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.3. Cubic mountaintop tombs

Cheri TeldzongPhye ri thal rdzong

Basic site data

  • Site name: Cheri TeldzongPhye ri thal rdzong
  • English equivalent: Sand Mountain Dust Fortress
  • Site number: E-22
  • Site typology: II.3
  • Elevation: 4840 m
  • Administrative location (township): RuntorRu ’thor
  • Administrative location (county): Drongpa’Brong pa
  • Survey expedition: HTCE
  • Survey date: June 14, 2002
  • Contemporary usage: None.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS VI, HAS D1
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Sites Images

General site characteristics

Cheri TeldzongPhye ri thal rdzong is located on a small sandy shelf, just below the eponymous rocky peak. The site overlooks the ZhingsaZhing sa basin and the great salt lake, Ngangla RingtsoNgang la ring mtsho. It consists of a single rectangular structure that appears to have been oriented in the cardinal directions. While it is certain that Cheri TeldzongPhye ri thal rdzong belongs to a different typology than the common cubic tomb of western Tibet, it was placed in this category of sites because of its lofty location and possible mortuary function. Nevertheless, given its general form, it is also possible that this monument represents an archaic cultural shrine of the sekhargsas mkhar or tenkharrten mkhar class. According to RuntorRu ’thor elders, the environs of ZhingsaZhing sa were cultivated in ancient times. It may be expected then, that shrines for the ritual upkeep of the farming community were established at this locale.

Oral tradition

According to local drokpa’brog pa, Cheri TeldzongPhye ri thal rdzong is an ancient monument.

Site elements

The cubic structure of Cheri TeldzongPhye ri thal rdzong measures 7.2 m (north-south) by approximately 2.2 m (east-west) by 80 cm to 2 m in height. There are small coherent wall sections on the east and west sides of the structure and a relatively large section of intact stonework on the south side. Cheri TeldzongPhye ri thal rdzong is of random-rubble construction and is composed of variable-length blocky stones (30 cm by 60 cm long). Both a dark-colored grainy rock and a light-colored conglomerate were used in its construction.

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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.