Summer palace Norbu Lingka is located on the northern side of River Lhasa which is called treasure by Tibetians. “Norbu Lingka” means “treasure garden” in Tibetian language. Tibetians call “The Pearl Park” to the garden of this palace.
The palace was built in the middle of 18th century after Dalai Lama VII. From Dalai Lama VIII to Dalai Lama XIII, this palace had been used as a summer palace. Dalai Lamas’ actual palace is Potala Palace.
The biggest botanical garden of Tibet, which is located on infertile lands, is also the garden of this palace. It’s located on 360,000 m2 area and it was built in Tibetian style.
There were 374 rooms in this palace. When we were there, we couldn’t visit inside because there was a renovation going on. Our guide said that there were a lot of handmade antique Thangka and valuable paintings in the palace.
We could visit the botanical garden. It wasn’t that impressive but it was a real treasure for Tibetians who couldn’t see even a tree around. That’s why the name they gave was appropriate for it… Treasure Garden…
As in all palaces and monastries in Tibet, there were two identical animal figures and a round figure in the middle on the entrance doors. The two animals opposite each other symbolize “what goes around, comes around”; the round figure, on the other hand, symbolizes Karma.
There were many people spinning their shackles on one hand and counting their beads on the other hand in the garden. There were 3 kinds of shackles: the ones spinning with water; the ones spinning with wind and fire (heat). With whatever the shackles spin, they believe that the shackles send good energy to the world. They even spin their shackles in the bank line.
After visited the palace, we went to Beijing Street. That street was very wide and well-kept. We ate at a local restaurant, Yeti cafe and restaurant. At the entrance of the restaurant written “It is a traditional Tibet restaurant. Beautiful and delicious Tibetian cuisine is healthy and cheap. It doesn’t fatten. It is prepared fast. All the meals are immediately prepared and cooked.”
The meals were really delicious. Especially peanuts fried with eggs. Peanuts have been drabbled with scrambled eggs first and then with flour, then fried. Yak meat resembled our beef but it was harder than that.
Buddhists were generally vegan. That’s why their meat-free meals were far more delicious than the ones with meat. Actually, they were very happy about being vegan. Tibetians were grateful to Guru Rimboche, who was an important person. Guru Rimboche, who was believed to be the second reincarnation, had banned meat and alcohol. Tibetians said that if he hadn’t banned these, many animals would have been killed. Some Buddhists ate only yak meat in some occasions. Because Tibet yaks were so big that many people could fed on one animal. But they never ate small animals. Especially the fish. For that reason, it was forbidden to fish in most of the rivers.
The tables in restaurants were the same as in China. There was a round glass table in the middle and it could be spinned around. Even though we filled the table with Tibetian relishes, we paid only $16 including beverages. It was a really reasonable price.