Many of these pilgrims walked to be there… and some of them even walked in a special way to show their devotion: They take three steps, say a prayer, and lie face-down on the ground. Then they stand up, take three more steps and repeat the process. The act of taking a prostrating pilgrimage can take the devotee years to reach the Jokhang from their home towns. But many do it, as a sign of devotion and a way to help improve their karma in this life and the next.
King Songtsän Gampo might built The Jokhang temple in 642. At that time, it was referred to as the Rasa Tulnang Tsuklakang or the House of Mysteries, the Magical Emanation at Rasa. All important Buddhist statues and images, bought as part of their dowries by Bhrituti and Wencheng, the Nepalese and Chinese wives of Songsten Gampo, were housed here.
The Bönpo king, LangdharmaIt boarded up the temple. In the 11th century, the famous Buddhist Master Atisha taught here, and from then on, people has considered it as the most important temple in Lhasa ever since. For centuries, pilgrims flocked here, segardin git as a key center of Buddhist. Though the Mongols sacked the temple for several times, it survived anyhow, and now covers an area of about 25,000 sq. meters.
The Jokhang temple has four stories in total. The roofs of the temple are covered with gilded bronze tiles. Basically, the architectural style is featured by its Indian vihara design, with a blend of Nepalese and Tang Dynasty styles. Many icons are contained here. For example, there is a rooftop statues of two golden deer flanking a Dharma wheel. The interior of the temple is a dark and atmospheric labyrinth of chapels. Each chapel is dedicated to various gods and bodhisattvas. Many votive candles illuminate them, thickening them with the smoke of incense. The third floor contains an image of Palden Lhamo, fierce protector of both Lhasa and the Dalai Lama.
The original elements remain after all the rebuilding of the temple. Carbon dating shows the wooden beams and rafters are original. Also, the Newari door frames, columns and finials date from the 7th and 8th centuries.