Covering an area of 360,000 sq. m, the park was first built in the mid-18th century and has been extended repeatedly before reaching its present size. The main buildings in the park are the Kelzang Potrang, Chensel Potrang and Takten Migyur Potrang palaces. The Takten Migyur Potrang is home to a rich collection of cultural relics. Particularly remarkable is a series of 301 murals, recording the course of history— from monkeys evolving into men, to Chairman Mao meeting with the Dalai and Panchen Lamas.
On December 14, 2001, UNESCO listed the Norbulingka as an extension of the Potala, officially entering it onto the World Heritage List. The Norbulingka is the biggest and most completely preserved classic garden in the world.