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.

Site elements

Appended edifice

The edifice (temple-tomb) appended to the array of pillars is generally aligned in the cardinal directions, and measures 17 m (north-south) by 10.5 m (east-west). This formidable structure is still 5 m to 6 m in height. Originally, this building may have even been taller. The coursed-rubble outer walls were made to a very high order of proficiency, and are around 70 cm in thickness. Some of the courses of stones are positioned diagonally to create a herringbone pattern. The walls of the edifice are primarily composed of chunks of a reddish calcareous rock, with thick seams between each course. These seams must have been filled with a mud- or clay-based mortar. The interior face of the outer walls and certain internal partition walls appear to have been mostly composed of brown sandstone slabs. Some of the sandstone rubble of the ruin may also have comprised the all-stone corbelled roof assembly. The stonework of the west and north walls (the two most intact sides) are interspersed with three courses of thin sandstone bond-stones (50 cm to 90 cm long).

Unfortunately, the temple-tomb edifice is far too fragmentary for an accurate assessment of its ground plan. It has disintegrated into a huge masonry mass in which few design details have survived. Most of the structure appears to have been subdivided by a longitudinal partition wall (around 70 cm thick) into west and east halves, each portion of which is further subdivided by walls into several compartments. These compartments appear to have been of various sizes. They probably functioned as burial chambers and perhaps for the conduct of funerary rituals as well. This is the only clear example of an edifice belonging to this monument typology that was subdivided by a wall longitudinally. Also, most appended edifices seem to house far fewer internal compartments than the structure at Towo MarhrangTho bo dmar hrang. There is a small prayer flag mast (darchokdar lcog) and a fragment of an inscribed plaque on the high point of the edifice.

Pillar Array

The array of pillars is oriented in the cardinal directions, and measures 18.5 m (north-west) by 49 m (east-west). The array contains around 250 standing stones, a significant portion of which are broken. These in situ pillars represent less than 20 percent of the original number that stood in the concourse. These pillars currently come within 2 m to 4 m of the appended edifice. The pillars are between 10 cm and 80 cm in height, and are made of sandstone, white granite and other kinds of rocks. All the taller pillars are inclined due to the effect of gravity. There are also quite a few dislodged menhirs scattered around the array, the longest of which is 1.5 m. As is normal in this monument typology, the two broad faces of the tabular pillars face north and south.

There are fragments of double-course slab walls and perhaps single-course slab walls bordering the array. The individual slabs of these walls are up to 1.2 m in length, and were inserted into the ground edgewise. To the east of the array there are two fragmentary double-course slabs walls, which extend 8 m and 10 m east of the most easterly pillar. One of these slab walls is located east of the south side of the array, while the other one is situated 4.5 m north of its counterpart. An L-shaped slab-wall fragment (3 m and 5 m long) is also found 23 m east of the northeast corner of the pillar array. This structure may mark the easternmost extent of the slab-wall network of the site.

Funerary enclosures

Roughly 15 m west of the edifice there is an ovoid heaped-stone wall funerary enclosure (about 10 m across). Its walls are around 30 cm in height. There is also a smaller funerary structure situated halfway between this enclosure and the edifice. It consists of a dense dispersion of stones with no evidence of ordered walls.


Note Citation for Page

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

Bibliographic Citation

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