Tsaparang monastery, (near) Zanda, Xizang, CN

Raw data

"Ruins of Guge Kingdom : The ruins of Guge Kingdom are situated on a mountain in Zhabran Village, at a distance of around 18 km west of the county town of Zhada. The kingdom was founded by a descendant of King Glang Darma in the 10th century after his flight from Lhasa (because of the fall of the Tubo kingdom). The kingdom vanished all of a sudden around 400 years back but left back ruins that have become a an invaluable heritage of Tibet. Excavations done in 1985 have spring up many sculptural works and mural paintings. Houses, cave dwellings, monasteries and stupas were also unearthed."

"Zhabran, the capital was located by the southern bank of Xiangquanhe River, 18 km from the present county town of Zhada."

"Guge Kingdom has attracted many explorers, tourists, photographers and artists from all over the world. Englishman Michael Young was the first person who investigated the ruins. In 1912, he traveled along Xiangquanhe River from India and reached the place. The real scientific investigation took place in 1985, when the Tibetan Cultural Committee organized a team to investigate the place. Their field work showed that there are a total of 1,416 surviving pieces of architecture, including 879 caves, 445 houses, 58 blockhouses, 28 pagodas, and four tunnels, which lead in all directions inside the architectural group. […] The ruins of Guge Kingdom are located on a mountain in Zhabran Village, which is 18 km west of the county town of Zhada."

Input by: tmciolek, Aug 9, 2010

"Guge was founded in the 10th century. Its capitals were located at Tholing Coordinates: 31°28′55″N 79°48′01″E and Tsaparang.[1] Nyi ma mgon, a great-grandson of Glang Darma, the last monarch of the Tibetan Empire (Tubo), left insecure conditions in Central Tibet in 910. He established a kingdom in Ngari (West Tibet) in or after 912 and annexed Purang (Pu-hrang) and Guge. He established his capital in Guge.

Nyi ma mgon later divided his lands into three parts. The king's eldest son dPal gyi mgon became ruler of Mar-yul (Ladakh), his second son bKra shis mgon received Guge-Purang, and the third son lDe gtsug mgon received Zanskar. bKra shis mgon was succeeded by his son Srong nge or Ye shes 'Od (947–1024 or (959–1036), who was a renowned Buddhist figure. In his time a Tibetan from Guge called Rin chen Bzang po (958–1055), after having studied in India, returned to his homeland as a monk to promote Buddhism. Together with the zeal of Ye shes 'Od, this marked the beginning of a new diffusion of Buddhist teachings in western Tibet. In 988 Ye shes 'Od took religious vows and left kingship to his younger brother Khor re.

In 1037, Khor re's eldest grandson 'Od lde was killed in a conflict with the Muslim Qarakhanids from Central Asia, who subsequently ravaged Ngari. His brother Byang chub 'Od (984–1078), a Buddhist monk, took power as secular ruler. He was responsible for inviting Atisha to Tibet in 1040 and thus ushering in the so-called Phyi-dar phase of Buddhism in Tibet." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guge
Input by: tmciolek, 27 Jul 2014

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 27 Jul 2014

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 2 km from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Tsaparang monastery, CN.

General location of the Tsaparang monastery, CN.
Lat 31.4700 Long 79.6700
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (http://www.fallingrain.com), 2010.

Google Map link:


Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • China:Xizang Zizhiqu

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx., Lat 31.4700 Long 79.6700 - based on visual identification of Guge's ruins in maps, and photographs, maps.google.com, tmciolek, 9 Aug 2010.

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

  • [missing data]

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • [missing data]

11. Date-early

MBM chrono-tag 0933-66p - tmciolek 27 Jul 2014
0933-66p 0967-99c 1000-32c 1033-66c 1067-99c 1100-32c 1133-66c 1167-99c 1200=> dated-el

12. Date-intermediate

  • [missing data]

13. Date-late

MBM chrono-tag 1200=> - tmciolek 27 Jul 2014

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • [missing data]

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • archaeological

16. Additional notes

  • [missing data] (incl. details of the size of the monastic population)

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

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