One of Lhas’s oldest streets circles Jokhang Temple and is frequented as an essential route of pilgrimage for visitors seeking the temple. Day and night pilgrims walk or prostrate clockwise along Barkhor Street spinning mesmerizing prayer wheels and chanting in unison. While the street holds great historical significance, it is also regarded for its fantastic shopping, and is referred to as the “Window of Tibet”.
Here visitors can gain insight into Tibetan culture through the extensive array of shops and booths filled with items steeped in traditional style and craftsmanship. Buddhist articles such as Thangkas, Buddhist statues, prayer wheels, butter lamps, prayer flags, sutras, beads, and incense can be found among a collection of traditional Tibetan house wares, such as knives, wooden bowls, leather bags, and hand sewn quilts.
Some of the historical sites located along the street include a small building once used as Lhasa’s Yamen, serving as the office of the city’s magistrate, the oldest street in Lhasa that runs perpendicular to Barkhor, a small three story temple that is said to be where Tibetan characters were invented, and a lone yellow building that uniquely stands among the stark white buildings along the street.