LHASA, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- The 1,300-year-old Potala Palace in Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, is having its yearly facelift, as workers and local volunteers whitewash the exterior of the landmark.
It will take about a month to paint the palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in preparation for "Lhabab Duchen," which falls on Nov. 20 this year. "Lhabab Duchen" is believed to be the day the Buddha descended from the heavens and is one of four annual festivals celebrating important events in his life.
The Potala Palace was built by Tibetan King Songtsa Gambo in the seventh century and expanded in the 17th century by the Dalai Lama. It received more than 900,000 visitors last year.
The whitewash used is concocted using a traditional formula of milk, honey, sugar and lime, which has a distinctive sweet smell. Dozens of volunteers arrived on Saturday to help.
Painting of buildings on a regular basis is common in Tibet and a necessary protection against extremes of weather. Before "Lhabab Duchen," many monasteries and private houses also repainted.
For more than 40 years, Tsetop, a Lhasa resident, has participated in the annual whitewashing. He also donates milk to the palace for the paint.
The palace was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994.