The Jokhang – sometimes called Tshuglakhang (Cathedral), and the holiest temple in the Tibetan Buddhist world – can be unprepossessing from afar, but get closer and you’ll be swept up by the anticipation of the pilgrims and the almost palpable air of veneration. It stands 1km east of the Potala Palace, in the centre of the only remaining Tibetan enclave in the city, the Barkhor area, a maze of cobbled alleyways between Beijing Dong Lu and Jinzhu Dong Lu. Inside, you’re in for one of the most unforgettable experiences in Tibet. Devout pilgrims turn left to move clockwise and enter each chapel in turn to pray and make offerings, though they don’t hang around; stand still to admire anything and you’ll be trampled in the rush. As with all temples in Tibet, it’s often difficult to know exactly what you are looking at. Some of the statues are original, others were damaged during the Cultural Revolution and have been restored either slightly or extensively, and others are replicas; in any event, all are held in deep reverence by the pilgrims. The best time to visit is in the morning, when most pilgrims do the rounds.

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