Jokhang Temple


Jokhang Temple is the favorite temples in Tibet for many Travelers.

Previous Travelers shared that they can feel tremendous energy inside the Jokhang Temple.

Jo is a shorter version of Jowo. Jowo meaning lord or master in Tibetan. The name Jowo is normally used for precious Buddha's and Bodhisattvas.

Khang means temple, chapel or a building.   

Jokhang Temple can be traced back to the 7th century 33rd King Srongtsen Gampo. 

The temple was built for the statue of the Buddha Shakyamuni at the age of 8th namely Jowo Akshobhya.

The Tibetan name of the statue is Jowo Mikyo Dorje.

The statue was bought to Tibet by the Nepalese Princess Brikuti.

History of the statue of Jowo Mikyo Dorje

In the legend, the history of the statue can be traced back during the time of the past Buddha in India (the 3rd Buddha ) Woesong Chenpo also known as Dipamkara and Marmezey. 

There was a king namely Tritri who was a great devotee of Buddha Dharma.

The king sponsored the constructing of the statue of Buddha Jowo Mikyo Dorje to flourished the Buddha Dharma during the present Buddha Jowo Shakyamuni's ( also the 4th Buddha ) time as a prophecy.

Photo: Statue of Buddha Shakyamuni 12 years old in Jokhang Temple 

History of another Statue during the time of King Tritri

Another statue bought to Tibet by the Nepalese Princess Brikuti was the Tritri Jampa. The statue of the future Buddha Maitreya ( the 5th Buddha ).

This statue of future Buddha Tritri Jampa also has the history back to the past Buddha Woesong and King Tritri in India. 

Tritri Jampa shrine is the main meditation deity of the King Tritri. 

Nowadays this statue of the future Buddha is inside the Jokhang Temple on the first floor after the main chapel of Buddha Shakyamuni shrine. 

History of Jhokang Temple during the 7th century

During the 7th century, Jhokang Temple was a lake namely Wotang Tso. 

Princess Brikuti asked the expert in architecture Princess Wencheng about where to build the temple for the statue of  Buddha Jowo Mikyo Dorje.

Princess Wencheng replied with the area where the Wotang Tso lake to be the most auspicious place to build the temple. 

Obstacles before building the Jokhang Temple

The Wotang Tso Lake was known to be the home of evil spirits so to remove the obstacles, Princess Wencheng threw her ring into the Lake and many miraculously happened including a stupa that appeared from the middle of the Lake as a sign of auspicious.

Another way to remove the obstacles is related to the white goats. The first soil on the Lake should be filled only by the white goat.

After many auspicious signs, the name of the temple became Rasa Trulnang Tsuklhakang.

Rasa means Goat and the soil.

Trulnang means Miraculous.

Tsuklhakang meaning: Temple.

In the present day, there is a Jowo Rama Karmo ( a face of a goat that appeared itself inside the temple ) as a blessing from the white goats.

Photo: Jokhang Temple Square

The specialties of the Jokhang Temple 

Jokhang Temple has three different special architectures.

  1. Pagoda-style golden roof with architecture design from the Tang Dynasty.
  2. Wall and wood paintings from Newari in Nepal. 
  3. Stone walls from local Tibetan style. 
  4. Jokhang Temple is facing towards Nepal into the west as a sign of respect for Nepalese Princess Brikuti. 

Jokhang Temple is full of precious statues from different regions in our world. 

Location of the Buddha Jowo Mikyo Dorje and present-day Jokhang Temple

Changes of circumstances during the 9th century in Tibet have let the statue of Buddha Jowo Mikyo Dorje in the Jokhang Temple be exchanged with the statue bought to Tibet by Princess Wencheng. 

At the present day, the main shrine of the Jokhang Temple is the Jowo Shakyamuni at the age of 12 brought to Tibet by the Chinese Princess Wencheng from Tang. 

The statue of Buddha Jowo Mikyo Dorje from Nepalese Princess Brikuti is at the Ramoche Temple. 

Even though they are fewer pilgrims in the Ramoche Temple, still Jowo Mikyo Dorje's statue is full of blessings 

Photo: Young Tibetan pilgrim girl prostrating near Bhakor street in Lhasa

Present-day Jokhang Temple

  1. Jokhang Temple is located around 1000 meters from the Potala Palace.
  2. There is a big square in front of the Jokhang Temple.
  3. There are two entrance gates and one exit gate. 
  4. Jhokang Temple is one of the only temples which has the statue of many great masters from different schools of Buddhism in Tibet.  Nyingma school, Kagyu school, Kadam school, Sakya school, Shiji school, Jonang school, and Gelug school. 
  5. The first floor is the main chapel of the statue of Buddha Shakyamuni at the age of 12th bought to Tibet by Princess Wencheng.
  6. The first floor also has many other Buddha's and Bodhisattvas with masters from different sects from the Buddhism in Tibet. 
  7. The second floor is the 8th manifestation of Maha Guru Padmasambhava and King  Srongtsen Gampo with his consorts. 
  8. On the third floor is the female protector Pelkhamo and the female frog face protector Betong's chapel. 
  9. Jokhang Temple is surrounded by bhakor street.

Photo: Inside the Jokhang Temple 

Few great masters who were at the Jokhang Temple before many centuries

  1. King Srongtsen Gampo 
  2. Princess Monsa Tricham 
  3. Princess Brikuti 
  4. Prince Wencheng
  5. King Trisong Deutsen 
  6. Maha Guru Rinpoche
  7. Maha Guru Jowo Je Atisha
  8. Maha Guru Sakya Pandita
  9. Maha Guru Ra Lotsawa
  10. Maha Guru Tsongkhapa 
  11. Maha Guru Drukpa Kunley

Legend story from the first Tibetan Pandit Sakya Pandita

Once when the great master Sakya Pandita visited the Jhokang Temple. On his arrival, the four guardian kings near the main chapel of Buddha were chatting.

Two of them at the south saw the master Sakya Pandita coming by so they immediately start being serious about their duty as they were shown in a duty face but the two others in the north didn't see master Sakya Pandita so they were seen smiling as a sign of chatting. 

Photo: Local Tibetan pilgrims in front of Jokhang Temple prostrating

Ugen head ornament offered by Maha Guru Tsongkhapa

The main statue of Buddha Shakyamuni in the Jokhang Temple is known as the Trulku ( meaning Gelong ) fully ordained monk form.

Later Maha Guru Tsongkhapa offered the Rig Nga Ugen head ornament and the statue became Longku meaning the completely pure Buddha form.


Jokhang Temple is one of the main sightseeing inside Lhasa. 

The temple is famous not only for Buddhist Travelers but also for non-Buddhist Travelers who have felt tremendous energy while visiting the temple. 

Local Tibetans will visit mostly in the morning for blessings.

For the local Tibetans from different villages in Tibet. When they visit Lhasa, if they didn't visit Jokhang Temple, they say it's similar to not visiting Lhasa so Jokhang Temple is very important for the Buddhist pilgrims. This is the home of Buddha in the heart of locals. 

We highly recommend Travelers to visit Jokhang Temple as one of the most important temples in Tibet. 

Thank you for reading Tibet Travelers' article on Jokhang Temple. 

Travelers can send us Emails regarding traveling to Tibet and visiting Jokhang Temple. 

Written By :Tenzin

Sep 02, 2018


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