Lhasa (Buddhist Pilgrimages in Tibet )
Visitors may currently enter Tibet from mainland China, Hong Kong or Nepal, if they have a visa for China; the Chinese authorities maintain
"closed" areas, but most of the country is accessible. In the holy city of Lhasa, the Dalai Lama's Potala Palace, like many Tibetan
monasteries, is now a state museum. Unlike countless shrines and monasteries destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, both the
structure and contents of the Potala are preserved. Symbol of the protection of Avalokiteshvara and of the greater Tibetan Buddhist
community, the Potala still towers imposingly over Lhasa, and contains countless treasures from the 17th century, including murals,
thankas, mandalas, altars, and the famous statue in sandalwood of Padmapani.
The Jokhang monastery, southeast of the Potala, is the most sacred of all Tibetan pilgrimage sites. Somehow surviving the barbarities of the Cultural Revolution, the Jokhang retains its famous gilded roof, and the "Four Deities Radiating Light" may still be seen in their shrine. The Jokhang remains a living monastery; but it may also be visited, like other sacred sites, as a "museum".