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

Yitsé KharYid rtse mkhar

Basic site data

  • Site name: Yitsé KharYid rtse mkhar
  • English equivalent: Delight Peak Castle
  • Site number: E-31
  • Site typology: II.3
  • Elevation: 4990 m
  • Administrative location (township): KongchenKong chen
  • Administrative location (county): GegyéDge rgyas
  • Survey expedition: TUE
  • Survey date: September 19, 2005
  • Contemporary usage: None.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS VI, HAS A2
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Sites Images

General site characteristics

Yitsé KharYid rtse mkhar is located on an eponymous mountain a little below its summit. At the southeast base of the sacred Yitsé KharYid rtse mkhar mountain there is a high volume spring, the source of the Kongchen ChuKong chen chu. Yitsé KharYid rtse mkhar mountain occupies a salient position near the confluence of several valleys and basins. The remains of three cubic tombs are found on a relatively level stretch of ground, which is hemmed in by three large crags. These tombs are perched 230 m above the KongchenKong chen valley and occupy elevated rocky ground. From the site there are long views in all directions except in the north, the direction of the Yitsé KharYid rtse mkhar summit (5030 m). The terrain is sandy and thickly covered in rocks. The cubic tombs are constructed of a blue-gray grained metamorphic (?) rock of variable length (up to 60 cm long), which has weathered to a reddish color. Some of the stones of the central chambers have orange climax lichen growing on them. Although the tombs are in poor condition, they do not appear to have been disturbed for a long time.

As with virtually all the cubic tombs sites, those of Yitsé KharYid rtse mkhar were probably desecrated when Buddhism became the banner of the dominant political forces of the region. This destruction of tombs was probably part of the process of subjugation and the severing of the old sociopolitical links of which they were apart. The mountaintop cubic tombs, by virtue of their prominent and lofty positions, were conspicuous symbols of the archaic cultural order.

Oral tradition

According to local drokpa’brog pa, Yitsé KharYid rtse mkhar is an ancient MönMon monument.

Site elements

The outer shells of the three cubic tombs have largely disintegrated. Only tiny coherent wall fragments are extant. None of the tombs appears to have been well aligned in the cardinal directions. The central chambers (reliquaries) of the tombs were carefully constructed.

Funerary Structure FS1

Funerary structure FS1 (2 m by 2.7 m by 1 [maximum height]) has a partially intact central chamber, which measures 45 cm by 35 cm by 40 cm (depth).

Funerary Structure FS2

Funerary structure FS2 (2.1 m by 2.3 m by 70 cm) is located 15 m east of FS1 at the same elevation. The base of the central chamber is intact (50 cm by 80 cm by 35 cm [maximum depth]).

Funerary Structure FS3

Funerary structure FS3 (2 m by 1.5 m by 60 cm) is 4.5 m south of and 1.5 m lower than FS2. The fragmentary base of the central chamber is approximately the same size as that in FS2.


Note Citation for Page

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

Bibliographic Citation

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