Barkhor Street is located in the center of Lhasa. The street circles the Jokhang Temple, and has been an essential pilgrim route since the foundation of the temple. Buddhist pilgrims can be seen throughout the day and night walking or prostrating themselves clockwise along Barkhor Street spinning their prayer wheels and chanting sutras. There is more to Barkhor Street than just a place for pilgrims to walk. Barkhor Street often called the "Window of Tibet" is famous for its shopping.
Barkhor Street gives visitors a great insight into traditional Tibetan culture by selling it to them. The shops and booths along the street are filled with all sorts of items unique to Tibet. There is a large variety of Tibetan Buddhist articles including Thangkas, Buddhist statues, prayer wheels, butter lamps, prayer flags, sutras, beads, and incense. There are also shops that sell housewares, but Tibetan housewares are also unique, and often beautiful: cushions, aprons, leather bags, quilts, shoes, knives, hats, butter pots, wooden bowls, and dried meats. There is also an abundance of souvenirs available on Barkhor Street.
Besides the shopping and location for pilgrimages, Barkhor Street has a lot of historical interest. A small building that used to be Lhasa's Yamen is located on Barkhor Street. It used to be the office of Lhasa's magistrate. A small lane going north from Barkhor street leading to a market is the oldest street in Lhasa. There is a small three-story temple located on Barkhor Street and it is said that Tibetan characters were invented in the temple. There is a unique yellow building standing on the southeastern corner of Barkhor Street. All of the buildings along the street are white save this one.
1. When walking around Barkhor Street, always walk in a clockwise direction.
2. It is recommended not to visit Barkhor street in the evening. Every evening at six o'clock, Barkhor Street turns into a market selling small articles for daily use, and the labyrinth of lanes surrounding the street is very easy to get lost in.
3. It is important to bargain on Barkhor Street. The given price is often many times more than the price the shopkeeper will accept. It is best to shop around. Many shops will sell similar items, and it is the best way to ensure you get the cheapest price. Sometimes if visitors find something they really want, it is acceptable to pay a higher price because many of the items found on Barkhor Street cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
4. According to tradition, Tibetan shopkeepers will offer discounts to the first and last shopper of the day.
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