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China completes renovation of Dalai Lama’s Potala Palace

China has completed a seven-year multi-million dollar renovation of Tibet’s famed Potala Palace,home to the Dalai Lamas.

China has completed a seven-year multi-million dollar renovation of Tibet’s famed Potala Palace,home to the Dalai Lamas until the region’s current spiritual leader fled to India during a failed uprising against Communist rule in 1959.

The renovation of the Potala Palace,the winter abode of the Dalai Lama in Tibet’s capital,Lhasa formed part of a massive effort launched in 2002 to conserve unique Tibetan culture,the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The Chinese government has spent nearly USD 43.9 million in the two projects,on Potala Palace and Norbu Lingka,or the former winter and summer palaces of the Dalai Lamas.

It also invested USD 13.87 million in renovating the Sagya Monastery,which houses numerous classical books on Buddhism and precious paintings.

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A ceremony was held yesterday in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa to celebrate the success of repair work which commenced in 2002. Over 1.8 lakh workers were involved in the renovation project.

“The reparation of the three key cultural relics is an important part in the conservation of the Tibetan culture,” Xinhua quoted State Councillor Liu Yandong as saying.

The Potala Palace,built in the 7th century,is on the world cultural heritage list. After the renovation,it can now accommodate 1,000 visitors daily.

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The 14th Dalai Lama,Tibet’s traditional spiritual and temporal leader,fled to India during the 1959 uprising against Chinese rule in his Himalayan homeland.

First published on: 24-08-2009 at 17:15 IST
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