Unique Tibet Temple Architecture
1) Jokhang Temple- the Unique Tibetan Temple Architecture
There is an old saying among Tibetans which goes that Lhasa City was constructed after the construction of Jokhang Temple. Lhasa City centered on Jokhang Temple, geographically and socially. The street around Jokhang Temple is called Barkhor Street or Barkhor Bazaar. The pilgrims would circumambulate the monastery as an important part of their daily pilgrimage life.
Take a bird-view from the top of Jokhang Temple, tourists could see the Potala Palace which stands on the far hill. The famous Princess Willow which said to be planted by Princess Wencheng is on the square. The main construction of Jokhang Temple is a four-storey building. The roofs are covered with gilded bronze tiles.
The distribution and location of Jokhang Temple is quite different from the Han Buddhism temples. There are buildings attached to the main construction of Jokhang Temple. There are chapels and memorial halls for important Buddhists (such as Sakyamuni) and Tibetan kings (such as Songtsen Gambo).
Jokhang Temple – Cultural Relics
There is a large quantity of precious cultural relics in Jokhang Temple, including various wood carvings, murals and Buddhism sculptures. There are about 800 metal sculptures and thousands of Thangkas (Tibetan painted scrolls). Some of the copper statues are extremely rare and precious since they were brought here from Kashmir, Nepal, India in ancient times.
2) Ramoche Temple
In the days of King Songtsan Gampo, Ramoche Temple was originally built to house the famous statue of Sakyamuni, now found in the Jokhang, which was originally brought to Tibet by Princess Wen Cheng. Legend has it that when Princess Wen Cheng and her entourage arrived at the North gate of Lhasa, her carriage got stuck in the mud. Her assistants could not remove the statue and so they covered it temporarily with 4 pillars and white brocade. Later, the Princess ordered the construction of Ramoche as a shrine for the statue. And the temple faces easte which said that Princess Wencheng wanted to show her homesickness. Twenty years later, in 652 A.D., the leader of Tibet was concerned with rumours that the Chinese Emperor was considering an invasion of Tibet. As a protection, he moved the Sakyamuni statue from the Ramoche to the Jokhang, and hid it from view. It had remained there ever since. In exchange Ramoche Temple received a smaller bronze statue of Sakyamuni, which has been brought to Tibet by Songtsan Gampo's other wife, the Nepalese Princess Tritsun. By the mid-15th century the temple had become Lhasa's Upper Tantric College
Ramoche Temple, built under the patronage of Princess Wencheng, also has undergone 4 repairs and expansion. The original layout of the Temple was like an upper jawbone of a lion and the whole structure was east facing, according to the documents. The outer wall was a brick and stone structure, while the inner was a wooden structure.
A dozen of temples were built during the reign of Songtsen Gampo. Among them, only Trandruk Temple and Gequ Temple of Lhoka Prefecture have remained till today. Meanwhile, the first cave temple in Tibet, the Daklha Lubuk Cave Temple, was built up.
Ramoche Monastery fell into ruins and went through many reconstructions - only the Buddha palace on the first floor is left in its original state. The present temple is the result of the large restoration of 1986. The main building in the temple has three stories. The first story includes an atrium, a scripture hall, and a Buddha palace with winding corridors. The third story was the bedroom once reserved for Dalai Lama. Upon entering the main building, one can see the ten pillars holding some of the remaining Tibetan relics such as the encased lotus flowers, coiling cloud, jewelry, and particular Tibetan Characters. The golden peak of the temple with the Han-style upturned eave can be seen from any direction in Lhasa city. Needless to say, the temple is a wonderful example of the combination of Han and Tibetan architectural styles.