Bakhor, also named as Baghor, is the oldest street in Lhasa. In the past, it was only a circumambulation circuit, "a saint road” in the eyes of Tibetan. Now it's also a shopping center with nation characteristics. It's an old district with colorful Tibetan features. Tibetan houses line the street, and the ground is paved with man-made flagstones, preserving the ancient look.
In the street, you can find satisfactory souvenirs, and experience the mysterious "one step one kowtow" faith to religion. All the houses along the street are stores. All kinds of fantastic commodities show us all aspects of the Tibetan life. Such as: Thangkas, copper Buddha, prayer wheels, butter lamps, prayer flags with sutras, beads, Tibetan joss sticks, cypress, etc. Household goods in shops are in abundant, such as: cushion, Pulu, aprons, leather bag, harness, snuff bottles, steels, Tibetan-style quilts, Tibetan-style shoes, clasp knives, Tibetan-style hats, butter, butter pots, wooden bowls, Highland Barley Wine, sweet milk tea, milk residue, air-dried beef and mutton, etc. All kinds of tourist products, cheap but good, can be found in the 1,000-meter-long street.
Bakhor Street is a miniature of Lhasa, even in the whole Tibet. The old circumambulation circuit is always crowded with pilgrims from everywhere. Some come along the road by performing the body-long kowtows, some come by truck. Some are monks, and some are businessmen from Kham. In a word, here you will find people from all over Tibet. You can enjoy different dresses, and languages. Even the similar-looking dresses of the monks vary depending on the different religions.
It was said that in the seventh century when Songtsen Gampo, the first Tibetan King (617 or?-650) who unified Tibet, married Chinese Princess Wencheng and Nepal princess Tritsun. Later Princess Tritsun built Jokhang Temple to accommodate the Jowo Sakyamuni aged 12 brought to Tibet by Princess Wencheng.
Barkhor is the road which pilgrims tramped out around Jokhang Temple through centuries. Buddhist pilgrims walk or progress by body-lengths along the street clockwise every day into deep night. They comprise most of Lhasa‘s floating population. Careful visitors may find there are 4 columns, on which colorful scripture streamers are hung flying over the street. All pilgrims walk outside of them to show respect. The custom started in Tubo period (633- 877).
To the west of the north street of Barkhor, there is a juniper hearth, in front of which ceremony will be held annually to hail Maitreya (Buddha of the Future). Tibetans also pray before the hearth to expect fortune in the next year. A yamun, which used to be the office of Lhasa magistrate, squats nearby. A small lane northward nearby leads to a market, which has the longest history in Lhasa. There is a three-story temple, which was set up in the Tubo period, and its pantheon still remains Tubo style after many renovations. It was said that Tibetan characters were invented in the temple.
For tourists, Barkhor Street is a magical place showing the original outlook of Lhasa. The street was paved by hand-polished stone boards. Though it is not broad, it accommodates thousands of tourists every day. Varied shops stand on both sides of the street and thousands of floating stands are on every corner. Most of them offer the prayer wheels, long-sleeve 'chuba' (the Tibetan people's traditional clothes), Tibetan knives and some religious articles for sale. Furthermore, some shops sell 'Thangka' (the Tibetan scroll painting), which is a unique art of Tibet with the themes of religion, history, literature, science and customs. Surprisingly, there are some articles from India and Nepal in this street as well.