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Jokhang Temple

An Introduction to Jokhang Temple

Originally built in 647 AD by the King Songtsan Gampo, the Johkang Monastery is suited in the centre of old Lhasa city. For centuries, it has been the spiritual centre of the locals and the holiest destination of pilgrimage, covering an area of over 25,000 sq meters. The four-story construction whose roofs are covered with gilded bronze tiles is a superb epitome of architectural styles of Nepalese and Tang Dynasty. Apart from the magnificent construction, the Jokhang Monastery also possesses a wide multitude of metal sculptures, as well as thousands of painted scrolls known as Thangkas. The oldest and most precious object-a sitting statue of Sakyamuni when he was 12 years old, carried to Tibet by Princess Wen Cheng is preserved in the central hall. You may witness the pilgrims circumambulate the temple as a part of pilgrimage.

Located in the centre of old Lhasa city, the Johkang Monastery is a prime seat of the Gelugpa (Yellow) of the Tibetan Buddhism. It was original built in 647 AD. It is said the site was chosen personally by the wife of King Songtsan Gampo, the Tang Princess Wen Cheng. It was built by craftsmen from Tibet, China and Nepal and thus features different architectural styles. The Jokhang is the spiritual centre of Tibet and the holiest destination for all Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims.

In the central hall is the Jokhang' s oldest and most precious object-a sitting statue of Sakyamuni when he was 12 years old. This was carried to Tibet by Princess Wen Cheng from her home in Chang' an in 700 A.D. It is a gilded statue adorned with many jewels, in an elaborate setting. Pilgrims have prostrated themselves in front of this statue for centuries.

In front of the Jokhang stands an old and withered willow tree said to be planted by Princess Wen Cheng. In front of the willow is a 3 meters high pillar, which is a treaty stone recording the alliance between the King of Tibet and the Emperor of China in 823 A.D.

The third roof level of the Jokhang offers splendid views of the Barlchor Streets across to the Potala Palace. The golden roofs are superbly crafted with many birds, beasts, bell and other intricate figures.   Every Tibetan New Year, which falls some time between January to March, according to the Tibetan Calendar, the Jokhang hosts the "Great Prayer Festival". This festival was first celebrated in 1409 under the leadership of Tsong Khapa, and has been held annually since the time of the 5th Dalai Lama. During the festivals, thousands of monks come to perform colorful religious activities in and around the Jokhang, and there is much celebration throughout Lhasa.

Lamas of Jokhang Monastery chant sutras at night, it is worth listening. Guides are not enough in the monastery and only serve for tourism groups. The life-sized statue of Sakyamuni aged 12 is the most scared statue in the eyes of Tibetan people.

At 14:00 novice monks meet on the balcony of the second floor to debate religious doctrine Evaluation:"No one will go to Tibet without visiting the Jokhang Monastery." The famous Lama Nimaciren of the Johkang Monastery said, and each tourist will agree with his remarks.

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