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Jokhang Temple

Jokhang Temple Facts
Location: Barkhor Street, Chengguan District, Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region, China
Chinese Pinyin: Dàzhāosì (大昭寺)
Type: Religious Sites, Sights & Landmarks
Built in: Tang Dynasty (618 - 907)
Construction Style: Tang, Tibet, and Nepal styles
Area: 25,100 square meters (about 6 acres)
Opening Hours: 09:00am ~ 6:00pm
Entrance fee: ¥ 85 per person in the peak season (4.21-10.19) /¥35 in low season (10.20-4.20)
Best Seasons: Summer/Autumn
TEL: 0086-891-6323129
Recommended Visiting Time: 1~2 hours

The Johkang Temple
The Johkang Temple
The Johkang Temple
The Johkang Temple
The Johkang Temple
The Johkang Temple
The Johkang Temple
The Johkang Temple
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The History of Jokhang Temple

Historically, the Jokhang temple was built to house a statue of Jowo Sakyamuni, which was a dowry brought by the Nepal Princess Bhrikuti  - the first wife of King Songtsem Gampo (617 – 650, the 33rd king of Tibet). During King Songtsem Gampo’s reign, Tibet gains a great achievement in developing the economy. In order to promote a friendly relationship with the neighboring countries, he successively married two princesses: Princess Bhrikuti of Nepal and Princess Wen Cheng of the Tang Dynasty. As part of the dowry, each of the two princesses brought a statue of Jowo Sakyamuni. To house the Buddha brought by Princess Wen Cheng, King Songtsem Gampo constructed the little Jokhang temple. Before long, King Songtsem Gampo built a Jokhang for Princess Burikuti to house the statue she brought.
In the late 7th century, Jokhang Temple was badly destroyed by followers of the Bon religion. These followers strongly objected to Buddhism and destroyed a lot of Buddhist temples. To protect the Jokhang temple from the destruction, the statue of Sakyamuni Buddha was buried under the ground of Jokhang Temple.

Architectural Structure of the Jokhang Temple

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.

Architectural Structure of the Jokhang Temple
Architectural Structure of the Jokhang Temple

The Kora of Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, Tibet

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.

The Kora of Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, Tibet

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.

The Highlights of Jokhang Temple 

In Jokhang temple, there are many places worth sightseeing. Here we will give you a list of highlights of Jokhang temple.

Top 1. Visit the priceless life-sized sitting Sakyamuni statue.

Sitting in the center of the hall is a life-sized sitting statue of Sakyamuni, the oldest and most sacred statue in the eye of Tibetan people, brought by Princess Wen Cheng from Chang’an in 700 AD.
life-sized sitting Sakyamuni statue
Life-Sized Sitting Sakyamuni Statue

Top 2. Tibetan New Year Celebration

The first week of the first lunar month is a particularly colorful time to be in Lhasa. Prayers ceremonies take place at the Jokhang temple. During these days, a lot of Tibetan people wear traditional Tibetan costumes come to the temple for worship and thousands of monks come to perform colorful religious activities in and around the Jokhang.
Tibetan New Year Celebration  in Jokhang Temple
Tibetan New Year Celebration in Jokhang Temple

Some Travel Tips for Jokhang Temples

For visitors, there are some useful travel tips for you to refer to.

  • In the morning (8:00am - 11:30am), it's only open to religious people. From 11:30 to 17:30, it's open to tourists but some chapels will be closed in the afternoon. You are strongly suggested to arrive at 8 am to watch the pilgrims perform their devotions, and then visit the interior in the afternoon. 
  • You’d better learn more history and culture of Jokhang Temple before visiting it, since the entrance fee is high - ¥85 per person. 
  • It is forbidden to take photos or videos in this temple without prior permission. You are allowed to take photos in the square and golden roof.

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