The first palace was originally built in 7th century by King Songtsen Gambo after he moved the capital from Yarlung to Lhasa. It is built on the Red hill that is believed to be the abode of Avalokitesvara. But it was only in the 17th century that the Fifth Dalai Lama established a new government and constructed the Potala Palace in its present form. It is divided into red and white sections. The white area around the entrance on the east side was used for administrative affairs. The red palace on the west side was used mainly for religious purposes and consists of chapels, meditation rooms, audience halls, offices and living quarters of the Dalai Lamas and tutors.
Whin the red palace there is also the original cave where the Dharma King Songtsen Gamgbo used to meditate. There is also a holy statue of Lokesvara made of sandalwood which was brought to Tibet by the King himself from India through his miraculous power. Apart from these, there are many funeral stupas of the successive Dalai Lamas. But among them. The most amazing one is the funeral stupa of the great fifth Dalai Lama. Because of its size and religious importance it is called “The sole ornament of the world”. There are also a Mandalas of Kalachakra and other meditational deities as well as biographical wall paintings of the Great Fifth Dalai Lama and Desi Sangyan Gyatso, his regent. For Tibetan the Potala Palace is an important pilgrimage site and for outsider it is a great museum of Tibetan culture, art, religion and architecture.