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

Kyungmo DrakkharSkyung mo brag mkhar

Basic site data

  • Site name: Kyungmo DrakkharSkyung mo brag mkhar
  • English equivalent: Female Chough Rock Formation Castle
  • Site number: A-72
  • Site typology: I.1a
  • Elevation: 4470 m to 4490 m
  • Administrative location (township): KhülpaKhul pa
  • Administrative location (county): RutokRu thog
  • Survey expedition: UTAE
  • Survey date: May 27, 2001
  • Contemporary usage: None.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS I, HAS A1
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Site Images

General site characteristics

Kyungmo DrakkharSkyung mo brag mkhar is located on two granite outcrops immediately east of Saten KharSra brtan mkhar, opposite the LanyungBla nyung valley. These two sites are likely to have formed an integrated residential ensemble. Like Saten KharSra brtan mkhar (A-71), Kyungmo DrakkharSkyung mo brag mkhar boasted well built random-work edifices and occupies a decisive position above the north side of the KhülpaKhul pa valley. The two facilities exhibit the same type of all-stone corbelled structures and level of disintegration. Kyungmo DrakkharSkyung mo brag mkhar can be divided into two complexes: west and east. The west complex is comprised of at least three poorly preserved buildings. The east complex consists of various decimated buildings and extends for 30 m along a rib of granite, in a belt 7 m to 15 m in width. The granite blocks used in construction were hewn flat on the exterior sides, and are primarily 30 cm to 60 cm in length. Virtually all the mortar has dissolved from the random-rubble walls, an index of the length of time that these structures have stood.

Oral tradition

Local sources report that Kyungmo DrakkharSkyung mo brag mkhar was a stronghold of the ancient MönMon.

Site elements

West complex

The edifices of the west complex are in an advanced state of disintegration. The largest building (15.5 m by 3.5 m) was sited on the western part of a granite outcrop. It has exterior walls that still reach 3.5 m in height and interior walls of 1.2 m in elevation, the difference in height being accounted for by the underlying revetment. The largest structure appears to have contained three rooms. On the east side of the same section of the rocky backbone, at 5 m higher elevation, is another building (6 m by 2.2 m). Adjacent to it, just below the summit, there are the remains of another structure (3.4 m by 5.2 m). On the east side of the outcrop there is an isolated retaining wall segment that reaches 4 m in height.

East complex

The east complex is located on the next granite spur to the east. The sheer walls of the formation plunge down into the valley below. The wider upper two-thirds of the east complex supported a tight collection of buildings, while the lower one-third had a more loosely knit group of structures. Not much of the buildings have survived; most interior walls have been reduced to a height of 60 cm or less. In the crumbling walls two window openings are partially intact, each approximately 50 cm in height. The upper window punctuates a wall that has an exterior elevation of 3.4 m and an interior height of 1.5 m.


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.