The Seventh Dalai Lama (1708–57), a frail man, chose to build a summer palace on this site because of its medicinal spring, and later had his whole government moved here from the Potala Palace. Successive Dalai Lamas expanded the complex, adding additional palaces, a debating courtyard, a pavilion, a library, and a number of landscaped gardens, which are at their best in summer months. The most recent addition, built by the current Dalai Lama between 1954 and 1956, is
an ornate two-story building containing his private quarters. It turned out to be the place from which, disguised as a soldier, he fled to India on March 17, 1959, three days before the Chinese massacred thousands of Tibetans and fired artillery shells into every building in the complex. Only after searching through the corpses did they realize that the Dalai Lama had escaped.
The repair work in the aftermath of the March 1959 uprising is not of high caliber, and much of Norbulingka feels run-down. That said, a collection of the Dalai Lama's carriages and automobiles housed in the Changsam Palace are worth a look. More fascinating are the personal effects of the current Dalai Lama housed in the New Summer Palace, including his radio and phonograph. You can even peek into the Dalai Lama's bathroom. No photos are allowed inside, unfortunately. There is also a small zoo full of pitiable animals, which is worth avoiding.
Western end of Luobulingka Lu, Lhasa, 850000, Tibet