Jokhang Temple is easily Tibet's most holy and revered sight and is one of the most visited places in all of Tibet. Pilgrims from all ends of Tibet can be found walking around the temple every day of the year. During Losar (Tibetan New Year), tens of thousands of Tibetans make their way around the temple.
Jokhang was built in the early 7th century. The temple was constructed under the orders of the famous Tibetan king Songsten Gampo. The temple was built to house an image of Mikyoba, given to Songsten Gampo as a wedding dowry from his Nepali bride, Princess Bhrikuti. The king was also given another buddhist image of Jowo Sakyamuni by his Chinese wife, Princess Wencheng. This image was originally housed in Ramoche monastery (a few hundred meters from Jokhang Temple), but was later moved into Jokhang Temple where it still is to this day.
Even with all the changes that have come about in Lhasa over the past 50 years, Jokhang Temple is still one of the best places in Tibet to visit. In the morning, incense is burned in large incense burners in front of the temple. The distinct smell of this incense can be smelled all across the Tibetan district of Lhasa. Even before the sun begins to rise, Tibetan pilgrims can be seen in front of the temple doing prostrations. In front of the temple to the left side is a small room that is filled with lit butter candles. All around the temple is the Barkhor. The Barkhor is an amazing kora of markets selling all things Tibetan. Pilgrims make their way around this kora all day long.
The roof of Jokhang is one of the best places to hang out in Lhasa. The rooftop gives you an excellent view of Barkhor square and a view of the Potala Palace in the distance. You can see all the pilgrims prostrating below. The Barkhor Square/Jokhang Temple region of Lhasa is one of my favorite places to be. I have walked around this area far too many times to count, but I never grow tired of it. Jokhang temple and Lhasa can be visited anytime of year, even during the winter.