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.2. Superficial structures: Primarily funerary superstructure

Dripra MöndurGrib ra mon dur

Basic site data

  • Site name: Dripra MöndurGrib ra mon dur
  • English equivalent: Contamination Enclosures MönMon Tombs
  • Site number: D-62
  • Site typology: II.2b
  • Elevation: 4720 m
  • Administrative location (township): BargaBar ga
  • Administrative location (county): PurangSpu rang
  • Survey expedition: HTCE
  • Survey date: May 10, 2002
  • Contemporary usage: Light grazing.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS V, UTRS X, HAS C4
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Sites Images

General site characteristics

Dripra MöndurGrib ra mon dur is located on a wide tableland, bordered on one side by a small white mountain known as ShartséShar rtse. The site forms the geographic nexus of the confluence of four valleys. The celebrated holy mountain, Gangkar TiséGangs dkar ti se, is visible from Dripra MöndurGrib ra mon dur. The terrain at this important funerary site is level and gravelly with some turf and dramagra ma brush. Dripra MöndurGrib ra mon dur consists of no less than 45 square, rectangular and sub-rectangular enclosures. Some of the enclosures appear almost oval in form, but this is most likely due to the deterioration of the perimeter walls and the migration of the constituent stones. A number of enclosures are elevated as much as 50 cm to 60 cm above the surrounding terrain. Aligning walls to the cardinal directions is not a dominant feature of the site. A few enclosures still have coherent wall fragments (60 cm to 85 cm thick). These double-course or multiple-course walls are composed of smaller beige, tan and grayish stones (10 cm to 40 cm long), which are even with the ground level or slightly elevated above it. Due to the disintegration of the superstructures, it could not be determined if other wall types are also represented at Dripra MöndurGrib ra mon dur. While most enclosures are free of internal structures, certain specimens are completely covered in stones, which may possibly signal another form of design. The monuments of Dripra MöndurGrib ra mon dur do not appear to have been disturbed in recent times.

Oral tradition

Dripra MöndurGrib ra mon dur contains structures commonly known as möndurmon dur (MönMon tombs) and Mönramon ra (MönMon enclosures). According to one local drokpa’brog pa, the remains found here are those of SingpaSing pa (invaders from the northwest) fortifications. According to another local account, the structures of Dripra MöndurGrib ra mon dur were the residences of a band of sinmosrin mo (a class of man-eating female spirits) in ancient times.

Site elements

The funerary superstructures of Dripra MöndurGrib ra mon dur have the following dimensions and characteristics:

  1. Funerary structure FS1 (6.5 m across) is situated at the northwest end of the site. Three of its walls are somewhat intact.
  2. Funerary structure FS2 is situated 20 m southwest of FS1. The walls of this enclosure are slightly elevated above the surrounding terrain. Immediately to the south and east are three smaller and less well-preserved enclosures.
  3. Funerary structure FS3 (9 m by 7 m) is situated 13 m east of FS2. The entire structure is covered in stone residuum.
  4. Funerary structure FS4 (7.2 m by 7.6 m) is situated 6.8 m east of FS3. Much of the perimeter is intact.
  5. Funerary structure FS5 (4.7 m by 5.5 m) is situated 2.5 m south of FS3. FS5 is comprised of two interconnected rectangular cells.
  6. Funerary structure FS6 (4.6 m by 4.6 m) is situated 14 m south of FS2 and 7 m west of FS5.
  7. Funerary structure FS7 (21.6 m by 14.3 m) is connected to FS5 by a wall, making the demarcation between both structures ambiguous. FS7 is comprised of several interconnected cells. On its northwest perimeter, wall stones are heaped up to a height of 50 cm. On the south side of FS7 there is a wall running in a southwest direction for 37 m. This wall appears to be in line with Mount TiséTi se. Superstructures west of FS7 are located in the proximity of this wall.
  8. Funerary structure FS8 (7.9 m by 7.5 m) is situated 14 m south of FS2. FS2 now has an ovoid form.
  9. Funerary structure FS9 (5.8 m by 6 m) is situated 5 m southeast of FS8. Immediately to the east of FS9 are the remnants of another enclosure.
  10. Funerary structure FS10 (5.9 m by 6.6 m) is situated 11.5 m southeast of FS9.
  11. Funerary structure FS11 (28 m by 18.8 m) is situated 11.5 m southeast of FS10. This large structure is made up of around seven cells. FS11 is raised as much as 50 cm above the adjoining terrain.
  12. Funerary structure FS12 (6.4 m by 6.1 m) is situated 1.5 m east of the center portion of FS10.
  13. Funerary structure FS13, a highly fragmentary enclosure, is situated 7 m east of the northeast corner of FS11.
  14. Funerary structure FS14 (4.2 m by 5.3 m) is situated 9 m south of FS12.
  15. Funerary structure FS15 (5.9 m by 6 m) is situated 12 m south of FS14.
  16. Funerary structure FS16 (19.8 m by 15.3 m) is situated 12 m south of FS12 (00.363΄ / 04.367΄). FS16 is comprised of three interconnected cells. Its perimeter walls are up to 50 cm in height and may be of the heaped-stone wall type. Immediately southeast of FS16 are wall fragments of another enclosure.
  17. Funerary structure FS17 (3.6 m by 3.6 m) is situated 16.5 m southeast of FS16 (00.353΄ / 04.376΄).
  18. Funerary structure FS18 (6.3 m by 7.2 m) is situated 1.7 m southeast FS17 (00.349΄ / 04.381΄).
  19. Funerary structure FS19 (6.6 m by 6.8 m) is situated 9.5 m southeast of FS18 (00.341΄ / 04.390΄). FS19 is located on the southeast end of the site.
  20. Funerary structure FS20 (4.5 m by 4.6 m) is situated 11 m south of FS16 (00.348΄ / 04.362΄).
  21. Funerary structure FS21 (4.7 m by 5.8 m) is situated 2 m west of FS20 (00.351΄ / 04.356΄). FS21 is located at the edge of a bench that overlooks a small river valley which drains the vicinity.
  22. Funerary structure FS22 (5.8 m by 5 m) is situated 15.7 m southwest of FS5 (00.401΄ / 04.335΄).
  23. Funerary structure FS23 (8 m by 7.8 m) is situated 4 m south of FS22 (00.399΄ / 04.335΄).
  24. Funerary structure FS24 (4.4 m by 3.6 m) is situated 4.5 m southeast of FS22 (00.397΄ / 04.344΄).
  25. Funerary structure FS25 (5.9 m by 5.8 m) is situated 5 m south of FS23 (00.387΄ / 04.338΄).
  26. Funerary structure FS26 (20 m by 20 m) is situated 4.7 m southeast of FS25 and 18.7 m southwest of FS7 (00.379΄ / 04.344΄). FS26 consists of around six interconnected cells.
  27. Funerary structure FS27 (13.7 m by 6.5 m) is situated 5 m southwest of FS26 near the rim of the bench (00.367΄ / 04.334΄). FS27 is comprised of two interconnected cells.
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Note Citation for Page

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

Bibliographic Citation

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