Jokhang Temple is the first Buddhist temple in Tibet, and it is also the sacred temple of all Tibetan Buddhists. All year-round many Tibetan Buddhists go on a pilgrimage to Lhasa, from all over Tibet and other provinces, and their destination is the Jokhang Temple.
The Jokhang, or "House of the Lord," is the holiest site in Tibet and is the ultimate pilgrimage destination for Tibetan Buddhists. King Songtsen Gampo first built a temple here in the mid-7th century, but the structure that we see today is largely the result of reconstruction in the 17th century, commissioned by the Fifth Dalai Lama.
The walls of the first courtyard are lined with hundreds of votive lamps. This is the flickering doorway leading into one of Tibet's most intensely religious atmospheres. The first floor houses a series of chapels, each dedicated to a different deity, monk or king.
Behind the numerous sculptures, the chapel walls are covered in vivid murals depicting relevant sutra and historical narratives. A circuitous path between the labyrinthine chapels eventually leads you to the inner sanctum, daily used for worship. At its centre, behind rows of cushions, stand larger than life size statues of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
The Jokhang houses the Jowo Buddha, a Buddhist sculpture brought as part of the dowry of the Chinese Princess Wencheng upon her arrival in Tibet. The miraculous survival of this ancient Buddhist sculpture makes it today be one of Tibet's most revered images.
On any given day, one will be awed by the dozens of pilgrims bodily prostrating themselves before this entrance.
Location: central Lhasa
Transportation: As the Temple is in the downtown centre you can just walk there.
Ticket: CNY 85
Opening hours: 07:00 to 12:00, 15:00 to 18:30