Pritam Rohila Travels

Reports of my travels along with some pictures

Oct 30, 2010


June 1

Next day, we woke up to a chilly morning. It had rained at night. The sky was clouded.

And some of the surrounding mountains were covered with a fresh coating of snow.

For breakfast, we had to walk through an open court to reach another building. We had one of the poorest selections of items for breakfast. And it was difficult communicating with the table staff. They did not seem to understand English.After breakfast, we headed for Jokhang,

Tibet’s seat of theocracy, its most sacred Buddhist temple, and now a UNESCO World Heritage site. The temple houses a bejeweled statue of Buddha at age 12. At one time, more than 13 centuries ago, it was plastered over and kept buried in sand for 60 years, to protect it during an anticipated
Chinese (Tang Dynasty) invasion, which never came to be. Also, the temple contains many small chapels dedicated other Tibetan deities.

Located in the heart of the city, it was built in the 7th century by two queens, one a princess from China, and the other, a princess from Nepal. Since then, thousands of Tibetans have been paying homage here day and night, except for a few years during the Chinese Cultural revolution, when Red Guards ransacked it, and used it for various purposes, including as a pigsty.

Before and after the pilgrimage inside devotees wait around in the front court. Many prostrate themselves.

Insides the air is thick with the smoke and fragrance of incense and yak butter lamps. In semidarkness, devotees walk clockwise turning prayer wheels, muttering their ritual chants, and make their offerings to various deities.

The path around the temple is known as the Barkhor, the Tibetan Buddhism’s holiest pilgrimage circuit. Monks,

old people in wheelchairs and with canes, and

young couples with their children, walk clockwise along the circuit.

Lined with shops, which overflow with items of devotional and tourist interest, this area is the best in Lhasa for shopping as well as for gringo-watching.

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