Shoton Festival in Norbulingka
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Shoton Festival in Norbulingka

Update: Aug. 23rd, 2013


Generally, the annual Shoton Festival would be celebrated in August. Buddha exhibition, Tibetan opera and other traditional Tibetan style activities are the highlights of Shoton Festival celebration. It is said that Shonton Festival is the most hilarious festival in Tibet except for the Tibetan New Year. The summer palace of Dalai Lamas – Norbulingka has been the must-visit pace for tourists especially interested Shoton Festival celebration for there are wonderful Tibetan opera performance.

Tourists who've been to Lhasa might find that Lhasa is not a very big city. Potala Palace is located in the center of the city while the other monasteries and gardens were constructed around the palace. Among all the gardens in the holy city, Norbulingka is the most beautiful one. The Tibetan opera performance would be presented in Norbulingka for several days during the celebration of the annual Shoton Festival. For local Tibetans, enjoy the wonderful Tibetan opera with their family members and friends is the most important part of their Tibetan opera except for witnessing the Buddha exhibition in Drepung Monastery.

Norbulingka was only opened to the high officials and noble lords in ancient times. Currently, Norbulingka has been a park open to local Tibetans and visitors from different corners of the world. During the celebration of Shoton Festival, local Tibetans would bring the traditional Tibetan style food and beverage to spend a happy time with their families. Local Tibetans would always chat or play some traditional games on the grassland under the tree while enjoying the Tibetan opera performance. It should be noted that the Tibetan opera performance teams from different regions in Tibet would present their best performance for tourists and local Tibetans during the Shoton Festival every year.

Tourists come to Norbulingka could spend some time to enjoy the Tibetan opera after witness the special architectural and garden art. Actually, it is hard to understand the Tibetan opera for both domestic tourists and overseas tourists due to the language problem. But tourists could get a brief understanding from the reaction of the local audiences. It is said that all the Tibetan opera dramas were recomposed from the folk stories or Buddhist stories.

Summer is the best season for sightseeing in Lhasa. The climate is warm and humid in the summer season. Tibet has been one of the most popular summer resorts in China and a lot of domestic tourists would come here to enjoy a cool summer. In this season, tourists could enjoy the most beautiful Tibet for all the lakes and mountains are in their best state. The traditional Shoton Festival, which would be celebrated in August makes the summer in Lhasa (especially in Norbulingka) more attractive. Generally, the Tibetan opera performance in Norbulingka would last for around one week.

Tourists planning to pay a visit to Norbulingka during Shoton Festival should note that it would be open to tourists between 9:30 to 18:00. Except for enjoying the Tibetan opera performance in Norbulingka, tourists could also pay a visit to the monasteries in Lhasa to enjoy the Buddhism sutra chanting/debating.

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