Barkhor

Lhasa, China

The perfectionist in you will sing to the heavens when you see the neat swarm of people going in a smooth clockwise direction around the Jokhang Temple. We’re only half kidding and you can go the other way! But thanks to the devout pilgrims that have been visiting for over 1000 years, a path around the Temple was carved and solidified over the years to make Barkhor street as wonderfully circumnavigable as it stands today in Lhasa, China.

It is easy to reach Barkhor street. Simply take one of the public buses to Lugu or Cuomeilin station and walk 5 minutes to arrive there. Ideally, you can combine it with a visit to Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple, both of which are must-see stops in Lhasa. But even on its own, the place has much to offer visitors. However, because of the many narrow lanes and side alleys connected to this street, it is easy to get lost. So, it is advisable to keep your visit to day light hours.

The first thing that hits you when you set foot on Barkhor, is that though the street is narrow, yet it is swarming with people. The side of the streets are mostly lined with vendors and shops selling all manners of goods ranging from Tibetan knives to dried meat. But you must be ready to stop at several shops and haggle to get the best bargains on your preferred purchases! Keep in mind that the knives cannot be taken on board a plane and you must post them to get them at your destination out of Lhasa.
The religious devotees are another sight to behold. Believers, young and old, from far away places come here for a pilgrimage. You can witness them, especially in the early morning and at night, spinning the prayers wheels and going around the temple to worship the sacred Buddha within. Their devotion (and the prostration they do with every step they take!) always leaves quite an impression on tourists.
Makye Ame Restaurant on Barkhor does not only serve good food, but also comes with a good helping of back story. It is famed for being the place where the 6th Dalai Lama met his lover. Accordingly, it has a romantic ambience that is lent to it by the paintings and handicrafts. The roof offers great views of Barkhor itself. Other shops worth visiting include a Thangka craft store selling elaborately painted wall hangings and a store selling Buddha statues.

However, when shopping gets you tired and down, you have a wide selection of food to help you fuel up. The local Tibetan food has intense flavor and isn’t for everyone. But if you’ve travelled all the way to Tibet, might as well give their dishes a go, which include dried Yak meat and buttered tea among other specialties. Though if you aren’t feeling all too adventurous there is palatable Sichuan (the famous hot pot) and even Nepalese and Western food available to satisfy your hunger.

Other Attractions In Lhasa