Potala Palace and reflection on the lake in front of it in Lhasa, Tibet

This day tour will take you to the most important places in Lhasa, and possibly, in the entire Tibet. Both are included in UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. These are must-see sites in Lhasa.

POTALA PALACE

White Palace in the Potala Palace

The Potala Palace was the seat of the Dalai Lamas since the 17th century. There are 999 rooms in the Palace and one cave. It was a seat of Tibetan government and a center of religious studies,

First, the guide will take you to the Chak Pori Hill to take photos of the majestic Palace. We will then go inside and spend approximately 1.5 – 2 hours inside the Potala. In the Palace, you will see many of its most famous artifacts.

JOKHANG TEMPLE

Jokhang Temple, view from the Barkhor Square in Lhasa, Tibet

Next we are visiting Jokhang Temple. It was built in the 7th century to display the Jowo Shakyamuni Statue – the statue of the 12-year-old Buddha before his enlightenment. The statue was created at the time when the historical Buddha lived. It is elaborately decorated with gold, jewels, and precious stones.

The building we see nowadays is the original 7th century building with many original elements. Later the Temple was enlarged and the courtyard appeared during the Tsongkhapa’s time (14th century).

The Jokhang temple was constructed on the Otang lake. According to the legend, thousands of goats carried soil to fill up the lake. To this day some can hear the sounds of the water. Newari artisans came from Nepal to work on the construction.

The 7th century king Songtsen Gampo married princesses from China and Nepal. Both princesses brought important religions objects into Tibet, including two statues of Buddha. Jowo Mekyo Dorje depicted Buddha at the age of eight, and Jowo Shakyamuni – at the age of twelve.

Originally, king Songtsen Gampo initiated construction of the Jokhang Temple to house a statue of Jowo Mekyo Dorje, the gift of his Nepalese wife. That’s why the Temple is facing West. Ramoche temple was built for the Jowo Shakyamuni statue, the gift of Chinese wife.

After king’s death, Tibetans moved the statue of Jowo Shakyamuni to protect it from Tang army. Since that time the statue remained in Jokhang.

BARKHOR STREET

View on Bakhor Street in Lhasa

Barkhor street (sometimes spelled Bakhor Street) is the most famous walking street in Lhasa. It is in the heart of the Old Town – the oldest part of the capital. Barkhor street is the pilgrimage route (called kora in Tibetan) around the Jokhang temple, therefore, you should walk there in a clockwise direction.

The street is not very long. It only takes 20-30 minutes to walk it. However, you will inevitably make many stops on the way to take photos, watch pilgrims who travel here from all around the country, visit some souvenir shops and take a break in one of the tea houses or restaurants. Many of Tibetans complete this kora doing prostrations.

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Potala Palace and reflection on the lake in front of it in Lhasa, Tibet