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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Lhasa, at Barkhor Street


The Buddhist religion is very important for Tibetan, and has a strong influence over all aspects of their lives. We can feel it even we walk in the main shopping district, Barkhor Street. "Barkhor" in Tibetan means "Holy Path", as it has been the pathway for pilgrims. According to Tibetan Buddhism, the pilgrims must walk in Barkhor Street in a clockwise circular direction around the Jokhang Temple as to worship the figure of the Buddha inside the temple. 

More than that, walking on Barkhor Street is somewhat different, it gives a mystical feeling. It has maintained the ancient original style of Tibet buildings for almost 1,400 years. The whole street is paved by stones alongside the exotic buildings. On the street, four large incense burners in the four cardinal directions burning incense and aromatic plants continuously, raising fragrant smokes into the air. 

Everywhere in the Barkhor Street is filled with hustle and bustle, we can hear the shouts of street vendors, and the chatting sounds of visitors are mixed with the chanting rhymes of pilgrims. The shops and street vendors offer prayer wheels, butter lamps, incense, turquoise, local meat and other Tibetan traditional food. Also, we can find  here Tibetan style house ornaments, cushions, leather bags and handmade art wares. 

We can notice that the traditional women in Tibet mostly have long hair and most of time they braided the hair neatly and affix them with ornaments. The arrangement of the hair indicates a woman’s social status, the style of the region or tribe, but also reflect fashions of the time. 

Generally, Tibetans believe that hair can serve as a material support connected with prosperity. They didn't cut their hair from the time they were born. But with the influence of modernity, shorter hair has become the trend in Tibet. An increasing number of women often dye their hair in many colors to follow the fashions of pop stars. We can find in Barkhor Street many beauty parlours visited by young women whom are particular about hair fashion and spent money for that. Our tour guide said: “It is a sign that Tibet is opening the road to modern society."



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