The Great spiritual and historical Site of Jorkhang Temple, was the first Buddhist temple in Tibet, located on Barkhor Square in Lhasa. It was built during the reign of king Songsten Gampo (605?-650 CE) to celebrate his marriage with Chinese Tang Dynasty princess Wencheng, who was a Buddhist.
The temple was, and sometimes still is, called the ‘Tsuklakang’ (Tsulag Khang) — ‘House of Religious Science’ or ‘House of Wisdom.’ The term tsuklak refers to the ‘sciences’ such as geomancy, astrology, and divination which formed part of the pre-Buddhist shamanistic religion now referred to as Bon religion, the original generated Tibetan relifious. It is more commonly known today as the Jokhang, which means the ‘House of the Buddha’.
This temple has remained a key center of Buddhist pilgrimage for centuries. It was sacked several times by the Mongols, but the building survived. In the past several centuries the temple complex was expanded and now covers an area of about 25,000 sq. meters.
The Jokhang temple complex has several decorated shrines and rooms. The main hall of the temple houses the Jowo Shakyamuni Buddha statue, perhaps the single most venerated object in Tibetan Buddhism. There are also famous statues of Chenresig, Padmasambhava and King Songtsan Gambo and his two famous foreign brides, Princess Wen Cheng (niece of Emperor Taizong of Tang China) and Princess Bhrikuti of Nepal. Many of the statues were destroyed during the “cultural revolution” but have since been remade – often including broken pieces of the original statues.