Jokhang Temple (Dàzhāo Sì, 大昭寺) is the most important and sacred temple in Tibetan Buddhism and a key center of pilgrimage. The symbolic power of the site has made it one of the most politically sensitive spots within the Tibetan Autonomous Region.
Founded in 647 during the reign of Tibetan ruler Songstän Gampo, this temple was initially constructed to house the Jowo Sakyamuni, a sacred image of the 12-year old Buddha. Located in the temple's main hall, this is the most revered Buddha statue in Tibet.
The four-storey temple is located on the Barkhor Square and is a mix of Han, Tibetan and Nepalese architecture. Despite numerous renovations, original parts of this 1,300 year-old temple still exist.
The temple houses a labyrinth of chapels as well as a large collection of statues and thangkas— painted scrolls depicting themes from Tibetan Buddhism.
Scarlet-robed monks can be seen chanting within the darkened interior, while devout pilgrims prostrate themselves on the ground and circumambulate the temple.
Spectactular views of Lhasa can also be seen from the temple's golden roof, with Potala Palace looming in the distance.
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