Intro: Barkhor Square
If this is your first time to visit the barkhor, you may enter from Barkhor Square. It is a large plaza built in 1985. The clockwise barkhor circumambulation is close to Johkang Temple, which is a permanent stea. There are totally four sangkangs (a stone building with a shape of pot-belly) in the Jokhang: behind the first two there are two joined enclosures, the other two are regarded as the rear of the Jokhang
Step 1: Barkhor Street
Barkhor Street, one of the Tibetan people's prides, lies in the ancient region of Lhasa City. This round street, enclosuring Jokhang Temple, has a long history and now is one of the city's symbols and a must-be site for tourists.
The grand scale of Jokhang Temple, which is said to be built by Songtsen Gampo, immediately drew millions of pilgrimages from the area. Those pilgrimages walked a path around the temple and that path is the original Barkhor Street. Now you can still see many pilgrimages walk clockwisely in the street, holding the prayer wheels. They can walk from morning till the night. Some of them move forward body-lengths by body-lengths. Some are only teenagers. Some have traveled thousands of miles before they get to the temple. All they do is to testify their piety to their beliefs, and from their acts, tourists can directly feel the strength of religion.
Step 2: Barkhor Street
Located in the old area of Lhasa City, Tibet, Barkhor Street is a very ancient round street surrounding Jokhang Temple and Tibetan people are always proud of it. As a symbol of Lhasa, this street is also a must-see place for the tourists. It's said that in 647, the first Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo (617 - 650) built 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. 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. The way they express their piety could make you understand the holiness of religion.
Step 3: Barkhor Street
But for those pure travelers who come here by thousand every day, the street can offer them with the most original scene of Lhasa. All the stone boards that paved the street are polished by bare hands. All kind of shops open on either side of the street and more floating stands are on each corner. The prayer wheels, long-sleeve 'chuba' (the Tibetan people's traditional clothes), Tibetan knives and some religious articles are most common in those shops, and some shops have 'Thangka' (the Tibetan scroll painting) for sale. Thangka is an art famous for its various themes from religion, history, literature to science and customs. In some of the shops, tourists can surprisingly find even Indian and Nepalese goods are available.
Step 4: Barkhor Street
Barkhor Street, a scared religious site and a shopping paradise, is a place for you to find surprise and fun. Some useful directions for the tourists
1. Walking clockwisely in the street;
2. Avoid stay late there for fear you get lost in its many lanes;
3. Asking several sellers before you buy an article for they would have different prices. Knowing some bargain skills is also useful.
4. Usually the seller will offer the most favorable price to the first and the last consumers of the day because this is the Tibetan tradition.