The city of Lhasa contains three concentric paths used by pilgrims to circumambulate (walk around) the sacred Johkhang Temple, many of whom make full or partial prostrations along these routes in order to gain spiritual merit. The innermost, the Nangkor circle, is contained within the Johan Temple, and surrounds the sanctuary of the Jowo Shakyamuni, the most sacred statue in Tibetan Buddhism. The middle circumambulatory, the Barkor, passes through the Old Town and surrounds the Jokhang Temple and various other buildings in its vicinity. The outer Lingkor encircles the entire traditional city of Lhasa.
Hundreds, if not thousands of Tibetans are following this circuit at any one time from sunrise to sunset. Old women in traditional dresses wear faded aprons over heavy cloaks and slowly spin their portable prayer wheels. The women's faces are very dark from all the outdoor work and every inch of skin is cracked and lined with wrinkles but thet still have amazing beautiful smiles when they greet you with "Tashi Dele!"
Each morning Tibetans offer a lighted butter lamp, representing the illumination of wisdom, along with seven bowls containing pure water (or symbolic offerings of washing water, drinking water, flowers, scent, perfumed water, food, and sound) before the images on their household shrine. The butter lamp usually being placed between the fourth and fifth bowls. At funeral ceremonies or when visiting temples and going on pilgrimage to sacred sites, Tibetan Buddhists often light a large number butter lamps together at one time.
Inside the Potala, the butter lamps help to focus the mind and aid meditation. According to the Root Tantra of Chakrasamvara, "If you wish for sublime realization, offer hundreds of lights". Pilgrims also supply yak butter for the lamps to gain merit.