Today, you and your group will explore Lhasa by visiting Jokhang Temple, a world cultural heritage site renowned for its brilliant architecture, culture, art, and history. After that, you will experience Tibetan Buddhism by witnessing the Monks' Debating in Sera Monastery. Finally, you can stroll through the famous Barkhor Street with locals and learn more about the daily kora life of Tibetans.
Located in the heart of Lhasa for over 1300 years, the Jokhang Temple is an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists from all over the world. Famed as the spiritual center of Tibet, it is said that the Jokhang Monastery was built for King Songtsen Gampo's two brides: Chinese Princess Wencheng and Nepalese Princess Bhrikuti. "Jokhang" means "House of Buddha", and it houses a life-size statue of the 12-year-old Sakyamuni, which is considered a treasure of the Buddhist world. This is why Buddhist pilgrims consider it the holiest destination. The Jakhong temple is also renowned for its beautiful architecture. You can admire the intricate carvings, colorful murals, ornate decorations, and details of the building, which is a masterpiece of Tibetan architecture. Time seems to stand still as you watch people pray in front of the temple during the day and night. (Please note that the visit order may be adjusted based on the reservation of your Jokhang Temple Ticket Reservation.)
In the afternoon, drive approximately 30km (50 minutes) to visit Sera Monastery, which is one of the three great Gelug university monasteries of Tibet. It offers the opportunity to experience Tibetan Buddhism up close. The highlight of Sera Monastery is watching the monks' debate, which takes place around 15:00-17:00 (except on Sundays). The debate is an interesting form of exchange, where one monk acts as the questioner, standing while the answerer or group of answerers sit. The standing monk asks questions and slaps his palms and stomps, each action having a special meaning, such as activating wisdom, and are not meant to be aggressive. You will also have the chance to attend prayer ceremonies, visit meditation halls, and learn about the monastic way of life. It is a must-visit destination to gain insight into the beliefs and practices of Tibetan Buddhism.
Afterward, head back to downtown Lhasa for a walk on busy Barkhor Street near the Jokhang Monastery, which was a place for Buddhists to do a kora (pilgrim circuit) in ancient times. Nowadays, it has become a thriving local market where you can drink a pot of yak butter tea, dress in Tibetan clothes for photos, and pick up some local Tibetan, Nepalese, and Indian handicrafts and souvenirs.