Lhasa crowded with pilgrims

Updated: 2012-02-09 09:45

By Dachiog and Wang Xiaodong (China Daily)

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LHASA - The peak season has come for prayer, and Buddhists from ethnic Tibetan regions have been flocking to Lhasa since the start of winter, when they have the most free time from farming and animal husbandry.

On Tuesday, pilgrims crowded the square leading to Jokhang Temple, a popular destination for Tibetans in Lhasa, capital of Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, to offer prayers. A long line moved slowly toward the entrance of the temple as white smoke from incense wafted through the doorway. The sound of people praying and vendors shouting filled the air.

"The number of visitors to Jokhang Temple has been increasing recently. The temple had about 8,000 visitors today," said Lhagba, a monk and director of the management committee of the temple.

Aside from Jokhang Temple, visitors also crowded some other religious sites, such as Ramoche Temple and Potala Palace, while traffic police were busy keeping order at road crossings.

Lhasa receives nearly a million Buddhists from the Tibet autonomous region and other areas with Tibetan populations, such as Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai provinces, each winter, when farmers have the most free time, official statistics shows.

"I've come to Lhasa to pray almost every day since December with four others from my village," said Chonggyi, 51, a farmer in Yabda village near Lhasa. She arrives in the morning by bus, prays at temples, such as Jokhang Temple and Potala Palace, and returns home in the afternoon.

Lhasa crowded with pilgrims 

Chonggyi (right), a 51-year-old farmer in Yabda village near Lhasa, has come to Lhasa almost every day to pray in temples since December. In the morning, she and fellow villagers travel by bus to the city, and they return home in the afternoon. Dachiog / China Daily

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