built in 647, lies at the center of the old Lhasa, and is is one of Tibet's
Temple was built by Nepal princess Tritsun, the wife of he first Tibetan
King (617 - 650) who unified Tibet, Songtsen Gampo, to accommodate the
twelve-year-old Jowo Sakyamuni, brought to Tibet by Princess Wencheng,
who married Songtsen Gampo in the seventh century. Princess Wencheng reckoned
according to Chinese astrology that Wuotang Lake was the heart of the
devil, so the temple should be built on the lake to get rid of evils.
The lake still exists under the temple.
was built by craftsmen from Tibet, China, and Nepal and thus features
different architectural styles. The original structure was small and enlarged
by the Fifth Dalai Lama. In the central hall on the first floor is the
gold statue of the seated 12-year-old Sakyamuni, which is the most venerated
and beautiful image in all Tibet. The statue is 1.5 meters tall, cast
from precious metals, and decorated with glittering jewels. On both sides
are the altars of Songtsen Gampo and his two wives who introduced Buddhism
is the spiritual center of Tibet and the holiest destination for all Tibetan
Buddhist pilgrims. Everyday, pilgrims from every corner of Tibet trek
a long distance to the temple. They kindle butter lamps with yak butter,
or honor the deities with white scarves (Hada) while murmuring sacred
mantras to show their pieties to the Buddha. Every year, the Great Prayer
Festival is held in the Temple.