, was first built in the forties of the eighteenth century, covering a space of 40 hectares after continuous expansion by the Dalai Lamas. The Qing magistrate dispatched to Tibet originally built a palace for the Seventh Dalai Lama since His Holiness often visited the place. In 1751, the Seventh Dalai Lama started to build Kelsang Potrang as his palace where he ruled and received officials and high lamas. The Fourteenth Dalai Lama lived in the palace before his new one was completed. Construction seldom stopped under the reigns of different Dalai Lamas. In 1956 the Fourteenth Dalai Lama finished his own palace - Takten Migyur Potrang, usually called New Summer Palace. In the past, during the springtime a grand procession of lamas would follow the Dalai Lama to move into the park. Before 1959 common people had no access to the palace.

Khamsum Zilnon is a very eye-catching building behind the main gate. It was originally a Han style pavilion and later changed into a theater where the Dalai Lamas watched Tibetan opera. Tsokyil Potrang is a group of buildings on water. Dalai Lamas used to read in a hall of the palace. In 1922, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama began to build his Golden Lingka and Chensel Potrang, which is located at the back of the woods. Various flowers, grasses and trees were planted around. The palace was heavily painted with murals, which bear strong Han characteristics. Takten Migyur Potrang, meaning Eternal Palace in Tibetan, was completed in 1956 for the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. Though it is called New Summer Palace, it is a very traditional architecture except for its interior modern facilities. In the palace there are many splendid murals painted by a Fourteenth Dalai Lama's painter. The topics of the murals include Tibetan officials, Sakyamuni preaching under a Bodhi tree, and Tibetan history from its founding by the Holy Monkey, the vicissitudes of Tubo Kingdom (633-844) and Tibetan Buddhism to Panchen Lama and Dalai Lama's interviews with Chairman Mao Zedong in Beijing. The present Dalai Lama's private apartment is also on view, remaining untouched. In a little sutra hall, there is a Dalai Lama's throne which is wrapped in gold foils and decorated with gems.

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