Barkhor Street

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The Barkhor is an area of narrow streets and a public square located around Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, Tibet, China.

Barkhor Street in Lhasa, Tibet
Barkhor Street in Lhasa, Tibet

The Barkor is a popular devotional circumambulation for pilgrims and locals. The walk was about one kilometre long and encircled the entire Jokhang, the former seat of the State Oracle in Lhasa called the Muru Nyingba Monastery, and a number of nobles' houses including Tromzikhang and Jamkhang.

Barkhor Street in Lhasa, Tibet
Barkhor Street in Lhasa, Tibet

There were four large incense burners (sangkangs) in the four cardinal directions, with incense burning constantly, to please the gods protecting the Jokhang. The Tromzikhang market is busy in Barkhor, and the area is a major tourist attraction.

Barkhor Street in Lhasa, Tibet
Barkhor Street in Lhasa, Tibet

Because the Jokhang Temple has been a symbolic center of Tibetan protest since 1987, the Barkhor has also seen many demonstrations. In 1989, when year the 14th Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize, pro-Dalai Lama residents threw tsampa around the Barkhor to celebrate.

Barkhor Street in Lhasa, Tibet
Barkhor Street in Lhasa, Tibet

Located in the old area of Lhasa City, Tibet, Barkhor Street is a very ancient round street surrounding the Jokhang Temple and the locals are always proud of it. As a symbol of Lhasa, it is also a must-see place for visitors.

Barkhor Street in Lhasa, Tibet
Barkhor Street in Lhasa, Tibet

It's said that in 647, the first Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo (617--650) built the Jokhang Temple. Due to its magnificence, it quickly attracted thousands of Buddhist pilgrims. As a result, a trodden path appeared. That is the origin of Barkhor Street.

Barkhor Street in Lhasa, Tibet
Barkhor Street in Lhasa, Tibet

Today even still many pilgrims hold the prayer wheels to walk clockwise there from dawn to dark. Also you can see some pilgrims walking or progressing body-lengths by body-lengths along the street. Even some of them are teenagers or have experienced thousands of miles' walk to reach this sacred place.

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