* History: -
Chokpori Hill (Yao Wang Shan, or literally the Hill of Medicine King), literally: 'Iron Mountain' - is a sacred hill in the city of Lhasa in Tibet. It south of the Potala and just to the left when one is facing the Potala Palace. It is considered to be one of the four holy mountains of central Tibet.
It was the site of the most famous medical school Tibet, known as the Mentsikhang, which was founded in 1413. It was conceived of by Lobsang Gyatso, the "Great" 5th Dalai Lama, and completed by the Regent Sangye Gyatso (Sangs-rgyas rgya-mtsho) shortly before 1697.
Rising up beside the Potala Palace, the Chokpori Hill is 3,725 meters above sea level. Ascending the winding path to the top, one can get a panoramic view of the ancient city and its surrounding landscapes. The Chokpori Hill is very close to the Potala Palace, with a road in between that just cuts through the small mountain. In the middle of the road is a giant white pagoda, with an iron chain linking the two hills together. The Chokpori Hill is also the ideal location for taking photographs of the Potala Palace. In the early morning of holidays or peak seasons, dense crowds of photographers and photography aficionados come here to shoot a rare view of the Potala Palace irradiated by the first rays of the sun.
At the north foot of the mountain is a spring. The fountain, pure and sweet, was named "Holy Water." It is said that the fountain was the favorite of the Dalai Lama half a century ago.
It is said that Princess Wencheng of theTang Dynasty(618-907) often prayed on the hill facing the southeast, where her imperial home was. On the eastern cliff of the hill are the noted Zhalaupu Grottoes, which are extremely well preserved with a history of more than a thousand years. Although this grotto has witnessed thousands of years of swift changes in both prosperity and decline, it continues to stand quietly and proudly in Lhasa, a wonderfully mysterious place.
The grotto is an oblong shape, covering a total area of more than 27 square meters (about 32.3 square yards). There is also a pole in its center. A narrow ritual corridor is between this pole and the wall of the cave. There are 69 stone statues engraved on the rock, vivid and lifelike, which represent the soul of Tibetan stone inscription art. Additionally, a few figures of Buddha, gods in different poses, and Buddhist scripture in Tibetan characters are engraved on the cliff.
On the southern cliff is a large cluster of rock carvings -- approximately over 5,000 cliff-side carvings --, which is the largest in number and most diversified in contents and style in Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. A large number of them reflect images of the Thousand Buddhas. Others include images of Sakyamuni, Bodhisattva, Guardian of the Laws, and the Eleven-Faced Goddess of Mercy. Six-word Buddhist maxims are carved on the four sides of the images.
Near the hill are many families who engrave or decorate mani stones (stones that Tibetans decorate to show their religious piety). Every year, at the Sakadawa festival, crowds of pilgrims will come here to put mani stones by the hill, hence the piles and wall of mani.
During the middle of 17th century, in the early Qing Dynasty, a temple was erected on the top of the mountain. Within this temple was placed a sapphire figure of a certain Tibetan Medicine King. Legend has it that the King was the avatar incarnation of Sakyamuni, who was able to treat patients of any kind of diseases. During the period of the fifth Dalai Lama (1642-1682), lamas from all over the country were brought to this temple to systematically study and coordinate the knowledge of traditional Tibetan medicine.
These days Chakpori Hill has become one of the hot tourist destinations in Tibet. Every year, millions of visitors from both home and abroad will pay a visit for both sightseeing and historical interests.