* The center of Tibet Buddhism, the most religious place in Lhasa.
Jokhang Temple or Jokhang Monastery is located on Barkhor Square in Lhasa. It was built during the reign of King Songsten Gampo to celebrate his marriage with Chinese Tang Dynasty princess Wencheng.
The Jokhang temple is a four-story construction, with roofs covered with gilded bronze tiles. The architectural style is based on the Indian vihara design, and was later extended resulting in a blend of Nepalese and Tang Dynasty styles. The rooftop statues of two golden deer flanking a Dharma wheel is iconic. Jokhang's interior is a dark and atmospheric labyrinth of chapels dedicated to various gods and bodhisattvas, illuminated by votive candles and thick with the smoke of incense. Although some of the temple has been rebuilt, original elements remain: the wooden beams and rafters have been shown by carbon dating to be original; the Newari door frames, columns and finials date from the 7th and 8th centuries.
The Jokhang temple sits on Barkhor Square in the old section of Lhasa. The entire temple complex occupies approximately 25,000 square meters. Pilgrims circumambulate the temple as part a pilgrimage to the site. The circumabulation route is known as the "kora" in Tibetan and is marked by four large stone incense burners placed at the corners of the temple complex. After circumambulating the exterior, pilgrims make their way to the main hall of the temple which houses the Jowo Shakyamuni Buddha statue, perhaps the single most venerated object in Tibetan Buddhism.
There are also famous statues of Chenresig, Padmasambhava and King Songtsan Gambo and his two foreign brides, Princess Wen Cheng (niece of Emperor Taizong of Tang China) and Princess Bhrikuti of Nepal. Many of the statues were destroyed during the "cultural revolution" but have since been recreated – often including broken pieces of the original statues. A chapel to the south of the main hall houses many statues of various Bodhisattvas many in yab-yum pose.
For most Tibetans it is the most sacred and important temple in Tibet. It is in some regards pan-sectarian, but is presently controlled by the Gelug School. Jokhang Temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace," and a spiritual centre of Lhasa.