Tibetan and Himalayan Library - THL

THL Title Text
by John Vincent Bellezza
Edited by Geoffrey Barstow, Mickey Stockwell and Michael White
Tibetan & Himalayan Library
Published under the THL Digital Text License.

II.1. Stelae and accompanying structures: Funerary and non-funerary structures

DoringRdo ring

Basic site data

  • Site name: DoringRdo ring
  • English equivalent: Long-stone
  • Site number: C-166
  • Site typology: II.1a
  • Elevation: 4350 m
  • Administrative location (township): DongpoGdong spo
  • Administrative location (county): TsamdaRtsa mda’
  • Survey expedition: TUE
  • Survey date: September 10, 2005
  • Contemporary usage: Light grazing.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS V, UTRS X, HAS C3
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Sites Images

General site characteristics

DoringRdo ring is located below the confluence of two canyons known as SuyakSu yag (sp.?) and Jashang ShangBya shang shang. The site is situated on a well-drained gravelly prominence elevated about 10 m above the east side of the canyon floor. The canyon floor boasts a perennial stream and tall grass, which is cut for fodder. The site is dominated by a single pillar that was erected on moderately sloping ground.

Oral tradition

According to residents of DongpoGdong spo, DoringRdo ring magically arose on its own in ancient times. It is considered a good fortune stone (yangdog.yang rdo).

Site elements

The highly weathered main pillar is made of a gray rock (1.3 m [height] by 80 cm [basal girth]). It has four sides that are generally aligned in the intermediate points. The tip of the pillar has been partially broken. A few stones are scattered around its base. The base of a second, much smaller pillar (15 cm by 18 cm) is situated 1.45 m to the north. Reportedly, this pillar was broken by a youth in the early 1960s. A tabular stone (50 cm basal girth) that projects 20 cm above ground level is situated 75 cm north of the broken pillar. There are also two slabs fixed in the ground 90 cm north of the tabular stone. These slabs are 20 cm and 40 cm in length and protrude about 10 cm above ground level. The three projecting stones were deliberately planted in the ground. Given the scant structural evidence, however, it is not clear what type of structure these and other stones on the site may have constituted.

Affiliated sites

NgöyuDngos g.yu

NgöyuDngos g.yu, a site with substantial arable land, lies downstream of DoringRdo ring in the same drainage system (31° 07.080΄ N. lat. / 80° 11.399΄ E. long. / 4210 m). No farming has taken place here in living memory. An attempt was made in the Chinese Cultural Revolution to restore water to NgöyuDngos g.yu but this project proved a failure. The loss of water resources for irrigation can largely be attributed to the long-term desiccation of the GugéGu ge region. Recently, two houses were built by herders amid the old agricultural holdings. In close proximity to these houses there is a rammed-earth residential carcass (13 m by 7 m) that has been converted into a livestock pen. Downstream of the benches on which the defunct farm fields lie there is a bifurcation in the canyon. On the tip of the spur dividing the two branch canyons there is a ruined chötenmchod rten and above it, a rammed-earth structure (7 m by 13 m by 2.5 m). Above the rammed-earth structure there is a stone building foundation (15 m by 5 m). These residential structures straddling the spur are said to be the castle ruins of a local chieftain, who had the title of ngöyu chupöndngos g.yu bcu dpon. (sp.?). These ruins can be confidently ascribed to Buddhist architectural styles that became common after 1000 CE.

About 1 km upstream of the ngöyu chupöndngos g.yu bcu dpon site, at the next bifurcation in the canyon, there are several ruined chötenmchod rten and an adobe-block carcass, the remains of a Buddhist chapel (lhakanglha khang) in all probability (4260 m). Nearby, there are two clusters containing a total of around 15 caves that were hewn from the earthen formation. These cave complexes may have constituted the original locus of settlement in NgöyuDngos g.yu.

ShediShel did

The remains of a large dispersion are found in the bottom of the DongpoGdong spo valley, above the west bank of the Dongpo TsangpoGdong spo gtsang po (31° 07.4΄ N. lat. / 80° 07.2΄ E. long. / 4130 m). This site known as ShediShel did (sp.?) consists of contiguous piles of stone rubble and depressions in the ground. No authoritative oral tradition about ShediShel did could be collected. It is said that some of the pits on the site are the remains of old gold mines. ShediShel did may possibly represent the traces of an early settlement in the DongpoGdong spo valley, a valley without cave complexes to speak of. The site was constructed from red, blue and gray cobbles. ShediShel did can be divided into two sectors: northwest (170 m by 200 m) and southeast (90 m by 100 m).

The northwest sector dispersion of ShediShel did is devoid of stone wall fragments. There is, however, a rammed-earth carcass (5 m by 13 m by 3.5 m) in the northwest sector. It is built on a prominence that overlooks the Dongpo TsangpoGdong spo gtsang po. The long straight walls and truncated west end of this structure are in conformance with Buddhist temple construction, particularly that of the 11th to 15th century CE. The existence of this ruin confirms the testament of one elderly resident, claiming that a Buddhist facility once existed at ShediShel did. This high elevation edifice appears to belong to a latter phase of construction than the superficial stone dispersions surrounding it. The main link road in DongpoGdong spo cuts right through the northwest sector, and stones taken from it were used to line the roadbed. The southeast sector contains disintegrated revetments, a clear indication that superstructures of some kind once stood here. The revetment fragments reach a maximum height of 1.5 m. A corral and chötenmchod rten were recently built in the southeast sector.


Note Citation for Page

John Vincent Bellezza, (Charlottesville, VA: Tibetan & Himalayan Library, 2010), .

Bibliographic Citation

John Vincent Bellezza. . Charlottesville, VA: Tibetan & Himalayan Library, 2010.