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

Menla PodrangSman bla pho brang North

Basic site data

  • Site name: Menla PodrangSman bla pho brang North
  • English equivalent: Medicine Buddha Palace
  • Site number: B-41
  • Site typology: I.2a
  • Elevation: 5220 m
  • Administrative location (township): BargaBar ga
  • Administrative location (county): PurangSpu rang
  • Survey expedition: HTCE
  • Survey date: October 29, 2002
  • Contemporary usage: None.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS VI, UTRS X, HAS C4
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Site Images

General site characteristics

The single all-stone corbelled structure of Menla PodrangSman bla pho brang North is located in the valley immediately north of the Menla PodrangSman bla pho brang mountain. This hanging valley is an effluent of the Dzong ChuRdzong chu in which runs the east side of the TiséTi se pilgrim’s circuit. The dokhangrdo khang is situated on the right side of the valley about 30 m above its floor. This valley is constricted by the steep flanks of the mountains and does not enjoy the panoramic views of other dokhangrdo khang sites at TiséTi se. Its hidden location must have afforded Menla PodrangSman bla pho brang North a considerable degree of privacy and security, ideal for religious practice. It was built on a moderately angled boulder-strewn slope and is aligned in the cardinal directions. This structure is of the same type found at other locations around TiséTi se (B-9, B-10, B-20, B-21, B-22, B-33, and B-42). The most important of these, Nyenpori DzongGnyan po ri rdzong (B-22) and Gyang DrakGyang grags (B-9), are likely to have been the archaic political nerve centers of TiséTi se.

Oral tradition

None was collected.

Site elements

Menla PodrangSman bla pho brang North measures 8.7 m (east-west) by 5.5 m (north-south), not including what may have been a forward vestibule, which adds 1.5 m to its north-south dimension. The orange climax lichen growing on the dissolving walls shows that they have been standing for a very long time. No mortar was detected in the solidly built random-rubble walls. Corbels and sheathing (up to 1.5 m long) lie scattered in the rubble. Variable-length stones (12 cm to 90 cm) were carefully selected for their regular exterior faces. Walls have been reduced to 1 m to 1.5 m in height. The entranceway to the edifice is located in the outer east wall. The south-facing structure contained two rows of rooms built at almost the same elevation: north/rear and south/forward. There were probably three rooms in each row. The rear wall of the building is set only 40 cm below the uphill slope. The forward wall, which probably enclosed a vestibule, has been nearly obliterated. In the west room of the south row there is a large corbel in place. On the east side of the building there are the remains of a walled enclosure (6.5 m by 4.5 m). This must have been an open-air domestic space.


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.