Norbulingka is the old summer palace of the Dalai Lamas. It was built in the 1780s by the 7th Dalai Lama and each succesive Dalai Lama added to it. Most of the extant buildings were built during the time of the 13th and 14th Dalai Lamas. Some buildings were damaged during the 1950's but were rebuilt or repaired in 2003. It is today part of a group of historic buildings that inlcude the Potala Palace as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As well as being the Dalai Lamas summer residence, Norbulingka was also an administrative centre and a religious site.
The palace is located within Norbulingka park on the west side of Lhasa, just 3km from the Potala Palace. The park is where the annual Sho Dun or 'Yoghurt Festival' is held. The park is at an altitude of 3,650 metres (11,980 feet). Many kinds of flowering plants and trees are found within the park. Some fruit trees such as apple and apricot have been planted, but did not bear fruit. The park was also home to many kinds of animals. During its active period as the Dalai Lama's home, peacocks and Brahminy ducks could be found here. The park also contains a small zoo.
The palace, within the park, has 374 rooms. It contains many large chandeliers of Italian origin and Ajanta frescoes as well as traditional Tibetan funishings. The display area includes the Dalai Lama's meditation room, bedroom, conference room and bathroom. In adiation there are 30,000 cultural relics preserved there.