Flash Back Friday
TIBET – JOKHANG TEMPLE AREA
Welcome to Flashback Friday – Where we share previously published articles which were reader favorites. Hope you enjoy this Friday’s article, originally published in 2014
PHOTO TOUR – Jokhang Temple Area – Lhasa Tibet
The Jokhang Temple, considered to be perhaps the most important religious structure, sits in the heart of the Barkhor area of Lhasa. The neighborhood is a hustling, bustling center of social and tourist activity. But more importantly, it has been a center for Buddhist pilgrims to Lhasa since the 7th century.
Main Entrance to the Main Square in Barkhor. The open air square lies in front of Jokhang Temple which is at the east end of the square.
Barkhor Square and Jokhang Temple are a primary focus of worship in Lhasa. Pilgrims arrive not only from Tibet but all parts of the world, many prostrating themselves in prayer even as they enter the square.
Walking across the square to the main entrance of Jokhang Temple. The two tall poles are covered with prayer flags.
Prayer flag poles represent battle flags that have now become signs of peace. Rather paradoxically, there is a noticeable military and security force presence in the area. The square has been the focus of numerous demonstrations.
The interior of Jokhang is mostly dark, lighted by few external light sources, occasional bare bulb fixtures, and hundreds of flickering yak butter lamps. Every inch of the interior seems to be covered in icons, writings or brightly painted symbols.
From the main, rather dark, entrance you emerge into the main courtyard, or dukhang, which is actually quite small. From here you enter into the dimly lit interior complex which offers limited photo opportunities.
Outside the Temple, more and more pilgrims arrive to prostrate and pray at the Temple wall.
The Barkhor area is surrounded with vender stalls, providing for the needs of the pilgrims such as yak butter for burning candles, incence, and prayer flags.
The Barkhor area is pedestrian only. A series of streets / walkways encircle Jokhang Temple forming the pilgrimage circuit or KORA. It’s a place full of hustle and bustle with tourists and pilgrims walking the circuit -shopping, talking, and spinning their prayer wheels. Be advised – tradition is to walk the Kora counterclockwise.
A Buddhist Mandala. Frequently used as a meditation aid. Based on a pattern of circles and squares around a central focal point – symbolizing the universe.
A visit to The Barkhor and Jokhang Temple will be a high point of any visit to Lhasa, Tibet. It is the liveliest neighborhood in Lhasa, full of people, action, and color. Don’t rush your visit. Walk the Kora, visit the interior of Jokhang Temple, and spend some time soaking in the unique ambiance of this very special place.
Counterclockwise on the Kora …………….. And Enjoy The Adventure!
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© 2017, Bruce W Bean, Ph.D. All rights reserved.