Barkhor Street
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Barkhor Street

Update: Jan. 11th, 2013

Barkhor Street

Barkhor Street is located in the old city of Lhasa. It is a famous business center and circumambulation in Lhasa. It well preserved the traditional look of the ancient Lhasa City. It was originally a simple circumambulation street around Jokhang Temple. It expanded and developed into a large old quarter.

Barkhor Street – Brief Introduction

Barkhor Street is a polygon street composed of Barkhor Eastern Street, Barkhor Western Street, Barkhor Southern Street and Barkhor Northern Street. It enjoys a perimeter of about 1000 meters. There are many crossroads in the street. It has 35 streets and alleys.

Barkhor Street is the most bustling business street constructed around Jokhang Temple in Lhasa City. Barkhor Street was also named Bajiao Street. It is said that Sichuan people takes large proportion of the population of Lhasa, they pronounced Barkhor into Bajiao with their Sichuan dialect. Later, Bajiao Street in Chinese is widely used.

Barkhor Street – History

The development of Barkhor Street is closely associated with the development of Jokhang Temple. It has a history of more than 1300 years.

Jokhang Temple was constructed under the supervision of Songtsen Gambo – the first Tibetan King of Tubo Kingdom in the 7th century. Another four palaces were also constructed with Jokhang Temple at the same time. These four palaces are the oldest architectures of Barkhor Street.

A lot of pilgrims came to Jokhang Temple after it was completed and an alley was appeared with the passing of time. That alley was the earliest Barkhor Street. 18 family-style architectures were constructed successively around Jokhang Temple. The pilgrims and businessmen could lodge in these architectures.

Jokhang Temple became the communication center of Buddhism after 15th century. Living quarters of the Buddhists, religious academies and small monasteries were constructed around Jokhang Temple. A lot of Buddhism followers came to live around the monastery. Dwellings, stores, hotels and handicrafts workshops sprung up like mushrooms.

With the improvement of the religious status of Jokhang Temple in Buddhism, people used to circumambulate around Jokhang Temple to worship the statue of Sakyamuni. Hence, Barkhor Street became one of the tree circumambulation streets in Lhasa. Later, a lot of businessmen, Buddhism followers and tourists from inland China, Mongolia, Kashmir, Nepal, Bhutan, India and some other countries collected here. Barkhor Street developed into a prosperous street which integrates religion, sightseeing, folk custom, local culture, business and shopping.

Barkhor Street – Characteristics

Barkhor Street preserved the original look of the ancient Lhasa City. The street is paved by manual polished stones. There are ancient Tibetan style architectures on both sides of the street. There is a giant censer with exuberant incenses located in the center of Barkhor Street.

Numerous stores stand along Barkhor Street. There are more than 120 handicrafts stores and 200 stalls. More than 8000 local goods are available here, including copper Buddha, prayer wheel, butter-oil lamp, Buddhism scriptures, and some other religious goods. The Tibetan style Thangka and other local handicraft goods are also available here. There are also characteristic goods from India, Nepal, Burma, Kashmir and other countries.

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