Explore Tibet Sponsored the Re-plating of Gold to the Jowo Rinpoche Statue in Jokhang Temple and Celebrated Its 10th Anniversary.

Explore Tibet, the most successful Tibetan tour operator, based in Lhasa, are celebrating their 10th Anniversary this year. For ten years, Sonam and his amazing team have been providing authentic Tibetan experiences for all their clients on their tours of the land at the Roof of the World.

And to make this celebration even more special, Explore Tibet have sponsored the re-plating of the ancient Jowo Rinpoche statue in Jokhang Temple. First brought to Tibet by the Princess Wencheng on the occasion of her marriage to the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo, this ancient statue has taken pride of place in the temple that was originally built to house it ever since.

Buddha image in Jokhang temple

Zamling Chisang

The celebration of the 10th anniversary of Explore Tibet took place on June 28 in the Gregorian calendar, which is the fifteenth day of the fifth month in the Tibetan Lunisolar calendar. This day was chosen as being an important and auspicious day in Tibetan Buddhism, known as the Zamling Chisang or Universal Prayer Day.

Zamling Chisang is held to celebrate the subjugation of the local mountain god spirits and malevolent spirits that inhabited the site where the Samye Monastery now stands. After the first attempts to build the monastery failed and were believed to be the work of demons and tulku, the Buddhist master, Padmasambhava (known in Tibet as Guru Rinpoche), performed the Vajrakilaya dance that pacified the spirits and forced the malevolent spirits into a skull set atop a pyramid of dough, making them protectors of Tibet.

In Lhasa, this day is celebrated by burning large amounts of incense on the hills around the city and praying for peace across the world and the well-being of all sentient beings. In Samye, pilgrims travel to the monastery to pray and watch the traditional Cham dance of the lamas. Many people circumambulate the sacred mountains around Tibet as part of their celebrations.

We chose this special day to celebrate our 10th Anniversary, on this day all our office staffs went to Jokhang temple and received the special authority to carry our gold plating offering to the Jowo image in the Jokhang temple, offer gold to important image is an special way of offering for Tibetan Buddhism and it is our great honor to receive this special opportunity to do the offering to the main Buddha image in the Jokhang temple, with long qeues of local pilgrims, our team got to main temple and the monk is already there to carry the offering for us, then we were honored with a blessed scarf from the Jowo image and some other relics too.

Gold plating at Jokhang temple by Explore Tibet

Jowo Rinpoche history

The statue, which is a likeness of Buddha at the age of twelve, is believed to have actually been blessed by Buddha himself, and was originally owned by the king of Magadha, an ancient kingdom in northeast India, roughly where Bihar is today. Also known as the Jowo Sakyamuni, this larger-than-life statue sits in the Jokhang Temple on a gold and jeweled throne and is dressed in a magnificent jeweled crown and gilded and bejeweled robes.

The statue was inherited by the emperor of the Indian Gupta Empire from the royal palace in Pataliputra, the capital of both the Magadha Kingdom and the Gupta Empire that followed in around 240 AD. It is believed to have been given as a gift to the Emperor of the Tang Dynasty in China, Emperor Gaozu, in around 620 AD.

Explore Tibet at Jokhang temple offering

In 641 AD, a young princess of the tang Dynasty known as Wénchéng Gōngzhǔ was promised in marriage to the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo, as part of the Tang Empire’s marriage alliance policy. This union brought peace to the two empires, which had previously fought over the refusal of the Tang Emperor to grant a Chinese wife to the Tibetan king.

The statue was given to the princess by the Tang Emperor Taizong, along with hundreds of other statues, as part of her dowry and was transported by cart to Lhasa with the princess. The Jokhang Temple was constructed to house the statue of Buddha in around 652 AD.

Today, more than 1,300 years after the statue first came to Tibet and more than two millennia after it was made, this stunning example of ancient Buddhism is the center-piece of the Jokhang temple, and the most sacred and revered statue of Buddha in Tibet.

Jokhang temple buddha image