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Shoton Festival (August) is the great opera festival. In ancient times, pious folk went to mountain hermitages to do penance. On the last day of this ritual time, they were served a meal of yogurt and entertained with folk songs and dances. Since the seventh century, opera performances have been held for several days at a time in Norbulingka. Presently, opera contests last for seven days.It is held near the Norbulingka means "Jeweled Garden," a fitting title for this 250-year-old park built near a medicinal spring in the western suburbs of Lhasa. It began as a summer palace for the Dalai Lama, but was soon expanded to include space for the whole governmental administration. The entire park has more than 370 rooms of different sizes. Lawns are shaded by green trees and embroidered with various flowers. Given the landscaping of flowers and trees around the medicinal spring, Norbulingka is also known as "the park within the park."