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

KhyungriKhyung ri

KhyungriKhyung ri, the main nucleus of Dangra Khyung DzongDang ra khyung rdzong, consists of the three levels of ruined residential structures built along the steep south summit of the limestone formation (31° 13.78΄ N. lat. / 86° 47.33΄ E. long. / 4790 m). These three levels, each made up of one or more buildings, embraced a total area of no less than 200 m². They are clearly the remains of a substantial installation. These ruins probably betoken the former existence of a significant fortress or palace, particularly in the archaic cultural context. The main access to the site is via a ledge that runs along the east side of the KhyungriKhyung ri. At one time, this ledge must have accommodated a buttressed stone walkway, as is found higher up the formation. All walls (65 cm to 75 cm thick) at KhyungriKhyung ri are of a random-rubble fabric and contain variable-length pieces of limestone (15 cm to 50 cm long). These walls must have been mortared, although no traces of the adhesive material are still visible. As virtually only footings have survived (and most of the rubble associated with the superstructures has fallen off the narrow formation), it is impossible to ascertain the design and height of the KhyungriKhyung ri edifices. Likewise, there are no clear indications as to what kind of roofs they possessed. In any case, many archaic cultural residential facilities on the east side of Dangra YutsoDang ra g.yu mtsho were constructed with all-stone corbelled roofs (see A-6, A-7, A-8, A-9, A-10, B-1, B-2, B-3, B-4, B-5, B-6, B-7).

Upper level

The walls of the upper level are probably aligned in the compass points. The upper level measures 10 m (east-west) by 5.5 m (north-south). Most of it has been reduced to its dissolving footings. The most developed wall fragment remaining at KhyungriKhyung ri is found on the west side of the upper level. The exterior face of this wall fragment is 1.5 m high and its interior face is 30 cm in height, the difference in elevation being accounted for by a revetment. In other areas, along the base of the upper level, the revetment attains a maximum height of 1.8 m. Other tiny coherent segments of the overlying wall footings have survived. On the narrow summit of KhyungriKhyung ri, above the upper level, there is a small prayer flag mast. A couple bits of revetments also cling to the summit. Accordingly, some type of structure associated with the archaic installation must have stood here.

Middle level

In between the upper level and middle level of KhyungriKhyung ri there is a steep slope, 7 m long (with a vertical height of approximately 4 m). There are wall traces along the base of this slope to a height of 1 m. This slope must have supported a stairway and perhaps small, tiered residential structures as well. The walls of the middle level facility are aligned in the cardinal directions. It measures 5.6 m (north-south) by 15.5 m (east-west). The most coherent wall fragment (70 cm high) is on the west side of the formation. On the east side of the middle level there are the remains of a structural extension reduced to its foundation (3 m by 5 m). It is situated 2 m higher than the main portion of the middle level.

Lower level

There are roughly 7 m vertical separating the middle level from the lower level. Along the natural limestone wall, dividing the two levels, there is masonry buttressing, the traces of a substantial stairway. The lower level structures are also aligned in the cardinal directions, and measure 6 m (north-south) by 10 m (east-west). The lower level has been reduced to fragmentary revetments and wall footings.

Götsang DrakRgod tshang brag

On the summit of a higher limestone formation called Götsang DrakRgod tshang brag there are what appear to be the poorly preserved footings of two small buildings (31°13.94΄ N. lat. / 86° 47.413΄ E. long. / 4880 m). These footings are composed of variable-length chunks of limestone, but they no longer exhibit any structural coherence. The upper structure consists of fragmentary footings, covering an area of 8.5 m by 7 m. Immediately below these footings are the faint vestiges of a smaller structure. Given its commanding views over the area, the ruins of Götsang DrakRgod tshang brag may represent the remains of a sentinel post that kept watch over the Dangra Khyung DzongDang ra khyung rdzong environs. Alternatively, or in tandem, a religious edifice may have been established here.

KhyunglaKhyung la

KhyunglaKhyung la is the small flat-topped pass north of Dangra Khyung DzongDang ra khyung rdzong. Intervening between KhyungriKhyung ri and Dangra Khyung DzongDang ra khyung rdzong is another small pass, ShamalaSha ma la. KhyunglaKhyung la was fortified with a network of blue-gray, dry-mortar ramparts. These crumbling walls were probably erected as a frontline defense for Dangra Khyung DzongDang ra khyung rdzong, protecting its more vulnerable northern flank. The ramparts were designed and built to completely seal off the approach to KhyunglaKhyung la. The two main or twin ramparts begin 20 m west of the Dangra YutsoDang ra g.yu mtsho circumambulatory trail (tsokormtsho skor) and extend west for 55 m. They are separated from one another by a distance of 10 m to 14 m. The north rampart is the best preserved (up to 1 m high and 80 cm thick). Perhaps one or more small residential structures stood amid its protective embrace. Ruined defensive walls are also found against outcrops, north and west of the twin ramparts. West of the twin ramparts there is an interconnected defensive wall that meanders along the southern rim of the pass for 50 m. Most of this wall has been leveled, but a few sections still attain 1 m in height and 1 m in thickness.


Note Citation for Page

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

Bibliographic Citation

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