Jokhang temple - Lhasa
The Jokhang is the first and most sacred temple in Tibet, the heart of the old Lhasa. It has been founded in the 7th century by the first Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo, and has been built in many stages, with major extensions and remakes in the 17th-18th centuries.

Every day a crowd of pilgrims comes to pray in front of the temple. The flagstones close to the main entrance are polished by the countinuous rubbing of thousands of pilgrims that prostrate stretching their body on the floor.

Around the Jokhang you can meet pilgrims coming from all the regions of Tibet, wearing their characteristic clothes, hats and ornaments. Here a couple rests in the winter sun sitting against the temple wall.

A crowd of pilgrims incessantly revolves (in clockwise direction) in the Barkhor, the prayer circuit (kora) around the temple. The most devout every few steps prostrate on the ground, wearing leather aprons to protect their clothes and wooden "gloves" to protect their hands.

In 1985 a large square in front of the Jokhang has been built, demolishing an entire quarter of hystorical buildings. The square is now constantly full of coloured people praying, meandering, chattering, resting, selling, buying.

In the picture, people are cutting fabric of the canonical five colours (blue, white, red, green and yellow) to make prayer flags.

Monks are chatting in front of stalls selling prayer flags.

Inside the Jokhang temple golden statues are glittering in the dark, lighted by hundreds of butter lamps. Sun beams from the roof windows cut the darkness and creates multicolour spots on the brocade ornaments covering the pillars.