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

Doring GyaplungRdo ring rgyab lung

Basic site data

  • Site name: Doring GyaplungRdo ring rgyab lung
  • English equivalent: Rear Valley Long-stones
  • Site number: C-23
  • Site typology: II.1a, II.2b
  • Elevation: 4700 m
  • Administrative location (township): ChönkhorChos ’khor
  • Administrative location (county): Drongpa’Brong pa
  • Survey expedition: HTCE
  • Survey date: April 25, 2002
  • Contemporary usage: Light grazing.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS XI, HAS C6
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Sites Images

General site characteristics

Doring GyaplungRdo ring rgyab lung is located in the YorchuYor chu valley, just north of or “behind” Doring RaktsukRdo ring rag gtsug (C-107). The site is situated on a prominence overlooking the southern edge of a small plateau. The view east of Gyaplung DoringRgyab lung rdo ring is closely hemmed in by a ridge, an unusual geographic orientation for Upper Tibetan funerary sites. The terrain is moderately sloping and sandy. Although rocks are scattered around the proximity, there are no definite signs that the pillars of Doring GyaplungRdo ring rgyab lung were enclosed. The quite severe gradient of the site is not in conformance with the customary topographical placement of this monument typology. The 11 in situ pillars of the site are gray to red color. The pillars, standing on high ground, overlook the five funerary enclosures of the site. The uncut menhirs are tilted at various angles, heavily worn and discolored. While the broad faces of the tabular specimens tend to face north and south, there are considerable variations (probably, at least in part, due to geomorphologic changes).

Oral tradition

According to local sources, a primordial monument.

Site elements


From south to north, the pillars of Doring GyaplungRdo ring rgyab lung have the following dimensions and forms:

  1. Long-stone DR1: tabular (90 cm [height] by 1 m [basal girth]). This is an outlying specimen.
  2. Long-stone DR2: irregularly shaped (50 cm by 60 cm). This is also an outlying specimen.
  3. Long-stones DR3 to DR8 form an uneven line of pillars:
  4. Long-stone DR3: four-sided (80 cm by 50 cm). To the south of DR3 there is an uprooted pillar (1.1 m by 60 cm [girth]).
  5. Long-stone DR4: tabular (1.1 m by 70 cm).
  6. Long-stone DR5: tabular (1.2 m by 90 cm).
  7. Long-stone DR6: four-sided (1 m by 70 cm).
  8. Long-stone DR7: probably broken (30 cm by 40 cm).
  9. Long-stone DR8: probably broken (20 cm by 40 cm).
  10. Long-stones DR9 to DR11 form another grouping.
  11. Long-stone DR9: tabular (1.4 m by 90 cm).
  12. Long-stone DR10: tabular (65 cm by 1 m).
  13. Long-stone DR11: tabular (90 cm by 1 m).

Immediately north of the pillars there is an incomplete enclosure (18 m across) that was built on a broad slope. The north wall is missing in this structure. The perimeter walls are of an indeterminate construction type. They are composed of both slabs and blocks that average 30 cm to 40 cm in length. This structure is likely to be funerary in function.

Funerary superstructures

The five double-course enclosures of Doring GyaplungRdo ring rgyab lung are found on a gently inclined broad slope. The terrain is gravel strewn and almost devoid of vegetation. These five structures are equidistant from the group of pillars, forming an arc around them. They appear to have been quadrate and possibly ovoid in form, and were constructed primarily with blocky stones.

Funerary Structure FS1

Funerary structure FS1 (5.6 m by 6.3 m) is situated 60 m west of the pillars at approximately 10 m lower elevation. Most stones in the perimeter walls of this poorly preserved enclosure are even with the ground surface, but a few rise slightly above it.

Funerary Structure FS2

Funerary structure FS2 (7.7 m by 8 m) is situated 10 m north/upslope of FS1. The walls (50 cm to 70 cm thick) of this quadrate double-course enclosure are relatively intact, and are composed of upright blocks and slabs (primarily 30 cm to 50 cm long). These stones protrude as much as 20 cm above the ground surface.

Funerary Structure FS3

Funerary structure FS3 (6 m across) is situated 23 m northeast of FS2 and somewhat upslope (52.394΄ / 10.321΄). FS3 is a poorly preserved specimen.

Funerary Structure FS4

Funerary structure FS4 is situated 12 m east of FS3 and slightly upslope (52.396΄ / 10.328΄). Little remains of this structure.

Funerary Structure FS5

Funerary structure FS5, the highest elevation funerary superstructure at the site, is situated 58 m north of the pillars (52.395΄ / 10.337΄). About 50 percent of its double-course upright block walls (40 cm thick) are intact. These stones (average length around 30 cm) are flush with the ground level or elevated, up to 15 cm higher.


Note Citation for Page

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

Bibliographic Citation

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