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Barkhor Street in Lhasa Tibet

Time: 27-02-2019 This Article is Composed by BudgetTibetTour

Barkhor Street in Lhasa Tibet

Located in the old quarter of Lhasa, Barkhor Street is a famous pilgrimage and commercial center in Lhasa. Barkhor, means "middle circumambulation" in Tibetan language. The original street is just a circumambulation around Jokhang Temple, and the Tibetans call it "Sacred Road." It is now expanded into a large old-fashioned block around the Jokhang Temple. The street is centered on the Jokhang Temple and takes on a shape of cirlcle, with a length of about 1,000 metres. The streets are dotted with Tibetan buildings, shops and sales booths on either side.

Barkhor Street was constructed simultaneously with the Jokhang Temple and then formed and developed with the pilgrimage towards the temple. It has a history of more than 1,300 years. Originally this area was a lake wetland, in the 7th century, Tubo Songtsen Gampo ordered the construction of the Jokhang Temple. At the same time, four palaces were built around the lake, where his concubines and subjects resided. He supervised the progress of the Jokhang Temple project in person. The four palaces are the earliest buildings in Barkhor Street. After the completion of the Jokhang Temple, it attracted many pilgrims to worship and gradually stepped out a path around the Jokhang Temple, which was the original Barkhor Street. Eighteen familial buildings have been established around the temple in succession, providing accommodation for pilgrims or businessmen who came Barkhor Street in Lhasa Tibet from afar to worship. After the 15th century, the Jokhang Temple became the center of Buddhism, dormitory rooms for monks, religious schools, and small temple buildings appeared successively. Many Buddhists sought residence around the Jokhang Temple. Since then, the associated service facilities, stalls, and workshops have gradually developed. With the deepening of the religious status of the Jokhang Temple, Tibetan Buddhism believed that the clockwise movement around the Jokhang Temple indicated that the worship of the image Buddha in the Jokhang Temple, thus the Barkhor Street became one of the three major circumambulations in Lhasa. Later, many merchants, pilgrims and tourists from Nepal, Bhutan, India, Mongolia, Han region, Kashmir and other countries and regions moved here. Barkhor Street gradually developed into a block with the integration of religious street, sightseeing street, folk street, cultural street, commercial street and shopping street. In 2008, Barkhor Street was named as one of the first 10 “ historical and cultural streets in China”.

There are many scenic spots and historical sites in the streets, including the Scripture Printing Lamasery, the relics of the Xide Temple, the Canggu nunnery, the mosque and other temples, and also Songzan Gambo Palace, the Buddhist debate forum of Tsongkhapa who was the founder of Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, and the residence of Thonmi Sambhota who was the creator of Tibetan script, the office where 84 grand ministers have stationed in Tibet, the former public security institution of Lhasa City and Langzixia prison. In addition, in the morning and evening, the Buddhists turned around the Jokhang Temple in a clockwise direction, becoming an important folk culture landscape.

Barkhor Street in Lhasa Tibet

There are hundreds of handicraft shops and sales stalls in Barkhor Street, providing religious items such as bronze Buddha image, prayer tube, butter lamps, prayer flags, scriptures, prayer beads, joss sticks, cypress branches, and articles for daily use such as card pads, blankets, aprons, leather bags, harnesses, snuff bottles, steel, Tibetan quilts, Tibetan shoes, Tibetan knives, Tibetan hats, ghee, butter barrels, wooden bowls, highland barley wine, sweet tea, milk dregs, dried meat, etc. and handicrafts such as thangka, paintings, handkerchiefs and Tibetan carpets as well as antiques, souvenirs from all over Tibet and other products with ethnic characteristics. In addition, there are also commodities from India, Nepal, Myanmar, and Kashmir. The main stores include Syamukapu, Makye Ame Restaurant, Land of Snow Thangka Craft Shop and Pandatsang and so on.


It is located on North Barkhor Street. An old antique shop founded by the Nepalese Bhaju Ratna Kansakarin the 1930s. The Syamukapu means “white hat” in Tibetan language, because the shop owner wore a Nepalese white hat all year round. At the beginning, it was a wool business in which the wool produced from various places was collected from Lhasa, and transported to Nepal to exchange candy and cloth. Later the first wool washing plant in Tibet was established in Lhasa. The first car on the Tibetan Plateau was transported into Tibet from the Himalayas entrance on the border between China and Nepal.

Makye Ame Restaurant.

Barkhor Street in Lhasa Tibet

It is an art bar located at the intersection of the southeast corner of Barkhor Street and Dongzisu Road. It is a small two-storey yellow-painted building, originally the secret palace of the Sixth Dalai Lama. The store name "Makye Ame" was taken from the Tibetan transliteration of "Unmarried beautiful maid" in the book On the Peak of the East. The walls of the bar are covered with paintings, photographic pictures and handicrafts. There are various Chinese-language Tibetan books on the shelves. The floor is covered with old Tibetan handmade carpets, surrounded by quaint clay pots, and the pillars are pegged with silk-printed Tibetan style pictures. It mainly offers Western-style meals and Tibetan drinks such as butter tea, sweet tea and yogurt.

Land of Snow Thangka Craft Shop

It is located on South Barkhor Street. The owner is 次旦朗杰. Built in 1996, it mainly deals with Thangka art. In addition to selling various Thangkas, it also recruits students who would learn Thangka.


It is a famous trade name of old Tibet. it is located in Bajiao South Street. It is the trade name of the Pangda Duogye family, a tycoon in the eastern part of Tibet who was mainly engaged in wool and valuable medicines. It has a wide range of business and has offices in Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Hong Kong and Calcutta.

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user portrait Mr. Ju*** from: 4 Days Lhasa Holy Landmarks Express

Hi, I plan to arrive in Lhasa on the 9th of March in 2020 by train and would like to do a 4 day tour. Unfortunately there are no tours scheduled between January and April, will there be tours added or are there not any planned?

Kind regards

Julian Franz

Answered by Helen

Hello Mr. Ju***,

    Thanks very much for your inquiry. We currently have no group tour in February and March, if you would like to travel Tibet in these months, we are able to arrange a private tour for you. While there are several confirmed departure date for the group tour in January and April, if your time is flexible, you may consider joining a group tour in April. I will send detailed itinerary to your email, please check it. Warm regards.

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