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.

General site characteristics

The four complexes of pillars appended to edifices of Chupur DopurChu phur rdo phur are situated on benches below an eponymous mountain.243 The site is located west of the TongtsoStong mtsho basin, but both the lake and the territorial deity (yüllhayul lha) mountain of GertséSger rtse, A Mar Rolpa KyadünA dmar rol pa rkya bdun (found west of TongtsoStong mtsho), are out of view. The terrain consists of thin, bare undulating earth with a light covering of gravel. As with a good number of the pillar complexes of Upper Tibet, there are no permanent habitations in the vicinity of the site. The preservation of the monument is probably due to its remote location and to the fairly high esteem and wonder it is held in by residents of GertséSger rtse. There are no prayer flags, manima ṇi stones or any other pre-modern or contemporary signs of religious activity at Chupur DopurChu phur rdo phur. The pillars are mostly tabular in shape and are often inclined in a downhill or northerly direction. The unbroken stelae range in height from 30 cm to 75 cm (average height about 40 cm). Uprooted specimens, up to 1 m in length, are found scattered around the site. The stelae are uncut and are available in appropriate sizes and shapes on the flanks of nearby Mount Chupur DopurChu phur rdo phur. As in many other sites with multiple pillars, the broad sides of the stelae face north to south and the thin edges are oriented east to west. Originally gray in color, many pillars have weathered to a dark reddish brown color. There are also some sandstone pillars at Chupur DopurChu phur rdo phur.

The west complex is the largest of the four arrays of standing stones and appended edifices (temple-tombs) at Chupur DopurChu phur rdo phur. It is situated on the west side of the site, squeezed between two gullies. The other three complexes (lower east, central east and upper east) are located approximately 90 meters northeast of the west complex on the far side of the east gully. The three east complexes form a line that runs transverse to the angle of the slope. The three east complex edifices, accompanying the concourses of stelae, form a row 35 m in length at the edge of the gully. These structures are not well aligned in the compass points, and they have been reduced to stony mounds with only traces of coherent wall segments still visible. The three arrays of standing stones of the east complexes have been heavily impacted by erosion and movement of the slope upon which they were erected.


[243] For details of the 2000 survey, see Bellezza, Antiquities of Upper Tibet, 119, 120.

Note Citation for Page

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

Bibliographic Citation

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