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3 koras to do in Lhasa

What is a "kora"?

"Kora" (སྐོར་ར།) means clockwise circumambulation. Tibetans do koras around holy places to accumulate merit ("good karma").

The "koras" are done around sacred mountains, like the "kora" of Mount Kailash for example. Or around temples, like the "kora" around the Jokhang. This "kora" around the Jokhang is highly sacred, since the Jokhang temple, the first Buddhist temple in Tibet, founded in the 7th century A.D., is home to the statue of the Jowo.

In Lhasa, there are obviously many pilgrimage circuits, punctuated by visits to temples and monasteries.

But today, we would like to introduce you to pure "koras" of Lhasa, which do not only consist of stops in holy places, but rather of circumambulation circuits.

Here are the three most popular "koras" in Lhasa.

Immersion 100% guaranteed.

1. The kora around the Jokhang temple - the Barkhor

It is the most famous and popular kora. There are pilgrims walking around the Jokhang, but also pilgrims doing the kora while prostrating.

It is also the simplest kora, since it only takes about ten minutes. Of course the pilgrims don't stop at one round. But for you, it can be a good first experience of the kora.

You simply go to the Jokhang and you let yourself be carried by the flow of pilgrims. Remember to walk in the direction of the eels of a watch.

Besides, you will not only see pilgrims. The area is full of restaurants, teahouses, clothing stores, jewelry stores, bookstores, and other businesses. So there are traders and customers on the kora around the Jokhang. But even if they come only for shopping, most Tibetans make the tour in the direction of the circumambulation. Just to accumulate some merit in the process.

So you can take the opportunity to have a look at the different stores, and of course go inside.

Old Tibetan man doing koras around the Jokhang (© Olivier Föllmi)

2. The “kora” around the Potala - the Tsékhor

The second most popular "kora" is the one around the Potala. The Potala is the former winter residence of the Dalai Lamas, and therefore a holy place as well.

This kora is longer than the one around the Jokhang. It takes around half an hour, depending on how fast you go.

You will pass by the park located behind the Potala, the "Lukhang". If you know where to look, you will find a charming open-air tea house. If not, you will cross in any case Tibetans coming to make their kora of course, but also others coming to dance or to make sport.

Stupas in the park behind the Potala

3. The “kora” around the old Lhasa - the Linkhor

Finally, some pilgrims make an outright tour of the ancient city, which must be about ten kilometers long. They sometimes pass by temples, where they stop to pray, prostrate, make donations or butter lamp offerings.

The pilgrims usually stop halfway in a teahouse to have a thermos of sweet tea.

This kora includes hidden gems.

Butter lamp offerings

Our partners in Lhasa can bring you to do the whole kora, or just the most outstanding sections. Feel free to write to us for more information.

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