Pilgrimage to the Jokhang Temple

I joined the pilgrimage this morning walking clockwise around Jokhang Temple (the most significant Buddhist temple in the world) in a crush with hundreds of ethnic Tibetans, dressed in furs and embroidered multi coloured cloth, hair adorned with silver and coral and turquoise, handheld prayer wheels twirling … the smell of ‘yak’ was pervasive… the level of profound belief moved me to tears… I burn a little offering in a large white stupor (a fisherman’s friend packet) it seemed like the perfect place to do it…

Then we are ‘inside’ the temple, past the dozens of pilgrims prostrating themselves, a slow circuit around the long courtyard, turning each of the large prayer wheels, wooden handles worn and black with yak grease, the Chinese guards ‘herd’ us into the main temple with wooden sticks… the crush and smell is almost overwhelming, small children hold my legs, old women smile and nod as they spoon yak butter onto candles in each of the small dark alcoves… we shuffle forward, climbing through ancient wooden doorways, a monk chats on his mobile…

Outside in the Barkhor, it’s about 2 degrees and trying to snow…

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