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Jokhang Temple

 

The Jokhang Temple(

大昭寺,dà zhāo sì in Chinese) is located in the heart of Lhasa's old town. It belongs to
Tibetan Buddhism and also a China's key cultural relic for protection and is listed into the world cultural heritage as an extended project of the Potala in November of 2001.The long history and locally popular legends have made it to have a very high reputation among Buddhist monasteries in Tibet.Excepts owning a sovereign position in Tibetan Buddhism, the Jokhang Temple is also a hot destination of Tours Lhasa Tibet accroding to the famous Lama Nyima cering's speech----Any one who travels in Lhasa without visiting the Jokhang Temple, then his Lhasa tour can not be counted. 
 
jokhang monastery

The Jokhang Tempole in Lhasa


History of the Jokhang Temple

The Jokhang Temple was built about 1,350 years ago (at the time of the Tang Dynasty) and it is the most splendid Tubo Period architecture which exists until now. Blending a style of Tibet, Tang, Nepal and India,the Jokhang Temple is a model of Tibetan religious building without any doubts. Most of Tibetan monasteries have their own representative temples, but the Jokhang Temple is the holy one which is worshipped by every Tibetan religious sects. From this point of view, we could conclude  that it is a place that must be visited.
 
jokhang monastery
 
 
 
As we all know, the Potala was built  for Tang's Wencheng Princess (niece of Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty) who married the first Tubo King Songtsen Gampo (松赞干布).In order to commemorate Songtsen Gampo's another wife Bhrituti Princess's coming from Nepaul, the king of Tubo  ordered to built it about 647 AD when Tubo Empire was at its pinnacle. With  the renovation and extension of the monastery decades by decades, the original Jokhang Temple formed an enormous complex which includes more than 20 halls now.
 
 
jokhang monastery
 
 
 
The wives of the king, Nepalese Bhrituti and Wencheng Princess are said to have brought invaluable Sakyamuni's  statues to Tibet as part of their dowries.Princess Bhrituti brought a statue  when Sakyamuni was eight  while Princess Wencheng brought a 12 years old one. There are only three statues of Sakyamuni with the real height in the world so that these two are very valuable. At present, the statue brought by Wencheng is housed in the Jokhang Temple and the other one is in the Ramoche Temple(小昭寺).
 
jokhang monastery
the 12-years-old statue of Sakyamuni in the Jokhang Temple 
 
Present Conditions of the Jokhang Temple

Today, the 25,100-square-meter Jokhang Temple was a result of frequent expansions during its history. The Jokhang Temple is four-story with roofs covered with gilded bronze tiles. The architectural style based on the Indian design and later extended resulting in a blend of Nepalese and Chinese styles. The rooftop statues of two golden deer flanking a Dharma wheel(双鹿法轮)are symbolic.

jokhang monastery

The rooftop statues of two golden deer flanking a Dharma wheel is the symbol of the Jokhang Temple.

Three versions of old folk legends about the Jokhang Temple


♦The first one is that the address of the temple was a fresh water lake initially, King Songtsen Gampo promised to a princess, who dropped a ring into the lake, to build a Buddhist monastery here. After the ring was dropped, the lake instantly displayed a grand network of brilliant light and erected a nine-level white pagoda. The temple-building project done by a thousand white goats had begun.

 

jokhang monastery
 

 



♦The second legend goes that the two princesses, Bhrituti and Wencheng, who were going to be the wives of King Songtsen Gampo, brought two Sakyamuni Buddha statues to Tibet as their most expensive dowries. The princess from Nepal brought the statue depicted the Buddha's eight years old while the Chinese princess was with one, which was a statue of Sakyamuni's twelve years old. Tibetan people thought that these Buddha statues were the earliest ones which entering the Roof of the World and thus worshipped with pious passion. The King Songtsen Gampo wanted to build Ramoche and Jokhang Temples, the earliest Tibetan Buddhist establishments.

 

jokhang monastery
 

 



♦Jokhang Temple devilish witch is the third legend. It was said that floods often happened during the construction of the Jokhang Temple, King Songtsen Gampo did not know why. Princess Wencheng told him that a devilish witch, to whom her heart was located in the lake and the water, was her blood, and her whole body was the entire Tibetan Plateau. Therefore, in order to build the temple successfully, they had to blow away her heart and fill the lake. The princess also recommended the king to build 12 smaller temples in remote, surrounding areas in addition to the Jokhang. This was to overwhelm the arms and joints of the devilish witch. And to fill the lake, they had to use about a thousand goats to carry sand and earth from the mountains, so the temple's foundation would have made.

 

jokhang monastery
jokhang monastery

 

 


a supine evil female indicating Tubo's terrain, Tibetan Museum

>>See Tibet Travel Guide Coverage

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