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

Tremo KharSpre mo mkhar

Basic site data

  • Site name: Tremo KharSpre mo mkhar
  • English equivalent: Female Ape Castle
  • Site number: E-26
  • Site typology: II.3
  • Elevation: 4930 m
  • Administrative location (township): BargaBar ga
  • Administrative location (county): PurangSpu rang
  • Survey expedition: HTCE
  • Survey date: October 26, 2002
  • Contemporary usage: Light grazing.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: manima ṇi wall.
  • Maps: UTRS V, UTRS X, HAS C4
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Sites Images

General site characteristics

Tremo KharSpre mo mkhar is located in the ZhungsaGzhung sa region on an eponymous hilltop. This hilltop rises 300 m above the BargaBar ga plain and has unobstructed 360° views. The Tremo KharSpre mo mkhar hilltop is the only place in the middle of the celebrated pilgrimage place known to the BönpoBon po as Gangritso SumGangs ri mtsho gsum where its three main sacred geographic features, Gangkar TiséGangs dkar ti se, Tso MapangMtsho ma pang and Pori NgedenSpos ri ngad ldan, can be seen simultaneously. All four structures of Tremo KharSpre mo mkhar are built of uncut variable-length tan blocks laid in random-rubble courses. The identification of these structures is hampered by the very poor state of the extant remains. They appear to be either representatives of the cubic tomb typology or closely related monuments. There is an old manima ṇi wall on the summit of Tremo KharSpre mo mkhar, which may have been constructed to symbolically and ritually bring Tremo KharSpre mo mkhar under the auspices of Buddhism.

Oral tradition

According to local sources, ancient fortifications belonging to the SingpaSing pa once stood at Tremo KharSpre mo mkhar.

Site elements

Funerary Structure FS1

On the north slope of the hill, approximately 20 m below the lower west summit, there is a square masonry structure (3.3 m by 3.3 m), which is about 70 cm in height (FS1). The overlapping upper courses of stonework indicate that this structure was originally not much taller than it is today. It is very likely to have had a stone roof. Inside FS1 are four small spaces that were either used for sleeping or to accommodate burials or the deposition of relics. These compartments constitute a highly unusual design trait not encountered elsewhere in Upper Tibet.

Within 30 m of FS1 there are three highly deteriorated constructions. These may possibly be the faint remains of mountaintop cubic tombs. They have the following dimensions and characteristics:

  1. Funerary structure FS2: (1.6 m by 1.9 m) has been reduced to its base.
  2. Funerary structure FS3: (3 m by 3 m) has been leveled to its 50 cm high base. FS2 appears to have been oriented in the cardinal directions.
  3. Funerary structure FS4: (1.5 m by 1.8 m) has been reduced to its crumbling base.

In addition to these four structures, there may be other structural traces on the same rocky slope.

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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.