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Dalai Lama's official residence closed to visitors due to heavy snow in Tibet's capital


Devdiscourse News Desk beijing
Updated: 19-12-2018 18:51 IST
Dalai Lama's official residence closed to visitors due to heavy snow in Tibet's capital

Due to the heavy snow, the steep stone stairs leading to the palace atop a hill became slippery, according to a statement released by the palace's administrative office late Tuesday. (Image Credit: Wikimedia)

For the first time, the iconic Potala Palace, the official residence of the Dalai Lama was closed to visitors on Wednesday due to heavy snow in Lhasa, Tibet's capital.

The Dalai Lama resided at the 1,300-year-old Potala Palace before he fled to India in 1959 following the take-over of Tibet by China.

Due to the heavy snow, the steep stone stairs leading to the palace atop a hill became slippery, according to a statement released by the palace's administrative office late Tuesday.

"The palace is only closed on the Tibetan New Year's Eve and the second day of the New Year. There was no closure due to weather in the past," state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Jorden, deputy director of the palace administrative office as saying.

Over 440 palace staff and some 30 firefighters participated in the snow removal, Jorden said.

This winter's first snow in Lhasa came early Tuesday morning and did not stop until Wednesday morning. The city saw 10 cm of snow, and the temperature dropped to minus 9.4 degrees Celsius at 9 AM Wednesday, according to the regional meteorological bureau.

The regional meteorological bureau issued a yellow alert for a blizzard Tuesday morning.

The palace has been converted into a museum. It was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994 and is the most famous tourist attraction in Tibet. Over 1.45 million tourists visited it in 2017.

The construction of the palace took 45 years and was completed in 1694.

The Potala Palace was built in the seventh century and was expanded in the 17th century, covering an area of 41 hectares atop a craggy hill in the heart of Lhasa.

(With inputs from agencies.)


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