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

Ngönmo DoringSngon mo rdo ring

Basic site data

  • Site name: Ngönmo DoringSngon mo rdo ring
  • English equivalent : Blue long-stones
  • Site number: C-100
  • Site typology: II.1b, II.2b
  • Elevation: 4560 m
  • Administrative location (township): Urtö’Ur stod
  • Administrative location (county): NyimaNyi ma
  • Survey expedition: UTAE
  • Survey date: June 16, 2001
  • Contemporary usage: Light grazing. The extraction of stones from the site.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: Some manima ṇi plaques and pillars carved with the manima ṇi mantra.
  • Maps: UTRS VIII
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Sites Images

General site characteristics

The important walled pillars and funerary superstructures of Ngönmo DoringSngon mo rdo ring are located near a mountain named NgönmoSngon mo (Blue One). A little farther away from the site is the mountain known as MarmoDmar mo (Red One). The views from Ngönmo DoringSngon mo rdo ring are particularly expansive in the east, and are also quite open in the north (towards Mukkar GangriSmug dkar gangs ri) and south. The view west is constrained by the local topography. The north side of the site is bounded by a small watercourse. The terrain is level, sandy and rock strewn. Ngönmo DoringSngon mo rdo ring is dominated by 18 well-preserved pillars erected inside an enclosure and two very large multi-celled enclosures.

Oral tradition

In this region (NaktsangNag tshang), pillars and walls such as those found at Ngönmo DoringSngon mo rdo ring are often connected to the ancient MönMon.

Site elements


The enclosure is aligned in the cardinal directions, and measures 7 m (north-south) by 11 m (east-west). The double-course walls of the enclosure (50 cm to 70 cm thick) contain variable-length (20 cm to 60 cm) uncut pieces of sandstone. The stones of the walls are largely flush with the ground surface. The west wall of the enclosure is missing. There are some plaques inscribed with the manima ṇi mantra inside the enclosure, reflecting the Buddhist cult status of the monument.


All 18 pillars are made of sandstone, reddish tan and beige in color. Many of the larger pillars have had the manima ṇi mantra artfully carved upon them.

North wall row

Paralleling the north wall of the enclosure, beginning at its west corner, there is a line of four pillars. From east to west, these pillars have the following dimensions and forms.

  1. Long-stone DR1: irregularly shaped (70 cm [height] by 60 cm [basal girth]).
  2. Long-stone DR2: irregularly shaped (80 cm by 90 cm).
  3. Long-stone DR3: irregularly shaped (90 cm by 70 cm).
  4. Long-stone DR4: irregularly shaped (85 cm by 95 cm).
West wall row

Paralleling what would have been the west wall is a row of 13 pillars. From north to south, these pillars have the following dimensions and forms:

  1. Long-stone DR5: tabular (70 cm by 75 cm).
  2. Long-stone DR6: tabular (60 cm by 55 cm).
  3. Long-stone DR7: irregularly shaped (95 cm by 1 m).
  4. Long-stone DR8: irregularly shaped (1.1 m by 1.2).
  5. Long-stone DR9: irregularly shaped (1.5 m by 1.1 m).
  6. Long-stone DR10: tabular, broken (65 cm by 55 cm).
  7. Long-stone DR11: irregularly shaped (1.1 m by 1.3 m).
  8. Long-stone DR12: irregularly shaped (75 cm by 75 cm).
  9. Long-stone DR13: tabular (1 m by 1.4 m).
  10. Long-stone DR14: irregularly shaped (1.7 m by 1.6 m).
  11. Long-stone DR15: irregularly shaped (1.7 m by 1.4 m).
  12. Long-stone DR16: tabular (1.2 m by 1.1 m).
  13. Long-stone DR17: tabular (1.1 m by 1.5 cm).

Against the inner edge of the south wall of the enclosure, near its west corner, there is a single irregularly shaped pillar (85 cm by 80 cm). East of the enclosure there are two long stones that appear to be dislodged pillars (1.2 m and 95 cm long).

Funerary superstructures
Funerary Structure FS1

Funerary structure FS1, a 14.5 m long arc-shaped wall fragment, is situated 14 m west of the pillars. This structural fragment (80 cm thick) appears to have made up the west wall of an enclosure. It is composed of variable length (averaging 30 cm to 40 cm long) stones laid flat, which are level with the ground surface or elevated above it a maximum of 20 cm. There are also a few other fragmentary walls of enclosures dispersed around the site, which are not enumerated in this survey.

Funerary Structure FS2

Funerary structure FS2 is situated 40 m northwest of the pillars. This very large rectangular double-course enclosure appears to have been aligned in the cardinal directions, and measures 35 m (north-south) by 9.5 m (east-west). The entire structure is elevated 1 m to 1.5 m above the surrounding plain, giving it the appearance of a funerary mound (bangsobang so). FS2 appears to have been subdivided into five cells, but only small wall segments have survived. The top of the structure undulates due to the long-term action of flowing water. The walls (50 cm to 70 cm thick) of FS2 are composed of variable length (primarily 20 cm to 50 cm long) stones laid flat on the ground. Connected to the north side of FS2 there is a square enclosure (6.5 m by 6.5) of the same construction.

Funerary Structure FS3

Funerary structure FS3, a sub-rectangular double-course enclosure, is situated 30 m west of FS2. Stones from this poorly preserved structure have been recently pilfered in order to build the one homestead of DoringRdo ring, located on the north side of the watercourse that bounds the archaeological site. FS2 appears to have been aligned in the cardinal directions, and measures 44 m (north-south) by 14 m (east-west). It was probably subdivided into four or five cells by north-south running walls. The walls (60 cm to 90 cm thick) of the enclosure are made of variable-length stones flush with the ground surface or slightly raised above it. Many stones from FS2 have been dislodged and now lie strewn across the vicinity. The west wall of FS2 is very uneven and the southwest corner of the enclosure is rounded. A partition wall on the south end of the structure is still quite well preserved.

Funerary Structure FS4

Funerary structure FS4 is situated 56 m southwest of FS2, on a gently inclined slope that adjoins a ridge spur. Measuring 16 m (north-south) by 22 m (east-west), this rectangular enclosure also appears to have been aligned in the cardinal directions. It was subdivided into two cells of unequal size. The walls are similar in construction to its counterparts: most stones were laid flat and are level with the surface, but there are also a few slabs that were placed edgewise into the ground and which are elevated a maximum of 50 cm above ground level.


Note Citation for Page

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

Bibliographic Citation

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