the Nesar Gompa of Bijer
Coordinates of the site: 29°27’8.06” northern latitude and 82°54’51.36” eastern longitude, at an altitude of 3838 meters.
The Nesar Gompa is located on the northern side of the village of Bijer (Bicher/ Phijor/Vijer) in the north of Upper Dolpo. It consists of about fifty houses, arranged along a small stream which descends from the direction of the “Purple Mountain” and flows into the Shey river about two miles below Samling. The foundation of the temple goes back at least to the 12th century. The collection of Tibetan illuminated manuscripts which have been preserved here, is exceptional in quality and quantity.
Surrounded by a group of houses and chörten of different construction periods, the temple can be easily recognized by its typical redwashed walls. Through a project named Revival of Vijer the Nesar temple was restored between 2001-2005, with new space for the library on the first floor of the temple and a community house, which was directly attached on the north-eastern wall of the temple. In the years 2005-2009 a hospital was constructed next to the temple on the southwest side, which now ensures medical care in the region.
Built on a brick pedestal, the formerly free standing temple measures 10 x 16.5 meters and is oriented towards southeast. The layout of the ground floor consists of a six-pillar assembly hall, a two-pillar cella and a narrow ambulatory around the cella. Above the two consoles of the first row of pillars in front of the cella, an older crossbeam with wood carvings and five lion consoles is situated. Another directly attached beam shows two Garudas on the end of the beams protruding from the cella into the assembly hall. These components clearly indicate that the original entrance to the temple was located in this position and the assembly hall was erected in a later construction phase. In the centre of the assembly hall, a ceiling opening was installed in the course of the renovation, which allows an insight into the newly built library on the upper floor. The large window of the library above the temple’s entrance lights up even the ground floor. The upper floor can be accessed through the community house.