Jokhang – Tibet’s First Buddhist Temple

Finally, the last stop for Day 2. The entire tour group seems to be on a super fast track course on all things Tibetian. I am physically exhausted and I sincerely hoped that dinner will be good….btw lunch sucks too…

The Jokhang Temple is the first Buddhist temple in Tibet, located on Barkhor Square (a great shopping street not to be missed) in Lhasa. It was built during the reign of King Songsten Gampo (605-650 CE) to celebrate his marriage with Chinese Tang Dynasty Princess Wen Cheng, who was a Buddhist. For most Tibetans it is the most sacred and important temple in Tibet.

Picture taken withour guide Xiao Gu in the middle of Barkhor Street
Picture taken with our guide Xiao Gu in the middle of Barkhor Street

Received quite abit of rude stares from local Tibetians, they pay respect with their forehead but I actually touched wth my butt...my fault, sorry Tibetians ...:(
Received rude stares from Tibetians, they pay respect to the structure with their forehead but I actually touched wth my butt...my fault

Main entrance of the temple
Main entrance of the temple

The lives of Tibetians revolved around Buddhism and many Tibetians believed in making long-distance prostrating pilgrimage of minimum 10,000 prostrations from their respective home village to Jokhang Temple once in their lifetime. An example of prostration can be seen in the video below:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiFva7JvNVY&feature=related]

Unfortunately, harsh tibetian climate and insufficient rest coupled with lack of food, water and medical care lead to a significant numbers of deaths on the journey. However, all is not lost for these ill-fated pilgrims. Future pilgrims passing by will extract a tooth from the remains and carry it with them as they perform their long-distance prostrating pilgrimage to Jokhang Temple. Once the pilgrim reach the temple, he / she will deposit the tooth on one of the main pillars supporting the temple signifying that the deceased pilgrim has fulfilled his / her pilgrimage to the holy temple.

‘What happen to the rest of the body?’ Nothing more was mentioned by the tour guide and the tour group was more than happy to leave it as that.

Interior courtyard of the temple
Interior courtyard of the temple

You can actually see the Potala Palace from the temple roof top platform
You can actually see the Potala Palace from the temple roof top platform

It’s a pity that tourists were not allowed to take photos of the temple’s interiors where they house the Buddha statues. I suppose you have to visit Tibet to see it for yourself.

Ok, I am going for my massage and hopefully dinner will be good….

You may also like to check out my posts on other exciting travel destinations here

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