Pala Manor-Central Tibet tourist attraction
Pala Manor is the only well-preserved manor of feudal lords in Tibet. It is located only 4km from Gyantse County. From the manor, we will learn the history of Tibet feudal serf system. In addition, we can see the sharp contrast of living condition between feudal lord and the serfs. There are many exquisite artifacts and furniture maintained in Pala Manor. From them, we can imagine the luxury life of Pala Family led in the history. By contrast, the serfs were living a poor life with limited activity space and material supplies.
History of Pala Family
Pala Family is short for Pajuelakang Family. In Tibetan history, Pala Family is only after Dalai Lama Family. Thus, it has very high status of the nobles. Pala Family has a history of over 400 years. It is said that the ancestor of Pala Family was a Lama from Bhutan. Later he became a chief of a Bhutanese tribe. Due to the civil strife, he moved to Tibet. Since he brought 500 people and made contribution, he became a local official. By the end of 19th century, Pala Family had owned 37 manors in Gyantse, Lhasa, Bailang, Yadong and Shannan. Moreover, the family has possessed over 15 thousand acres’ land, 12 pastures, over 14 thousand cattle and 3000 serfs. Therefore, it had developed as one of the 12 noble families in Tibet.
In Tibetan local government, the members of Pala Family occupied important positions. Among them, five people occupied Galun in Gaxag (Tibetan local government in Qing Dynasty, like Tibetan cabinet). Galun is the top official to manage Tibetan stuff under Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama’s instruction. Therefore, Pala Manor has many important cultural materials which are crucial to investigate Tibetan history, economy and culture.
Things to See in Pala Manor
Luxury Room in the Ancient Building
The Pala Manor is magnificent from its appearance. It has 57 rooms covering the area of 5357.5 square meters. The main building is three stories. In the building, there are scripture hall, reception hall, bedroom, and even a Mahjong playing room. The decoration in the rooms are very luxurious. You can see imported food, wine, artifacts, dinnerware in one of the rooms. Moreover, there displays expensive fur clothes, western clock, golden and silver objects in the room. In the balcony of the building, you can see highland barley fields and Dzong Fortress in the distance. There is also a courtyard in the manor. In the center of the yard, there are a swing and pavilions for leisure time. In the summer, the host and his families spend time in the courtyard.
By contrast, on the opposite of the manor lies the Servants Houses. The serfs did many heavy work including horse keeping, cooking, safeguarding, weaving carpets, making wine, etc. The lord paid the wage based on the work category. The serfs lived a miserable life without their own land but bore a heavy labor. Their yard is low and damp. In the room, they only had very basic daily necessities. Some serfs even stayed outside for not having enough rooms.
1. You can take the taxi or walk to Pala Manor. It is only about minutes’ walk from the Gyantse County. The taxi fee is about RMB 10.
2. The entry fee is RMB 30. You can visit it from 9:00 to 18:00. The suggested visiting time is about 2-3 hours.
3. The balcony has wonderful view of Dzong Fortress, especially during the sunset. It is a nice place to take excellent photos.