Jokhang Temple (Da Zhao Si) [大昭寺]

| 0 Reviews | RMB 70 CNY | | Attractions
  • Address:Barkhor Street, Lhasa
  • Getting there: Just walk if you are in the downtown area
  • Contact: 0891-6323129      
  • Opening hours: 9.00am to 6.00pm
  • Updated: Feb 14, 2011
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Description

Of all the holy places in Lhasa, the Jokhang Temple stands apart as the single most important pilgrimage destination for Tibetan Buddhists. It enshrines an object more sacred than almost any other Buddhist treasure: a statue of the Jowo Sakyamuni which was a dowry gift to the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo when he married the Chinese Princess Wencheng nearly 1,400 years ago. The original inner part of the temple forms one of the oldest wooden structures in the world.
The history of the building dates back to the time of Songsten Gampo (617-650 AD), who united Tibet and led his armies in a series of victorious battles. In 636 AD his troops surrounded the Tang Dynasty Chinese ca...

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Of all the holy places in Lhasa, the Jokhang Temple stands apart as the single most important pilgrimage destination for Tibetan Buddhists. It enshrines an object more sacred than almost any other Buddhist treasure: a statue of the Jowo Sakyamuni which was a dowry gift to the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo when he married the Chinese Princess Wencheng nearly 1,400 years ago. The original inner part of the temple forms one of the oldest wooden structures in the world. The history of the building dates back to the time of Songsten Gampo (617-650 AD), who united Tibet and led his armies in a series of victorious battles. In 636 AD his troops surrounded the Tang Dynasty Chinese capital of Chang An (now Xi' an). The Chinese emperor Taizong sued for peace, and a strategic marriage was arranged between Songsten Gampo and Taizong' s niece Princess Wencheng. Not long before, Songsten Gampo had also married Princess Bhrikuti of Nepal. Both of his brides brought with them a statue of the Sakyamuni, and the King ordered the construction of two temples to accommodate them: Bhrikuti' s gift was originally housed in the Jokhang, but after Songsten Gampo' s death, it was transferred to the Ramoche Temple, and the Jowo Sakyamuni, given by Princess Wencheng, was housed in the Jokhang. The original Jokhang complex included only eight shrines. After multiple renovations, most notably during the Yuan Dynasty (1206 - 1368), the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) and the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the complex grew to the scale that exists today. The temple is a four-storey timber complex with a golden roof, and contains elements of Tibetan, Nepalese and Chinese architecture and decoration. At its heart is the ancient main hall, dimly lit by flickering butter lamps. Around its inner walls are frescoes depicting the foundation and building of the temple. Much of the decorative work was carried out by Nepalese craftsmen, and this can be seen in the style of the carvings at the tops of the supporting pillars. Set into the walls are eight small chapels containing images of the Buddha. The Jowo Sakyamuni, which depicts the Sakyamuni at age 12, is in a special shrine at the rear of the hall. Its sacred status comes from the belief that this was one of only three such images approved by the Buddha himself. It has been gilded many times and decorated elaborately with jewels typical of Tibet. On the second floor are statues of King Songtsen Gampo, Princess Wencheng and Princess Bhrikuti.

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