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

Zarang KhartséZa rang mkhar rtse

Basic site data

  • Site name: Zarang KhartséZa rang mkhar rtse
  • Site number: A-100
  • Site typology: I.1x
  • Elevation: 3950 m
  • Administrative location (township): ZarangZa rang
  • Administrative location (county): TsamdaRtsa mda’
  • Survey expedition: HTCE and HTWE
  • Survey date: October 20, 2002 and July 17, 2004
  • Contemporary usage: None.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS V, HAS C2
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Site Images

General site characteristics

Zarang KhartséZa rang mkhar rtse enjoys unobstructed views of the ZarangZa rang locality. On a spur tip 500 m above the ZarangZa rang valley floor there are ruins that were radically altered in the early 1960s, in order to build a small Communist Chinese military outpost. Bunkers and an adobe-lined room sunk into the ridge-top were built to monitor this border area. To the east of these modern retrenchments a level pad was constructed on the ridge-top, probably for military exercises. This Chinese military facility has been abandoned for many years now. Despite the radical alteration of the site, some of the original walls (revetments) have survived and are platform-like in appearance. They have a random-rubble texture and were built from limestone and sandstone blocks (10 cm to 70 cm long). Many of the stones used in the older constructions were carefully hewn into shape. The remains of a stone-buttressed trail lead over a knob on the ridgeline to the main cluster of ruins (32 m by 7.5 m to 14 m).

Oral tradition

A largely ruined stronghold called podrangpho brang (palace) existed here until the Chinese Communist period. The conical spur used to be revetted with masonry facing, measuring around 10 m long on each of the four sides.


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.