Ramoche Temple is second only to Jokhang Temple in religious
importance in Tibet, and is often called "Little Jokhang Temple".
It is located in North Lhasa City, about a kilometer from the
Jokhang. Ramoche has a long history, and was founded at the same
time as the Jokhang. Throughout history it has suffered destruction
by fire and the Mongol invasion, and has been rebuilt several
In the days of King Songtsan Gampo (617-649), founder of the
Tibetan Empire, Ramoche Temple was originally built to house the
famous statue of Sakyamuni, now found in the Jokhang, which was
brought to Tibet by Princess Wen Cheng. Legend has it that when
Princess Wen Cheng and her entourage arrived at the north gate of
Lhasa, her carriage got stuck in the mud. Her assistants could not
remove the statue and so they covered it temporarily with 4 pillars
and white brocade. Later, the Princess ordered the construction of
Ramoche as a shrine for the statue.
Twenty years later, in 652 AD, the leader of Tibet was concerned
with rumors that the Chinese Emperor was considering an invasion of
Tibet. As a protection, he moved the Sakyamuni statue from Ramoche
to the Jokhang, and hid it from view. It had remained there ever
since. In exchange Ramoche Temple received a smaller bronze statue
of Sakyamuni, which was brought to Tibet by Songtsan Gampo's other
wife, the Nepalese Princess Chizun. This can still be seen at
Ramoche Temple today.