In pictures: Lhasa’s pilgrims
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In pictures: Lhasa’s pilgrims


LHASA means “place of the gods” and a pilgrimage to the holy city remains a dream for all Tibetans.

The importance of this is clear once you make it to the once isolated city and see just how many Tibetans are visiting from the countryside to see the same sights you are, although perhaps with a different emphasis, and possibly sharing budget hotels with you and the buses to outlying monasteries. Tibetan pilgrims can be seen around the Jokhang Temple, the Potala Palace and other important religious sites around the city.

Shuffling around the Barkhor circuit, hands outstretched in prayer, grasping prayer beads, muttering om mani padme hum, lighting butter lamps, or even stretched out doing the kora (a series of prostrations), they are a constant stream of life and energy in the inner medieval streets of Lhasa and around any outlying monasteries.

They are also part of the reason Lhasa remains such a memorable experience for everyone visiting particularly watching how much they revere the temples and palaces.

Here are some images of these pilgrims.

An elaborate coral and turquoise headpiece on a young woman on the Barkhor circuit - the circular route around the Jokhang temple, the most important temple in Tibet . Pic: Joanne Lane,

A woman and her son turning prayer wheels by the Potala Palace - the Dalai Lama's former residence. Pic: Joanne Lane,

A family doing their prostrations together by the Jokhang. Pic: Joanne Lane,

Two men with prayer beads deep in conversation by the Barkhor. Pic: Joanne Lane,

Tibetan woman by the Jokhang with her family visiting from the countryside. Pic: Joanne Lane,

Pilgrims praying in front of the Potala - this sight is common particularly on mornings in the square outside. Pic: Joanne Lane,

Women circling the Barkor with elaborate coral and turquoise headpieces. Pic: Joanne Lane,


A young girl prostrating by the Potala. She was here with her father. Pic: Joanne Lane,

An older man fixing his hair braids outside the Jokhang. Pic: Joanne Lane,

Tibetan woman by the Jokhang with prayer beads in hand. Pic: Joanne Lane,


A pilgrim praying by the Potala. Pic: Joanne Lane,

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All images by Joanne Lane,

For other images of Lhasa click here.