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5 October 2011 / leggypeggy

Ramoche Temple—a chance to be among the pilgrims

Pilgrims make a clockwise circle of the Ramoche Temple—both outside where they spin the prayer wheels and inside near the sacred objects.

The Ramoche Temple is another holy site in Lhasa, Tibet. Founded by Queen Wencheng in the mid-600s (at the same time at the Jokhang Temple), it is said to be her burial site. This temple was originally built to house Tibet’s most sacred image, the Jowo Rinpoche, but that is now situated at the nearby Jokhang Temple. As a replacement, it has a statue of the lord Mikyo Dorje in the bodily form of the teacher Shakyamuni at the age of eight.

The Jokhang Temple may be Tibet’s most important site for pilgrims, but the Ramoche still teems with worshippers. When we first entered the temple, we wanted to cross into the main hall, and it took quite a while to ‘break through’ the sea of pilgrims. We especially liked this temple because we could be among the people. Unlike the Jokhang, we were allowed to walk with the worshippers—following their clockwise path around the inner sanctum. I think they circle at least three times, possibly more.

The Ramoche was also the first temple where Poor John and I saw lots of monks. Of course the Jokhang and the Potala Palace have their share of monks, but the Ramoche seemed to be a true home for them. We saw more than 50 monks sitting and chatting along two long, low tables in the main hall. We also saw a huge room where prayer flags and other temple decorations were being made and/or repaired, but photos weren’t allowed so you’ll just have to see it in my mind’s eye.

Photos were allowed outside the inner parts of the temple. The slideshow covers the entrance, the main three-storey building, the prayer wheels and the lit prayer candles.

Also don’t forget to pick a number before 29 February 2012.

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