Located in the old city of Lhasa, Barkhor Street is famous for its pilgrim circuit and lively market. With a history of more than 1300 years, the historical site now is the most prosperous shopping street around the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa and the most popular bazaar among travelers. Barkhor Street is about 1000 meters in circumference. In the beginning, there was just a pilgrim circuit, after centuries of development, the ancient street has become a large area of old buildings surrounded the Jokhang Temple.
In the 7th century, Songtsen Gampo who was the most powerful king of ancient Tibet gave an order to build the Jokhang Temple, around which four palaces were under construction at the same time. These palaces where Songtsen Gampo and his concubines lived were the oldest buildings in Barkhor Street. After the Jokhang Temple was finished, a great many pilgrims came and gradually trod a path around the temple. This is the embryonic form of Barkhor Street. About 18 family-owned buildings which provided board and lodging to pilgrims and traders were set up later around the Jokhang Temple. The old street had gradually stepped into a new stage.
The Jokhang Temple had become the center of Buddhism in Lhasa from the 15th century. Many Buddhists moved there for their beliefs. As a result, numerous Buddhist buildings such as dorms for monks, religious schools, and small temples were founded beside the Jokhang Temple. Also, a large number of folk houses, shops, hotels and hand workshops had been opened up to the visitors. With the rise of the states in Buddhism, The Jokhang Temple became more and more important to Buddhists, many of which held that pilgrims should move around the holy temple in clockwise to pay respects to the golden statue of Sakyamuni inside the monastery. In the following centuries, many traders and pilgrims from Mongolia, Mainland China, Kashmir, Nepal, Bhutan, India came and settled there. Today Barkhor Street has been a combination of religion, sightseeing, culture, business, and shopping.
Barkhor Street preserves the original style of the old city of Lhasa. The road of the street is paved with stones polished by hand. The old buildings on the two sides of the road are well kept. There is a large censer which is cloaked in incense day and night in the center of the street. More than 120 shops of handicrafts and 200 stalls which sell more than 8000 kinds of local specialties are located there. You can find the most representative things in Tibet like the figure of Buddha, prayer wheel, Tibetan knife, highland barley wine, and Thangka. Besides, some goods from India, Nepal, Burma, and Kashmir could also be found there.
A highlight that should not be missed in Barkhor Street is Makye Ame, which is a two-layer building and the sixth Dalai Lama ever lived here. According to the legend, this talented romantic poet walked all over Tibet to search for the Supreme Tara. One day, he was sitting in a bistro when a beautiful maid opened the curtain of the bistro to look inside, this is the beginning of the moving love story.
Barkhor Street is an epitome of Tibet from ancient times. As one of the most distinctive and attractive blocks in China, the old place is more and more popular for worldwide travelers.
Chengdu-Lhasa train (No. T22/T23) is absolutely the great bridge connecting the east and west of China. It covers 3360km which is full of incredible views, such as the fruitful plain, snow-capped mountains, endless grassland, desolate desert, etc. After around 41:31 hours, you will finally arrive in Lhasa and start an essential sightseeing tour.
In 2-day memorable tour in Xi’an, you can feel the profound Chinese history at the scenic spots. In the train to Lhasa, you will see lots of stunning views. When you arrive in Lhasa, you will visit Buddhism monasteries, holy lakes and Everest Base Camp, where's the closest place to touch the sky.
The trains from Guangzhou takes around 53hrs to cross 4,980km to reach Lhasa. As the longest train route from south China to Tibet, you will have a great chance to see the charming scenery in 7 provinces of China.
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