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

Drakchak KhongkhaBrag chag khong kha

Basic site data

  • Site name: Drakchak KhongkhaBrag chag khong kha (sp.?)
  • Site number: A-55
  • Site typology: I.1x
  • Elevation: 4320 m
  • Administrative location (township): KhyunglungKhyung lung
  • Administrative location (county): TsamdaRtsa mda'
  • Survey expedition: UTAE
  • Survey date: May 1 and September 6, 2001
  • Contemporary usage: The wholesale removal of stones from the site has occurred in recent years.
  • Identifiable Buddhist emblems and constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS V, UTRS X, HAS C3
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Site Images

General site characteristics

Drakchak KhongkhaBrag chag khong kha is located on a fairly flat summit rising 20 m above the left bank of the Sutlej (Sutlej river). This summit (35 m by 10 m to 18 m) commands excellent vistas of both sectors of KhyunglungKhyung lung village, YültöYul stod and YülméYul smad. The site supports a fairly dense collection of dismantled residential ruins. The structural evidence gleaned from the few standing walls surviving (up to 1.5 m in height), indicates that the buildings once found here had roofs constructed from timbers. Remaining walls were built of random-rubble and may have been of the dry-stone variety. The rim of the hilltop appears to have been circumvallated but very little of this wall remains intact. The stones extracted from Drakchak KhongkhaBrag chag khong kha have been used to build a crude wall around the agricultural landholdings of YülméYul smad, which is watered by a stream called ChubukChu sbug.

Oral tradition

According to elders of KhyunglungKhyung lung, Drakchak KhongkhaBrag chag khong kha is an ancient habitation long in ruins, which was part of KorönKo ron (sp.?), the original settlement of KhyunglungKhyung lung.

Affiliated sites

Minor archaeological sites in the environs of KorönKo ron
Stone platforms

Stone platforms are found in GyangdrakRgyang brag (the site of a lone rebuilt chötenmchod rten). This site is located immediately north of Drakchak KhongkhaBrag chag khong kha, atop an unnamed flat limestone formation. The site consists of four elevated limestone masonry enclosures. These quadrate structures measure 7 m by 5m to 8 m, 6 m by 8 m, 4.5 m by 4.5 m, and 6 m by 6 m. These lightly built platforms are raised around 70 cm above the surface of the formation. Their function is unknown. Nearby, on a limestone shelf overlooking the Sutlej, are traces of single-course slab wall enclosures

Ruined building

On top of a flat limestone formation, closer to the bank of the Sutlej, there are two chötenmchod rten, which were intact until the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Next to them are the remains of a building (12 m by 6 m) with a stone foundation and mud-brick walls up to 2 m in elevation. This structure was destroyed before living memory. At this site, a light-colored round stone (15 cm by 25 cm by 80 cm circumference) was found with deeply engraved but highly eroded scrollwork around one side of it. This carving appears to be of considerable age.

Stone depressions

In the plain east of GyangdrakGyang brag (Walled Formation) is a beehive-shaped outcrop that functioned as an incense brazier (incense brazier) during the horse racing festival held in the pre-modern times. Incense was burnt in a spherical depression in the top of this outcrop. A little to the east is a cylindrical hole in an outcrop said to resemble a large monastic horn (dungchendung chen). This orifice appears to be manmade.

Do SerpoRdo ser po

Closer to YültöYul stod, in the mouth of the cultivated TingmurTing mur valley,43 there is a small hill called Do SerpoRdo ser po (Yellow Rock), which hosts the new KhyunglungKhyung lung monastery built in the 1980s.44 According to the octogenarian Metsé WangMes tshe dbang, a native elder of KhyunglungKhyung lung, a ruined temple was found at Do SerpoRdo ser po, which had the ground-plan similar to that of Lhakhang GyatsaLha khang brgya rtsa, a chapel founded at TodingMtho lding. Elders are under the impression that there was once an ancient settlement at Do SerpoRdo ser po but very little can be detected on the surface. The faint remains of walls supporting terraces, especially on the west side of the hill, are in evidence.


[43] TingmurTing mur is one of a number of Zhang ZhungZhang zhung language toponyms in KhyunglungKhyung lung. It denotes the color blue but may once have had other meanings as well. Up valley from the contemporary YültöYul stod settlement there is an old agricultural zone called MurtiMur ti, brought back into cultivation during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. In the Zhang ZhungZhang zhung language, MurtiMur ti means “a spring” (Bellezza, Zhang ZhungZhang zhung, 150). It is said that in ancient times instead of a plow, a planting stick (pundepphur ’debs) was used to plant seeds in places like MurtiMur ti and TingmurTing mur. According to local lore, only one seed at a time was planted using this slow but effective method. Muti RongMu ti rong, a locale between KhyunglungKhyung lung and Jomo RirangJo mo ri rang, also possesses a Zhang ZhungZhang zhung name. Other possible Zhang ZhungZhang zhung toponyms in the vicinity of KhyunglungKhyung lung are KorönKo ron, PuktiPhug ti, SatiSa ti, NyikyinNyi skyin, [LatséLa rtse] KaliKa li, HugyuHru gyu, and MarchaSmar ca’a. The GugéGu ge region appears to have the highest proportion of place names in Upper Tibet that owe their origins to the Zhang ZhungZhang zhung language.
[44] A stone model of an archaic chötenmchod rten was discovered in Do SerpoRdo ser po by local residents during excavations. It is 11 cm in height, hollow and dark-colored. It has a fairly tall base surmounted by five graduated tiers and is crowned by a small, almost round bumpabum pa.

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.