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Lhasa's sunshine, mystique attracts diverse visitors

(Xinhua)

16:17, January 05, 2012

LHASA, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- Pilgrims, backpackers and tourists have swarmed the holy city of Lhasa despite the bitter winter and lack of oxygen, basking in sunshine and praying for good luck during the new year.

Pargor Street, which encircles the Jokhang Temple in the heart of Lhasa, is packed every day with pilgrims, who have hiked days or even months to the holy city, sightseers, who have chosen to tour Lhasa in the slack season, and metropolitan dwellers, who enjoy soaking up the ancient city's charm and ambiance.

Madlha Wagyalha prostrates himself in front of the Jokhang Temple, vowing his faith in Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism. ( The Tibetan taxi driver from the neighboring Qinghai Province has taken his wife and 5-year-old son to Lhasa to honor a commitment to Sakyamuni, which he made exactly a year ago.

The family left their home in Yushu, Qinghai in September and trekked four months to Lhasa. "Every night, we prostrated ourselves in Lhasa's direction before going to sleep in our tent," said Madlha Wagyalha.

For the devout Buddhist, the brutal cold and fatigue are nothing compared with the fulfillment of the pilgrimages to Jokhang and the Potala Palace, a lifelong dream for many Tibetans.

"Now at the Jokhang Temple, I feel I'm the happiest man on earth," he said.

The Jokhang Temple, which houses a life-sized statue of Buddha Sakyamuni as a 12-year-old, is the most renowned monastery in Lhasa.

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