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

Darlung GyangroDar lung gyang ro

Basic site data

  • Site name: Darlung GyangroDar lung gyang ro
  • English equivalent: Flag Valley Building Carcasses (?)
  • Site number: D-88
  • Site typology: II.2b, II.2d
  • Elevation: 4640 m
  • Administrative location (township): ZhungméGzhung smad
  • Administrative location (county): ShentsaShan rtsa
  • Survey expedition: HTCE
  • Survey date: October 1, 2002
  • Contemporary usage: Light grazing.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS VIII, HAS D4
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Sites Images

General site characteristics

Darlung GyangroDar lung gyang ro is located in the wide mouth of DarlungDar lung valley, known upstream as Chaksgo DraklungLcags sgo brag lung (Iron Door Rock Formation Valley) (see B-120). To the north, PandramPhags ’gram (sp.?), the southern branch of Tso NgonmoMtsho sngon mo, can be seen from afar. The views to the east and west are also open. The terrain is level, sandy and gravelly. Darlung GyangroDar lung gyang ro consists of six double-course quadrate funerary enclosures and one quadrate tumulus (bangsobang so). These structures tend to be large and robust, as would befit an important burial ground. The skillfully built walls of the enclosures and tumulus are generally composed of uncut pieces of light-colored limestone (30 cm to 60 cm long), which are flush with the ground surface or elevated above it to a maximum height of 20 cm to 30 cm. Most of these walls are 60 cm to 70 cm in thickness. The limestone for the construction of Darlung GyangroDar lung gyang ro is most likely to have come from Chaksgo DraklungLcags sgo brag lung.

Oral tradition

According to local drokpa’brog pa, Darlung GyangroDar lung gyang ro are the ruins of an ancient Bdud (a type of demonic or semi-divine figure) habitation. This oral tradition underscores the non-Buddhist identity of the site.

Site elements

Funerary Structure FS1

Funerary structure FS1 (8 m by 8 m) is missing the southeast side of its perimeter. The walls of this double-course enclosure are around 70 cm thick and contain stones that project a maximum of 30 cm above the ground surface. There may have been a small structural element centered inside the enclosing walls (a cist marker?), but the evidence is inconclusive.

Funerary Structure FS2

Funerary structure FS2 (2.6 m across) is a highly fragmentary small enclosure (26.348΄ / 38.859΄).

Funerary Structure FS3

Funerary structure FS3 (10 m by 11.6 m) has walls (80 cm to 1 m thick) that are aligned in the cardinal directions (26.345΄ / 38.827΄). These heavily built walls are composed of stones flush with the surface or which are raised above it to a height of 20 cm. The enclosure is partly divided into two cells by a partition wall. On the east side of this structure there is an appended rectangular enclosure (6.7 m by 4.3 m).

Funerary Structure FS4

Funerary structure FS4 (11.3 m by 8.5 m) has been reduced to small coherent wall fragments (26.400΄ / 38.838΄). The entire structure is elevated 30 cm to 70 cm above the surrounding plain.

Funerary Structure FS5

Funerary structure FS5 (15 m by 13.5 m) is a quadrate funerary mound elevated about 2 m above the surrounding terrain (26.449΄ / 38.837΄). It is aligned in the cardinal directions. Double-course wall (50 cm to 60 cm thick) fragments have survived near the rim of the structure. The entire mound is covered in rocks and gravel and vegetation is growing on top of it. Immediately south of the mound there appear to be structural traces flush with the ground surface. Adjacent to the mound, on its north side, there are three walls forming an enclosure, which are also aligned in the cardinal directions. This enclosure measures 12.7 m (north-south) by 6 m (east-west). This ancillary structure is elevated around 50 cm above the surrounding terrain. On the east side of the mound there are corrals, which were almost certainly built with stones pilfered from the mound. On top of the flat mound, near the southeast corner, a hole was excavated to a depth of around 80 cm. The rim of this hole was lined with stones extracted during the excavation to create a small pen (probably used to shelter lambs or kids at one time). The structural evidence is inconclusive but it is possible that enclosures or other types of structures once flanked all four sides of the FS5 mound in some type of symmetrical array. The size, height and centralized location of FS5 suggests that it was the highest status burial monument and/or main funerary ritual structure at Darlung GyangroDar lung gyang ro.

Funerary Structure FS6

Funerary structure FS6 is aligned in the cardinal directions and measure 13 m (north-south) by 9 m (east-west) (26.477΄ / 38.847΄). This enclosure has been reduced to a few coherent double-course wall fragments. The entire structure is slightly elevated above the surrounding terrain.

Funerary Structure FS7

Funerary structure FS7 is aligned in the cardinal directions and measures 11.4 m (north-south) by 10 m (east-west) (26.508΄ / 38.886΄). A few double-course wall segments remain in this enclosure. A large limestone boulder was transported to the site. It now rests on the south side of the enclosure. There are more minor structural traces in the vicinity of FS7.


Note Citation for Page

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

Bibliographic Citation

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