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Jokhang Monastery

--For most Tibetans the it is the most sacred and important temple in Tibet

Located in the Barkhor Market district, the spiritual center of Tibet, Jokhang Monastery (Or Jokhang Temple) is an example of the earliest architecture in Tibet. It was built in the 7th century by Tibetan King Songtsan Gambo for his two wives, the Tang Princess Wencheng and Nepalese Princess Bhrikuti. With an area of 25,100 square meters (about six acres), Jokhang Monastery is an exceptional Buddhist religious complex. It is a 4 storied building, with roofs covered with gilded bronze titles, demonstrates a combination of the architectural style of Han, Tibetan, India and Nepal, as well as a Mandala world outlook of Buddhism.

The roof of the Jokhang Monastery

The roof of the Jokhang Monastery

'Jokhang', the name of the temple, means the 'House of the Buddha'. Originally the temple was called the 'Tsuklakang' (Tsulag Khang) - 'House of Religious Science' or 'House of Wisdom' during the Bon period of Tibet. The term ' tsuklak' refers to the 'sciences' such as geomancy ,astrology, and divination which formed part of the pre-Buddhist shamanistic religion now referred to as Bon. It is more commonly known today as the Jokhang, which means the 'House of the Buddha'.

The Jokhang Temple complex has several decorated shrines and rooms. The main hall of the temple houses the Jowo Shakyamuni Buddha statue, perhaps the single most venerated object in Tibetan Buddhism. Besides this one, there are full of thousands of hundreds of Buddhist statues and images including the famous statues of Chenresig, Padmasambhava and King Songtsan Gambo and his two famous foreign brides, Princess Wen Cheng (niece of Emperor Taizong of Tang Dynasty) and Princess Bhrikuti of Nepal. So Jokhang Monastery draws thousands of pilgrims every day.

Jokhang Monastery

Jokhang Monastery

For most Tibetans the Jokhang Monastery is the most sacred and important temple in Tibet. Along with the Potala Palace, it is probably one of the most popular tourist attractions in Lhasa. On November 30, 2000, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee listed the Jokhang Monastery on the World Heritage List as a part of the historical assemblage of the Potala Palace.

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