Barkhor Street(Ba Jiao Jie) [八角街]

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The Barkhor is a pilgrimage circuit that winds around the Jokhang Temple in the heart of the old quarter of Lhasa. Lined with shops and market stalls, it is a place where Tibetan religion, culture, commerce and art meet – an essential reference point and scenic sight for tourists and a profoundly important destination for Buddhist pilgrims. Day and night, worshippers can be seen making the clockwise devotional circuit of the Jokhang along the Barkhor, praying and spinning prayer-wheels, many of them prostrating themselves repeatedly as they go. Pilgrims purchase fragrant herbs and juniper branches to burn in the tall incense burners which stand at many points along the way.

To the west of the north street of Barkhor, in front of one of these juniper hearths, the annual ceremony to hail the Maitreya (Buddha of the Future) is held. Tibetans stand before the hearth to pray for good fortune in the coming year. A small lane leads northward to a nearby market, the oldest in Lhasa.

Shops and stalls sell printed scriptures, prayer flags and devotional items, as well as jewelry, Tibetan knives, ancient coins and other relics.

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