Adventures in Asia

by Greg & Francie

Initial Lhasa Impressions

Francie and I arrived (somewhat) fresh off the train from Chengdu and, after checking in to Dongcuo Hostel, headed down to the Barkhor area of Lhasa. The Barkhor area is primarily a ‘kora’ around the Jokhang temple. “The what around what of what?”–you are saying? Well, Tibet and Lhasa are one of the truly ‘holy’ places of Buddhism and a ‘kora’ is a pilgrimage trail or walk around a specific holy site. The Jokhang is a revered building in the center of old Lhasa that we will be visiting in a few days time.

Rooftop view of Lhasa’s Barkhor area

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The Barkhor kora is very important to Buddhists and a large crowd of people move around the circuit in a clockwise direction. You see many monks and nuns here–some walking with prayer wheels and some prostrating themselves as they go. Just for the record–prostrating looks very hard and the Barkhor kora isn’t even that long. Prostrating while walking doesn’t look easy at all because you fall to the ground, catching yourself on your arms, drag your legs forward until you are in squatting position, bow until your head touches the ground, and then stand again (repeat many many times). Hmm, is that the right order? I will have to watch a little closer today. Here are people walking the circuit late in the day.

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This is another building with prayer wheels along the Barkhor kora.

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You can also see people prostrating themselves and praying at the side wall of the Jokhang temple.

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This is all pretty fascinating and yesterday Francie commented that Lhasa was really unlike any place we had been–which is totally true. We have often been able to say something like Songpan (China) felt a lot like Laos etc. but not here in Tibet.

Here is Francie at a prayer pillar surrounded by prayer flags + one other interesting person.

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We are at a pretty high altitude (about 12,000 feet) but we are doing pretty well with the altitude (much better than I did in Peru) and this probably has a lot to do with the train ride since the cars where pressurized at 12K feet. This morning we booked a hike up to, and around, Nam-tso lake. We are planning to see the Jakhang temple and the Potala Palace in the next couple days as well as set up a little expedition to the Everest Base Camp.

Here are a few more pictures as we are off to explore more of the town.

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August 26, 2007 - Posted by | China, Photography, Tibet, Travel

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