Potala Kora

Walking in Lhasa

The pilgrim path that encircles the foot of the Potala Palace makes for a nice walk before or after the main event. Budget around half an hour, longer if you stop for tea. The exit from the Potala conveniently deposits you on the northern side of the kora path.

From the large western chörten (formerly the west gate to the city), follow the prayer wheels to the northwestern corner, marked by three large chörtens. There’s a particularly nice teahouse here.

The northeastern corner is home to several rock paintings and the delightful Sha Rigsum Lhakhang prayer hall, alive with the murmurs of chanting nuns. Just opposite are stalls selling the best yak's milk yoghurt in Lhasa. Just past here, spin the large prayer wheel of the Phurbu Chok Hermitage Mani Lhakhang and then swing past the large square, where pilgrims prostrate themselves in front of the Potala on auspicious dates.

Look out for the three 18th-century doring (stele); the two on the northern side of the road commemorate victories over the Central Asian Dzungars (1721) and Nepali Gorkhas (1788 and 1791). King Trisong Detsen is said to have erected the single southern obelisk in the 8th century.