Jokhang Temple
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Jokhang Temple

Update: Jan. 6th, 2013

Jokhang Temple

Jokhang Temple is located at the center of ancient Lhasa City. It was built by Songtsen Gambo in the 21st year of Zhenguan Period of Tang Dynasty and has a history of 1350 years. It was built for the two brides of Songtsen Gambo – Princess Bhrikuti of Nepal and Princess Wencheng of the Chinese Tang Dynasty.

Jokhang Temple is a Tibetan Buddhism monastery which has been listed as a national key protective cultural relic. It has been listed on the World Cultural Heritage Record as an extended project of Potala Palace. It is widely accepted that "if you didn't go to Jokhang Temple, you've never been to Lhasa".

Jokhang Temple – History

It is said that Jokhang Temple was built to worship the Statue of 8-year Sakyamuni (the founder of Buddhism). This statue was brought to Lhasa by Songtsen Gambo's bride - Princess Bhrikuti of Nepal. After series of expansions in history, Jokhang Temple covers an area of 25100 square meters. Remarkably, the Statue of 12-year Sakyamuni brought to Lhasa by Princess Wencheng of Chinese Tang Dynasty is worshiped in the monastery while the Statue of 8-year Sakyamuni was moved to Ramoche Monastery.

Jokhang Temple - Architecture

There is an old saying among Tibetans goes that Lhasa City was constructed after the construction of Jokhang Temple. Lhasa City centered on Jokhang Temple, geographically and socially. The street around Jokhang Temple is called Barkhor Street. The pilgrims would circumambulate the monastery as an important part of their pilgrimage.

Take a bird-view from the top of Jokhang Temple, tourists could see the Potala Palace stands on the far hill. The famous Princess Willow which said to be planted by Princess Wencheng is on the square. The main construction of Jokhang Temple is a four-storey building. The roofs are covered with gilded bronze tiles.

The distribution and location of Jokhang Temple is quite different from the Han Buddhism temples. There are buildings attached to the main construction of Jokhang Temple. There are chapels and memorial halls for important Buddhists (such as Sakyamuni) and Tibetan kings (such as Songtsen Gambo).

Jokhang Temple – Cultural Relics

There is a large quantity of precious cultural relics in Jokhang Temple, including various wood carvings, murals and Buddhism sculptures. There are about 800 metal sculptures and thousands of Thangkas (Tibetan painted scrolls). Some of the copper statues are extremely rare and precious since they were brought here from Kashmir, Nepal India in ancient times.

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