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 TsotraRdo ring mtsho bkra

Basic site data

  • Site name: Doring TsotraRdo ring mtsho bkra
  • English equivalent: Bright Lake Long-stones
  • Site number: C-12
  • Site typology: II.1a
  • Elevation: 4680 m
  • Administrative location (township): BaryangBar yangs
  • Administrative location (county): Drongpa’Brong pa
  • Survey expedition: UTAE
  • Survey date: April 15, 2001
  • Contemporary usage: Light grazing.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS XI, HAS C5
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Sites Images

General site characteristics

Doring TsotraRdo ring mtsho bkra is named for the sparkling ponds found in the vicinity of the monument. It was built on a sandy knoll situated in the midst of a large basin. This knoll is elevated about 2 m above the surrounding terrain. Pieces of milky quartz, carried to the site, probably indicate that it once had a ritual function (none is still observed). There are two main rows of pillars at Doring TsotraRdo ring mtsho bkra imprecisely oriented north-south. These meandering rows of standing stones are located on the crest of the knoll. At least two different types of rocks were used as pillars. The particular alignments made by the stelae and their situation on high ground indicate that they were never enclosed by walls of the II.1b typology.

Oral tradition

According to local lore, Drukmo’Brug mo, the wife of the epic hero GesarGe sar, used to tie her horses to the pillars of Doring TsotraRdo ring mtsho bkra. It is also said by residents of Tara GönpaRta ra dgon pa, that this was an inauspicious site until a lama came here long ago and practiced Buddhist rituals, transforming it into a Buddhist holy place (nechengnas chen) of sorts. This story seems to confirm the non-Buddhist origins of Doring TsotraRdo ring mtsho bkra.

Site elements

West row of pillars

The west row of pillars contains 12 specimens, plus five others standing east of the row. There are also several broken pillars near the south end of the west row as well as a single broken specimen at the north end. All of the stelae are tabular and between 10 cm and 30 cm in thickness. Their broad sides are oriented north and south. It is difficult to know how precisely the pillars were aligned due to their movement over the centuries. Some appear to have gradually twisted into their current positions. The west row (11.5 m long) contains 9 pillars 80 cm or more in height, with an average basal girth of around 1.2 m. The tallest pillar is 1.4 m in height and has a basal girth of 1.3 m. The smallest pillar is 50 cm in height with a basal girth of 1.1 m. The five isolated pillars are all under 70 cm in height.

East row of pillars

The east row of pillars (32 m long) is situated 14 m east of the west row. It begins nearly as far south as the west row, but extends much farther north. There are 16 pillars in the east row, several of which are broken. These pillars have the same basic characteristics and orientation as those in the west row. Four of the pillars are 1.1 m to 1.4 m in height with basal girths of around 1.2 m. The rest of the pillars are between 50 cm and 1 m in height.


Note Citation for Page

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

Bibliographic Citation

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