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Barkhor Street

* The busiest street in Lhasa. 
History: from the 7th century
Distance from downtown: 0Km / 0Hours Drive 
Entrance fee: 0 
Open Hours: All day
* Address:  city center   
* Best visiting time: All year around

The Barkhor Street
The Barkhor Street
The Barkhor Street
The Barkhor Street
The Barkhor Street
The Barkhor Street
The Barkhor Street
The Barkhor Street
The Barkhor Street
The Barkhor Street
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The Barkhor is an area of narrow streets and a public square located around Jokhang Temple and is the oldest street in a very traditional city in Tibet. It is a place where Tibetan culture, economy, religion and arts assemble and a place to which a visit must be paid. It has been said that in the seventh century Songtsen Gampo, the first Tibetan King (617 - 650) who unified Tibet.

“Barkhor” in the Tibetan language means a circular route. So Barkhor Street, as indicated by its name, is a circular road. Barkhor Street is not only a religious center, but also a business center, a major market, and a commodity collecting and distributing center. The one-km-long street is lined with shops and stalls. From religious objects to daily necessities, commodities of all kinds and from all parts of the world are on display here. There is endless bargaining in this street. What is unique is that a seller's final price is called a "pledged price." This means that the seller makes a pledge to the Buddha that he is honest and it is the last price he can afford.

The Barkor was the most popular devotional circumambulation for pilgrims and locals. The walk was about one kilometer long and encircled the entire Jokhang, the former seat of the State Oracle in Lhasa called the Muru Nyingba Monastery, and a number of nobles' houses including Tromzikhang and Jamkhang. There were four large incense burners (sangkangs) in the four cardinal directions, with incense burning constantly, to please the gods protecting the Jokhang. Most of the old streets and buildings have been demolished in recent and replaced with wider streets and new buildings. Today even still many pilgrims hold the prayer wheels to walk clockwise there from dawn to dark. Also you can see some pilgrims walking or progressing body-lengths by body-lengths along the street. Even some of them are teenagers or have experienced thousands of miles' walk to reach this sacred place.

For tourists, Barkhor Street is a magical place showing the original outlook of Lhasa. The street was paved by hand-polished stone boards. Though it is not broad, it accommodates thousands of tourists every day. Barkhor, the sacred pilgrim path, is also a marketplace where shaggy nomads, traders, robed monks and chanting pilgrims join together. All kinds of fantastic commodities show us all aspects of the Tibetan life. Clustered shops and stalls sell printed scriptures, cloth prayer flags and other religious vessels, jewelry, Tibetan knives, ancient coins and other Tibetan relics

Travel Tips:
  • You should walk in a clockwise direction along the street.
  • You’d better not stay too late in the street as there are many lanes. It’s easy to get lost in the evening.
  • Different vendors may sell the same thing at different price. So you'd better ask several vendors and get more information of the articles. Of course, you should also know how to bargain with them.
  • According to the tradition of Tibet, the vendor will give a favorable price to the first customer and the last one in a day.

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