Located in the center of the ancient city of Lhasa, the Jokhang Monastery was built in the seventh century by Songtsan Gambo, the Tang Princess Wen Cheng and Nepalese Princess Bhrikuti. Its four story main building demonstrates a combination of the Han, Tibetan, Indian and Nepalese architectural styles, as well as a man-made world outlook of Buddhism. With the Hall of Amitayus Sutra as its center, the monastery symbolizes the nuclear to the universe. The Hall of Sakyamuni is the essence of the monastery.
Jokhang is the spiritual center of Tibet, the Holy of Holies, the destination of millions of Tibetan pilgrims. Unlike the lofty Potala, the Jokhang has intimate, human proportions, bustling with worshippers and redolent with mystery. The outer courtyard and porch of the temple are usually filled with pilgrims making full-length prostration towards the holy sanctum. Its innermost shrine contains the oldest, most precious object in Tibet——the original gold stature of Sakyamuni——the historical Buddha, which Princess Wen Cheng brought from Chang'an 1,300 years ago.
It was said that Nepal Princess Tritsun decided to build a temple to house the Jowo Sakyamuni aged 12 brought by Chinese Princess Wencheng. Princess Wencheng reckoned according to Chinese astrology that the temple should be built on the pool where the Jokhang now locates. She contended that the pool was a witch's heart, so the temple should be built on the pool to get rid of evils. The pool still exists under the temple. Then goats were used as the main pack animals, as is the reason the city is called Lhasa. The construction took 12 months. However it was originally small and had been expanded to today's scale in later dynasties. When the Fifth Dalai Lama took reign, large-scale reconstruction and renovation had been done. The temple is a combination of Han, Tibetan and Nepalese architectural techniques. Visitors will see sphinx and other sacred sculptures.
Every year, the Great Prayer Festival will be held in the Temple. The rites of Dalai Lamas and Panchen Lamas' initiation into lamahood are also held in the monastery.