Tibet’s Potala Palace gets annual whitewash

Lhasa, Oct 29 (IANS) The 1,300-year-old Potala Palace here is having its yearly facelift as workers and local volunteers whitewash the exterior of the landmark.

It will take about a month to paint the palace, a Unesco World Heritage Site, in preparation for “Lhabab Duchen”, which falls on November 20 this year, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to Tibetan tradition, “Lhabab Duchen” is believed to be the day the Buddha descended from the heavens and is one of the four annual festivals celebrating important events in his life.

The Potala Palace was built by Tibetan King Songtsa Gambo in the seventh century and expanded in the 17th century by the Dalai Lama. It received more than 9,00,000 visitors in 2015.

The whitewash used is concocted using a traditional formula of milk, honey, sugar and lime, which has a distinctive sweet smell. Dozens of volunteers arrived on Saturday to help.

For over 40 years, Tsetop, a resident of Lhasa, has participated in the annual whitewashing. He also donates milk to the palace for the paint.

The palace was included on the Unesco World Heritage List in 1994.