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Jokhang Temple & Yangpachen

The holy Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet

 Jokhang Temple

Located in the center of the old Lhasa, Jokhang Temple is indeed the spiritual center of Tibet. Since it was constructed by King Songtsen Gampo in  647AD, Jokhang Temple is the oldest temple in Tibet and as such, it has held many significant political and religious events of Tibet over the centuries.

When King Songtsen Gampo married a Nepalese Princess, and later a Chinese Princess, they both introduced Buddhism into Tibet. The Chinese Princess, Wen Cheng, brought a sculpture of Sakyamuni aged 12 while the Nepalese Princess brought a sculpture of Sakyamuni aged 8. Both of the sculptures are invaluable as they were both carved according to Sakyamuni's appearance whilst he was still alive. In order to house and preserve these holy sculptures, Jokhang Temple was ordered to be built. The sculpture of Sakyamuni aged 12 is still well preserved in the Main Hall of Jokhang Temple.

Prayer Wheels in Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet

Jokhang Temple also treasures many other culture relics: The Monument recording the alliance between Tibet and China still stands in front of Jokhang Temple; murals describing the entry of Princess Wen Cheng and the construction of Jokhang Temple are about 1,000 meters long; two thangkas, portraying Yamantaka and Chakrasamvara from the Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644) still remain, and are in perfect condition. The golden vase upon which the reincarnations of Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama are decided is also to be found here.

Every year, millions of pilgrims make a long pilgrimage to this most holy of places. The famous Barkhor Street was initially the way on which the pilgrims prostrated themselves and crawled around Jokhang Temple. Today, Tibetan people still follow this custom, moving clockwise around Jokhang Temple every dawn and dusk.

Admission Fee: CNY 70
Note: Free entrance from Feb. 1 to Apr. 30, 2018.
Opening Hours: 09:00 to 18:00
Recommended Time for a Visit: Two hours
Bus Route: The temple is in the downtown area, so you can just walk there.

Located in the basin on the foot of Mt. Nyainqentanglha, 87 kilometer (54 miles) north of Lhasa, Yangpachen boasts its hot springs. It covers an area of more than 7, 000 sq meters (about 1.73 acres), and visitors will be amazed by special wonders here. The water temperature of some springs is so high that it will even cook fish. Visitors can also put eggs, noodles into the springs and enjoy the delicious food. There is a fountain spurting liquor of alkali; a spring tastes like vinegar; a hot lake as big as 20 basketball courts; and even a ravine full of crystal Sulphur! Visitor can also swim in some pools to relax and cure many ailments.  

A power plant built in 1977 utilizes the naturally occurring geothermal energy to provide electricity for Lhasa. The most beautiful time is the early morning at Yangpachen, because the cool air is always infused with the misty white vapors emanating from the hot springs. Its natural wonders and picturesque scenery attracts more and more tourists every year.