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

Kolok KhargokKo logs mkhar gog

Basic site data

  • Site name: Kolok KhargokKo logs mkhar gog
  • Site number: A-125
  • Site typology: I.1a
  • Elevation: 4550 m
  • Administrative location (township): Trashi GangBkra shis sgang
  • Administrative location (county): GarSgar
  • Survey expedition: HTWE
  • Survey date: July 1, 2004
  • Contemporary usage: None.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS I
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Site Images

General site characteristics

Kolok KhargokKo logs mkhar gog is situated on the end of a rocky spur, on the southwest edge of the Senggé TsangpoSeng ge gtsang po valley. Fifteen to 30 m below the site, the Kolok ChuKo logs chu debouches from a mountain gorge. Its geographic position parallels those of other kharmkhar in GarSgar such as Zhingkhar KhargokZhing mkhar mkhar gog (A-22) and Kharlung KhargokMkhar lung mkhar gog (A-66). Below the stronghold there is a rocky piedmont – caravans plying this stretch of the Senggé TsangpoSeng ge gtsang po valley would have passed along easier terrain closer to the river’s edge. Kolok KhargokKo logs mkhar gog, an integrated complex, consists of all-stone corbelled structures (at least in part). The axis of this single cluster of low-elevation buildings runs northwest-southeast and is 36.5 m in length (the length of the spur). The complex is primarily 6 m to 8 m wide (the width of the spur). The edges of the summit are completely revetted. These prominent revetments are 1 m to 3 m in height. In some places along the rim of the rocky summit, fissures are bridged by stone members around 80 cm in length, forming the base of the revetments. Multiple ramparts guarded the main access-way to the castle on the southeast side of the spur. The entire facility was built of variable-sized uncut granite blocks (generally 20 cm to 40 in length) laid in random-rubble courses with ample amounts of mud mortar. Most of this mortar, however, has dissolved from the wall seams. Granite blocks up to 70 cm in length are found in some walls. All walls at Kolok KhargokKo logs mkhar gog are around 50 cm thick.

Extensive cultivation took place in the lands below ko logs mkhar, but these agricultural holdings were smaller than those found near mkhar gog rdo rje g.yu sgron ma (A-124), a larger facility. Currently, a few pastoral families (mostly from gyam smug township) pasture their livestock in the area. It is reported by residents that some arable land will soon be brought back into production.

Oral tradition

According to residents of the region, Kolok KhargokKo logs mkhar gog was either an ancient MönMon or SingpaSing pa castle.

Site elements

Southeast summit sector

The southeast extremity of the summit spur is 6.7 m in width. There appears to have been two rooms located here but standing walls just 50 cm in height still exist. Immediately to the northwest, at 1 m higher elevation, there is a band of at least five or six rooms stretching across 17.3 m of the summit (3 m to 6.3 m wide here). Only the footings of the partition walls are partly intact. Revetments are up to 1.7 m in height. In the east wall of this group of rooms there are the remains of the main entrance to the citadel. It rises 1.5 m and steps must have once scaled this inlet. About 2 m below the base of the entrance there is a revetted rocky ledge (5 m by 2.5 m by up to 1.9 m). The main access route to the castle appears to have passed via this ledge. This horizontal projection probably functioned as a landing and as a defensive platform if need be. About 6 m lower down there is another revetted ledge (3.5 m by 4.3 m). Approximately 6 m further down is yet another revetted ledge (6 m by 4 m). The walls lining this ledge are 3 m in height, 70 cm of which is freestanding. A stone-filled depression on top of the structure is spanned by a single in situ large stone corbel protruding 50 cm from the parapet wall. This must have been one element in either a floor or roof assembly, the rest of which is no longer extant. Between the lower ledge and the middle ledge above it there are traces of the retaining wall that were constructed around the access route, as well as another revetted ledge (2.5 m by 3 m by 1.2 m) projecting from a rock rib.

Central summit sector

The central summit sector consisted of at least 13 or 14 rooms set at about 2 m higher elevation than the southeast summit sector. These structures are highly fragmentary and their precise ground plan is no longer evident. The width of the central summit sector is around 6 m. The largest single room has a floor space measuring 2.3 m by 3.2 m. One of the rooms (2.7 m by 1.2 m) is situated below an adjoining room. The semi-subterranean aspect of this room and the small size of the rooms in general suggest that the summit complex may have been of an all-stone (dokhangrdo khang) composition. Another room (1.4 m in length) has rounded corners, a trait of all-stone corbelled edifices as well. An entranceway (1.3 m wide) opens to the two east sectors of Kolok KhargokKo logs mkhar gog. Farther south in the central summit complex there appears to have been an entrance accessing the east side of the formation. This was a twin entryway with a dividing wall between the two openings (75 cm and 85 cm wide).

Northeast sector

The northeast sector on the east flank of the summit begins about 2.5 m from the summit complex. Several steps must have once led down to the northeast sector (8 m by 6.5 m). It consisted of at least four rooms. The north portion of the northeast sector is better preserved than most other structures at Kolok KhargokKo logs mkhar gog. Standing wall segments up to 2 m in height resting upon 1 m high revetments have survived here.

Central east sector

Two meters lower and at a distance of 4.8 m from the northeast sector there is the central east sector (6.7 m by 3.2 m). The central east sector appears to have consisted of several small rooms built at two distinct elevations. The forward wall (3 m in height, 1.2 m of which is freestanding) of the lower level is punctuated by a small window opening (30 cm by 30 cm) with its lintel (50 cm in length) still in place. Along the upper extent of the rear wall of the lower level there are three large stones that protrude 25 cm outwards to create a plate, which must have helped to support the roof assembly. In the rear wall of the upper level of the central east sector there is a buttress with a massive stone corbel resting upon it. A roof slab (70 cm in length) is also in situ in a corner of an upper room. This structural evidence establishes that at least some (if not most or all) of Kolok KhargokKo logs mkhar gog was of an all-stone corbelled composition.


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.