The Jokhang Temple is located in Barkhor Square in Lhasa. It is considered the sister temple of Ramoche Temple. However, Johkang Temple is the most important temple in Tibet. The king Songsten Gampo built Jokhang Temple to welcome his Chinese wife, Princess Wencheng, a Buddhist from the Tang Dynasty, the union of the two connecting Tang China to Tubo Tibet.
Although today it is known as "Jokhang", meaning the "House of the Buddha", it was called the 'Tsuklakang' (Tsulag Khang), meaning "House of Religious Science" or "House of Wisdom" during the Bon period of Tibet. This term had various connotations. Tsuklak refers to the 'sciences,' like geomancy and astrology. Bon refers to the divination which formed part of the pre-Buddhist shamanistic religion. Now most Tibetans consider it the most sacred and important temple in Tibet. To some degrees, it is pan-sectarian, though presently it is under the control of the Gelug school.
The Johkang Temple is a must-see tourist attraction in Lhasa, along with the Potala Palace. It also serves as the spiritual center of Lhasa, and all Tibetan lands, including Kham and Amdo. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace".
Located in the center of Lhasa, visitors can go there on foot. If you stay in around old barkor, it takes 5-10 minutes. Public transport: Take 7 to 8, route 22, route 23. From the train station, take 89 arrived at the "Jiangsu road" station, get off and walk about 800 meters to reach there. Tricycle: Trishaw in town visiting, 4-10 Yuan.
Morning 7:00-12:00 Afternoon 15:00-18:30
The smoke from incense is everywhere, encompassing the sacred shrine with its divine smell. The holy temple (Jokhang) is crowded with faithful followers, both men and women, wearing traditional garb. Sounds of mantras for peace and prosperity are heard being murmured from the mouth of every faithful devotee throughout the sanctuary. The atmosphere is overwhelmingly Buddhist, evidenced by their strong mental and physical actions. Crowds of devout followers prostrate at the main entrance for the entire day and others prostrate around the holy temple, which takes two hours to complete just one circle around. The rest, spin the mantra wheels with one hand while the other hand spins prayer beads at the same time. On Bakhor Street one sees everything about Tibetans. Just sit on the corner and watch the spiritual movement.
There are four stories of the buiding, the roofs are covered with gilded bronze tiles. Basically, the architectural style is featured by its Indian vihara design, with a blend of Nepalese and Tang Dynasty styles. there is a rooftop statues of two golden deer flanking a Dharma wheel. The interior of the temple is a dark and atmospheric labyrinth of chapels. Each chapel is dedicated to various gods and bodhisattvas. Many votive candles illuminate them, thickening them with the smoke of incense. The third floor contains an image of Palden Lhamo, fierce protector of both Lhasa and the Dalai Lama.
The original elements remain after all the rebuilding of the temple. Carbon dating shows the wooden beams and rafters are original. Also, the Newari door frames, columns and finials date from the 7th and 8th centuries.
The Jokhang Temple lies on Barkhor Square, which is the center of the old section of Lhasa. It is the most famous place for a Pilgrim Circuit in Lhasa. It attracts thousands of pilgrims to visit the site. The pilgrims circle the temple, and making the route known as the "kora".
Apart from the strong Buddhist activities, there are also some fantastic shopping centers for travelers who like to buy original Tibetan made goods. The Tangka shop is located on the left side of the main entrance. A Tangka is a Tibetan Buddhist painting on cotton, or silk applique, usually depicting a Buddhist deity, scene, or mandala . The Tangka shop also provides some original hand made Tibetan handicrafts as well. Rickshaw shops are located along Barkhor Street with a variety of goods sold mainly by Tibetan shopkeepers who smile at anyone coming towards them. Shoppers should bargain, as all prices are negotiable. In addition to souvenirs, refreshments, like the popular sweet milk tea, is also available around the temple.
Most authentic restaurants can be found in the Barkhor, the place where most of the tourists gather. They include New Mandala Restaurant: west of Barkor Square; Lhasa Kitchen: 3 Zangyiyuan Lu/Mentsikhang Lam; Snowland Restaurant:4 Zangyiyuan Lu/Mentsikhang Lam; Nam-tso Restaurant: Banak Shol, 8 Beijing Donglu.
There are many big and small tea shops around Johkang Temple. Local Tibetans spend their leisure time there from the morning to the evening. You can spend just 1 Yuan to buy a cup of Tibetan sweet tea and stay there with local people and watch their life style of leisure.