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Home Travel in Tibet Magic Tibet Ⅳ-- Barkhor Street
Magic Tibet Ⅳ-- Barkhor Street
Travel in Tibet

Barkhor (bā kuò 八廓), also named as Barghor, is the oldest street in Lhasa (lā sà 拉萨). Located in the old area of Lhasa City, Tibet, Barkhor Street is a round street surrounding the Jokhang Temple (dà zhāo sì 大昭寺) and the Tibetan people are always proud of it. As a symbol of Lhasa, this street is also a must-see place for the tourists.

It was said that in the seventh century when Songtsen Gampo (sōng zàn gān bù 松赞干布), the first Tibetan King (zàng wáng 藏王) (617-650) who unified Tibet, married Chinese Princess Wencheng (wén chéng gōng zhǔ 文成公主) and Nepal princess Tritsun. Later Princess Tritsun built Jokhang Temple to accommodate the Jowo Sakyamuni aged 12 brought to Tibet by Princess Wencheng. Barkhor is the road which pilgrims tramped out around Jokhang Temple through centuries. Buddhist pilgrims walk or progress by body-lengths along the street clockwise every day into deep night. They comprise most of Lhasa‘s floating population. Careful visitors may find there are 4 columns, on which colorful scripture streamers are hung flying over the street. All pilgrims walk outside of them to show respect. The custom started in Tubo (tǔ bō 吐蕃) Period (633-877).

Handicraft Pictures
To the west of the north street of Barkhor, there is a juniper hearth, in front of which ceremony will be held annually to hail Maitreya (Buddha of the Future). Tibetans also pray before the hearth to expect fortune in the next year. A yamun, which used to be the office of Lhasa magistrate, squats nearby. A small lane northward nearby leads to a market, which has the longest history in Lhasa. There is a three-story temple, which was set up in the Tubo Period, and its pantheon still remains Tubo style after many renovations. It was said that Tibetan characters were invented in the temple.

Various Goods in Barkhor


For tourists, Barkhor Street is a magical place showing the original outlook of Lhasa. The street was paved by hand-polished stone boards. Though it is not broad, it accommodates thousands of tourists every day. Varied shops stand on both sides of the street and thousands of floating stands are on every corner. All kinds of fantastic commodities show us all aspects of the Various GoodsTibetan life. Such as: Copper Buddha, butter lamps, prayer flags with sutras, beads, Tibetan joss sticks, cypress, etc. Household goods in shops are in abundant, such as: cushion, Pulu, aprons, leather bag, harness, snuff bottles, steels, Tibetan-style quilts, Tibetan-style shoes, clasp knives, Tibetan-style hats, butter, butter pots, wooden bowls, Highland Barley Wine, sweet milk tea, milk residue, air-dried beef and mutton, Various Goodsetc. Most of them offer the prayer wheels, long-sleeve 'chuba' (the Tibetan people's traditional clothes), Tibetan knives and some religious articles for sale. Furthermore, some shops sell 'Thangka' (the Tibetan scroll painting), which is a unique art of Tibet with the themes of religion, history, literature, science and customs. Surprisingly, there are some articles from India and Nepal in this street as well. ChubaAll kinds of tourist products, cheap but good, can be found in the 1,000-meter-long street.

Barkhor Street not only boasts various kinds of Tibetan folk crafts catering to tourists, but also provides the necessities of Tibetan people’s daily life, such as bold-colored aprons, beautiful phula (a woolen cloth for making gowns), hand-woven carpets and rugs, Tibetan boots, and wooden bowls for drinking buttered tea.

To sum up, Barkhor Street is a place full of religious atmosphere and a world of exotic articles. If you have been attracted by it, you should go there. Believe your eyes, and you will get a lot of surprise there.


1. You should walk in a clockwise direction along the street.

2. It is better not stay too late in the street. Because there are many lanes there, it's easy to lose your way in the evening.

3. Different vendors may sell the same thing at different price. So you'd better ask several vendors and get more information of the articles. Of course, you should also know how to bargain with them.

4. According to the tradition of Tibet, the vendor will give a favorable price to the first customer and the last one in a day.

The Pilgrims in Barkhor Street