Buddhist Architecture in the Western Himalaya
FWF Research Project P22857


  Saspol Cave Temples
General description
Saspol Pictures

The cave temples demonstrate an exception concerning temple typologies in the Western Himalaya. The caves of Saspol are a well preserved example of this type. The cave temples were connected with hermitages and are situated in a nearly vertical rock out of conglomerate in the north-west of the village of Saspol, which is littered with several caves. On the hill nearby an impressive castle ruin constructed out of rammed earth emphasises the importance of the site. From this fortress the Alchi chos’kor can be seen, which, according to Christan Luczanits, has its origin in the same period.

The main temple in the middle was originally difficult to access, nowadays there are stairs which make the access easier. This temple is a simple, compact room which is covered with wall-paintings of high quality. The ceiling is a natural vault, the walls have been rectified and prepared with clay for the paintings. The temple left to the main temple is open to the front like a niche. The wall-paintings are very much bleached out however the original paintings can be recognized. An adjoining smaller room shows no decoration.

The cave at the right of the temple is smaller and special because it is the upper floor of a two-storeyed cave. Due to the wall-paintings the wall with the entrance has been added later. The fourth cave, which is located afield and higher, is similar to the outmost left temple in it’s shape of a niche. Though the ceiling collapsed, fragments of paintings have survived.






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