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.2. Residential Structures in Other Locations: Religious and Elite Residences

Gekhö Kharlung (Mepa)Ge khod mkhar lung (smad pa)

Basic site data

  • Site name: Gekhö Kharlung (Mepa)Ge khod mkhar lung (smad pa)
  • English equivalent: Demon Destroyer Castle Valley (Lower)
  • Site number: B-36
  • Site typology: I.2a
  • Elevation: 4380 m to 4390 m
  • Administrative location (township): DerokSde rog
  • Administrative location (county): RutokRu thog
  • Survey expedition: HTCE
  • Survey date: May 25, 26, 2002
  • Contemporary usage: None.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS I, HAS A1
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Site Images

General site characteristics

Gekhö KharlungGe khod mkhar lung (Lower) sits on the edge of the Gekhö KharlungGe khod mkhar lung Valley. The site is under the shadow of the Gekhö KharlungGe khod mkhar lung castle (A-89), situated just to the west. Gekhö KharlungGe khod mkhar lung (Lower) is comprised of a residential complex consisting of caves and structural vestiges. Although this site is highly degraded, it appears to have once been the focus of significant settlement. The structural dispersion covers an area of 30 m by 70 m, and extends 10 m up the slope bounding the right side of the Gekhö KharlungGe khod mkhar lung valley. At the bottom end of the site there is a group of corrals built deeply into the slope. They were created from old buildings, some of the footings of which exist in the walls of the livestock pens. These corrals no longer seem to be in use. The upper part of the site consists of no less than 12 collapsed or partly collapsed caves, which had been hewn from the earth and rock of the slope. At the mouth of a few caves are traces of masonry façades. The caves appear to have been relatively small in size.

Oral tradition

According to some RutokRu thog natives, Gekhö KharlungGe khod mkhar lung (Lower) was an ancient Kel MönSkal mon residential site.

Affiliated sites

East residential structure

In the first side valley, east or upstream of the Gekhö KharlungGe khod mkhar lung citadel, there is another building foundation (33º 20.8΄ N. lat. / 79º 44.8΄ E. long. / 4420 m). This very poorly preserved structure (8 m by 12 m) is found on a moderate slope squeezed between two gullies. It appears that this was once a substantial edifice. Like most structures at Gekhö KharlungGe khod mkhar lung, this ruined building is in direct view of the BönBon holy mountain Gekhö NyenlungGe khod gnyan lung.

Valley bottom remains

In the bottom of the Gekhö KharlungGe khod mkhar lung valley, under the shadow of the ancient citadel, there appears to be many traces of manmade structures. So little evidence remains that their existence could not be positively established. The entire valley floor is covered in boulders that appear to have been deposited by a devastating flood originating from the LhalungLha lung valley. The present-day seasonal agricultural village of Gekhö KharlungGe khod mkhar lung may also have obscured traces of earlier settlement. Other archaic citadels in the region (Kharru KhargokMkhar ru mkhar gog [A-85], Posa KhargokSpo sa mkhar gog [A-84], Sherang KharlungShe rang mkhar lung [A-87], and KharpochéMkhar po che [A-86]) are associated with extensive residential remains, so we might expect that the important valley of Gekhö KharlungGe khod mkhar lung was as well. The presence of arable land in the valley adds to the likelihood that it has long been a focus of sedentary settlement.

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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.