Jokhang Temple

Jokhang Temple
The Jokhang Monastery is the oldest architecture in Lhasa and has a long history of 1400 years, lying at about 1000metres to the east of the Potala Palace. In 1961, it became one of the first groups of State cultural protection relic units. Facing west, it was built between AD 637-647 by King Songtsen Gampo as a shrine to store an image of the Buddha, and as the dowry of his wife Princess Bhrikuti. This Buddha image still stands inside. In the following centuries, Lhasa was the centre of political fights and witnessed destructions of the Jokhang Monastery. Since 1409 of the Ming Dynasty, the Jokhang Monastery has undergone successive renovations to form today's scale. The Monastery is the combination of Han, Tibetan, and Nepalese architectural techniques. Visitors will see sphinx and other weird and sacred sculptures.

Decoration on the Foof of Jokhang
The Monastery remains many invaluable cultural relics. The most famous and valuable one is the Jowo Sakyamuni aged 12, which is circumambulated by thousands of pilgrims day and night. On his sides, there are altars of Songtsen Gampo and his two wives who introduced Buddhism into Tibet. The murals in the main hall are also worth seeing, depicting the procession of Princess Wencheng arriving in Tibet and the building of the Jokhang Monastery while other murals tell Jataka stories. The gold bumpa upon which the reincarnations of Dalai Lama and Panchan Lama are decided, musical instruments brought into Tibet by Wencheng and other important stuffs are still kept here.

Jokhang Monastery is the spiritual center of Tibet. Everyday pilgrims from every corner of Tibet trek a long distance to this Monastery. Some of them even progress prostrate by body length to the threshold of the Monastery. Pilgrims fuel myriad of flickering butter lamps with yak butter, or honor their deities with white scarves (Kha-blags or Hada) while murmuring sacred mantras to show their pieties to the Buddha.

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