(TibetanReview.net, Oct15’21) – Despite serious concern that heavy footfall posed danger to the ancient structure of the iconic Potala palace in Tibet’s capital Lhasa, the winter residence of the Dalai Lamas, authorities have declared it open to the public free of charge from Oct 15 to the end of 2021, according to China’s official chinadaily.com.cn Oct 15. The announcement was made as authorities strove to promote winter tourism, the report said.
During this period, tourists only need to make an appointment one day in advance on the Palace’s WeChat account for entry, the report cited the “resort’s” management office as saying Oct 14 in a statement.
The report noted that the palace was built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in the seventh century and expanded in the 17th century.
China got the palace included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994 and promotes it as the most popular tourist attraction in Tibet.
The report said the palace held “a collection of invaluable scriptures, historical documents, and precious relics, including statues, paintings, and frescoes” even after years of plunder during the initial years of the Chinese occupation rule.
The report said the palace authorities’ new move was part of the region’s “Winter Tourism in Tibet” programme to promote tourism development and push economic growth.