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The Jokhang Temple and the Drepung Monastery

The temple is located in the very center of the old city. Founded more than I 300 years ago, to Jokhang Temple, or Dazhousi as it is known in Chinese, is a mixture of Tibetan, Indian, Nepalese Chinese architecture. Only the great hall and the first two stories remain of the original temple, additions being made under the Yuan, Ming, and the Qing. It is one of Tibet’s holier shrines.

Above the entrance facade stand two gilded animal them a gilded prayer wheel supported by two gilded animals(goat). The external pillars are protected by dark wooden screens hanging from an overhead balustrade. Outside, pilgrims prostrate themselves before the temple at all times of the day.

Inside, there stands a gilded bronze statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha. Lavishly decorated it sits on a golden throne between pillars of solid silver. It is said to have been brought to Lhasa by the Chinese princess, Wen Cheng, in the seventh century when she married the king who first unified Tibet and pushed its border into Yuannan and as far as the outskirts of the Tang Empire. Other statues of the Buddha are to be seen, as well as statues of the king (Songzan Gansu) and his wives (one being the Tang princess, the other a Nepalese princess). There are over 200 statues in the temple, but you may not be able to see them all, because access to the other floors is sometimes restricted.

Drepung Monastery

The third famous site of Lhasa is the Drepang Monastery located six miles west of Lhasa. Standing on a high cliff, its many tiers learning into a steep mountain face, the monastery s built in traditional Tibetan style. Founded in 1416, it was one of the centers of the yellow-hat sect founded by Zongkaba, and became in its time he largest of the three great monasteries near Lhasa housing 10,000 lamas. Only a few hundred lamas live there now. The temples of the monastery are lavishly decorated with statues of the Buddha, of Zongkaba, and others of the Buddhist pantheon. There are some superb frescoes in the Great Hall and surrounding halls. The library used to house a priceless collection of old and rare sutras; it is not known whether they are still intact. The funerary pagodas of the second, third, and fourth Dalai Lamas are housed in the monastery. The monastery is open to worshipers.

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