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Jokhang Temple

Jokhang Temple

Jokhang Temple is located at the city center of Lhasa, Jokhang Temple (Chinese pinyin: Da zhao si) and is the first Buddhist temple in Tibet. It is considered as the most sacred and spiritual temple for Tibetans. Its fame equals to that of the Potala Palace and in 2000, it was also listed on the World Heritage List. “If you don’t visit Jokhang Temple when you are in Lhasa, it means you haven’t really been to Lhasa.” This is said by the Lama in Jokhang Temple and is confirmed by all tourists who have been to the temple.

With an area of 25,100 square meters, Jokhang Temple was constructed in 647 to celebrate the marriage of Tibetan King Songsten Gampo to Princess Bhrikuti from Nepal. During his reign he actively promoted Buddhism in Tibet and the Tibetan Kingdom at its golden era. Since its construction, it has been the holiest destination for Tibetan pilgrims for centuries.

Before, the Jowo Shakyamuni Buddha statue brought by Princess Wen Cheng of the Tang Dynasty when she married to King Songsten Gampo was placed at the Ramoche Monastery (Xiao zhao si). The Buddhist statue brought by Princess Bhrikuti from Nepal was put at Jokhang Temple. After the death of King Songsten Gampo, Princess Wen Cheng ordered the exchange of the two statues.

The Jokhang Temple is a timber complex with four stories with a golden roof. The architectural style of the temple is typical of the Tang Dynasty, as well as that of Tibet and Nepal. The Sakyamuni Buddha statue is in the middle of the main hall. This statue is a rare treasure and the most precious object in Tibetan Buddhism.

The Great Prayer Festival is celebrated from the 8th to the 15th day of the first Tibetan month at Jokhang Temple. During the festival, the monks from the Three Great Monasteries of Tibet (Sera Monastery, Dreprung Monastery, Ganden Monastery) assemble in front of the statue and debate fiercely on the Buddhist scriptures and hold religious examinations for learners of the Buddhist scriptures. Disciples from all over Tibet and China will come to worship the Buddha during the Great Prayer Festival.