Tibetan and Himalayan Library - THL

THL Title Text
Antiquities of Zhang Zhung
by John Vincent Bellezza
Edited by Geoffrey Barstow, Mickey Stockwell and Michael White
Tibetan & Himalayan Library
Published under the THL Digital Text License.

I.1. Residential Structures Occupying Summits: Fortresses, breastworks, religious buildings, palaces, and related edifices

Purok KharSpu rog mkhar

Basic site data

  • Site name: Purok KharSpu rog mkhar
  • English equivalent: Crow Castle
  • Site number: A-69
  • Site typology: I.1b
  • Elevation: 4350 m
  • Administrative location (township): GyammukGyam smug
  • Administrative location (county): GarSgar
  • Survey expedition: UTAE
  • Survey date: May 24, 2001
  • Contemporary usage: None.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS I
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Site Images

General site characteristics

The small hilltop fasthold of Purok KharSpu rog mkhar is situated 40 m above the left or south side of the Senggé TsangpoSeng ge ge gtsang po (Upper Indus River) Valley. It occupies a secure location with good views of the Indus Valley. The hilltop and ruins are made from a light-colored stone with prominent black grains, causing the site to be either black or nearly white, depending on light conditions. True to its name, a flock of crows inhabits the locale. There were three buildings on the summit that are now reduced to their foundations. These foundations are set on prominent revetments, 75 cm to 1.5 m in height. The foundations and revetments were constructed of mud-mortared coursed-rubble. Walls are 60 cm to 70 cm in thickness. These types of structures could only have supported wooden roofs.

Oral tradition

According to some local reports, Crow Castle was an imperial period facility.

Site elements

North building

The north building may, in fact, have been two separate buildings that followed the contour of the ridge-top. Freestanding walls are only 50 cm in height. This structure measures 4.8 m (north-south) by 19 m (east-west) and seems to have contained three large rooms. If there were additional subdivisions of the interior space, the wall partitions have been totally demolished. The east room is set at a slightly lower elevation than the rest of the structure.

Central building

The central building is located 8.7 m to the west of the north building. It measures 14 m (north-south) by 3.5 m (north half) and 4.8 m (south half). It appears to have been divided into three rooms or sections. The most southerly part of the structure is not as well preserved as the rest of the building.

South building

The south building is located adjacent to the central building at 2 m higher elevation. It measures 7.2 m (east-west) by 6.5 m (east wall) and 5.4 m (west wall). Freestanding walls have been reduced to 50 cm or less in height. In this structure there is a flag mast (darchokdar lcog) for the local territorial deity (yüllhayul lha) of Langchu LingGlang chu gling.


Note Citation for Page

John Vincent Bellezza, Antiquities of Zhang Zhung: A Comprehensive Inventory of Pre-Buddhist Archaeological Monuments on the Tibetan Upland (Charlottesville, VA: Tibetan & Himalayan Library, 2010), .

Bibliographic Citation

John Vincent Bellezza. Antiquities of Zhang Zhung: A Comprehensive Inventory of Pre-Buddhist Archaeological Monuments on the Tibetan Upland. Charlottesville, VA: Tibetan & Himalayan Library, 2010.