Barkhor street in Lhasa - Tibet
Brief Introduction of Barkhor Street
Barkhor Street, a bustling and ancient round street surrounding the Jokhang Temple in the heart of old Lhasa city, is a must-see place for all those who travel to Tibet. Local people are very proud of this street since it serves as the Kora of Jokhang Temple for the pilgrims and the largest market place for travelers.
People will be impressed when they firstly get to Barkhor Street as it presents the original outlook of Lhasa city. Due to the holy Jokhang Temple, the street has been endowed with religious meaning. There are many pilgrims every day hold the prayer wheels to walk clockwise through the street, or even prostrate themselves, facing to the entrance of Jokhang Temple. The way they express their piety could make you understand the holiness of Tibetan Buddhism.
For the travelers, Barkhor Street is also a magical place to buy some local souvenirs, Tibetan knives, prayer wheels, long-sleeve "Chuba" (Tibetan people's traditional clothes) and some other religious articles. Numerous shops stand on both sides along the street and thousands of floating stands are on every corner, which makes the street become one of the largest markets in Tibet.
History of Barkhor Street
Barkhor Street is one of the most ancient streets in Lhasa city, which has a history of more than 1300 years. It is closely associated with the development of Jokhang Temple.
Since Jokhang Temple was built under the supervision of Songtsen Gambo - the first Tibetan King of Tubo Kingdom in the 7th century, the city Lhasa has become the religious center of Tibet. Lots of pilgrims came to prostrate themselves in Jokhang Temple, they needed to pass an alley to get to the temple, and that alley was considered to be the original Barkhor Street. After hundreds of years' development, many 18 family-style architectures were constructed around Jokhang Temple, to allow the pilgrims and businessmen lodge in when they visited the temple. Living quarters of Buddhists, religious academies and small monasteries, dwellings, and stores also sprung up like mushrooms.
With the improvement of the religious status of Jokhang Temple in Buddhism, people used to kora around Jokhang Temple to worship the statue of Sakyamuni. Hence, Barkhor Street became one of the three famous Kora streets in Lhasa. Later, a lot of businessmen, Buddhism followers and tourists from inland China, Mongolia, Kashmir, Nepal, Bhutan, India and some other countries collected here. Barkhor Street developed into a prosperous street which integrates religion, sightseeing, folk custom, local culture, business and shopping.