In the City of Lhasa, Tibetans and Street by inland tourists call the two-kilometer-long quadrangle street surrounding the Jokhang Monastery Barkhor Street. “Barlhor,” in Tibetan means a circuit taken in a clock-wise direction. The area is unrivalled in Tibet for its fascinating combination of deep religiosity and the market economy.
This is both the spiritual heart of Lhasa and the main commercial district for local people. Early every morning scented smoke curls up at the gate of the Jokhang Monastery. Streams of Tibetans take turns performing the kowtow at the entrance. For many elderly Tibetans living in Lhasa, coming to the monastery every day is the most important part of their lives.
Built in the 7th century the Jokhang Monastery was renovated and expanded several times and has formed a 4-storey large complex.
The Jokhang Monastery is the home of the most precious Buddha images in Tibet, which were brought there by Princess Wencheng (?-680) of the Tang Dynasty, who was married to the great Tibetan king Songstan Gampo. In the main hall of the monastery is a set of murals showing the arrival of the Tang princess in Tibet. There are four incense burners in front of the monastery. Behind the first two are two enclosures. The larger one harbours the stump of an ancient willow tree allegedly planted by Princess Wencheng and an inscribed stele.
In 822, the Tang imperial court and the Tubo Kingdom formed an alliance aimed at keeping friendship forever. This alliance was engraved in the Han and Tibetan languages on a stone tablet, which still stands in front of the Jokhang Monastery in Lhasa.
UNESCO added the Jokhang Monastery in Lhasa to the List of World Heritage as an extension of the Potala Palace in December 2000.