Buddhist
Architecture
in the Western
Himalayas
General view of the village. Auer 2011
The ancient monastery with the fortess above the old village. Auer 2011
Eastern view of the monastery. Auer 2011
Eastern view of the monastery. Auer 2011
South-eastern view of the monastery. Auer 2011
South-western view of the monastery. Laurent 2011
South-western view of the main building. Laurent 2011
Soutern view of the monastery. Laurent 2011
North-eastern view of the monastery. Laurent 2011
Northern view of the monastery's main building. Laurent 2011
Roof of the main building. Auer 2010
Northern view of the upper temple. Auer 2011
North-western view of the upper temple. Auer 2011
The settlement of the old village and the upper temple, seen from the fortress above. Auer 2010
The gateway stupa at the foot of the monastery´s cliff. Auer 2011

The ancient monastery of Dangkhar

Coordinates of the site: 32° 5'21.32" northern latitude and 78°12'44.76" eastern longitude, at an altitude of 3820 meters.

The village of Dangkhar is located on the eastern side of the Spiti River, about 21 kilometres (airline) south-east of Kaza, which is the main place of the remote Spiti Valley in the Lahaul and Spiti district of the Indian state Himachal Pradesh.
The ancient monastery comprises several buildings situated on a steep rocky cliff on the Western side of the settlement, overlooking the confluence of the Spiti River and the Pin River. The monastery’s main building consists of various rooms whose structure has changed over the centuries. The tower above the main building has a staircase that leads to the Upper Temple on the top of the bold cliff. Today an additional fortified path leads to the Upper Temple. There are two more single-storey structures in front of the main buildings. A museum room is situated in front of the entrance. The adjoining kitchen can be accessed from the courtyard.
The main building consists of 31 rooms on four different levels including an inner courtyard on the upper floor. The assembly hall or Dukhang is located on the first floor in the rear part, three chapels are in the southeast of the building. Another sacred room can be found in the north of the third floor, whereas the so-called meditation cave lies in the northwest of the third floor. At the foot of the rock, there is an ancient gateway chörten that was obviously part of the original ensemble. The chörten’s upper part has been renewed.
The building documentation proves that the main building was built in different phases. Analysing the plans, we can deduct that the entire complex consists of three buildings that originally were separate. In the centre, we can find the single-storey assembly hall with its typical skylight. An additional group of chörten in front of the ascending rock is located on the roof of the assembly hall. This original configuration has been extended in various phases until the present day. The fact that the construction was not erected all at once is responsible for the building’s structural problems when it comes to statics. The adding of rooms and storeys has created extra load, sometimes ignoring the principle of load transfer or lacking the necessary technical knowledge, or both. These insights, combined with a detailed analysis of all other damages, are fundamental for an effective and encompassing restoration.

Cf. Neuwirth, Holger & Auer, Carmen 2013. The Ancient Monastic Complex of Dangkhar. Buddhist Architecture in the Western Himalayas - Vol. 1. Graz: Verlag der Technischen Universität Graz. Open access

Interior

Upper protector's chapel. Auer 2011

Assembly hall on the first floor. Auer 2011

Assembly hall on the first floor. Auer 2011

Assembly hall on the first floor. Auer 2011

Library of the assembly hall. Auer 2011

Wall painting of the assembly hall. Auer 2011

Wall painting of the assembly hall. Auer 2011

Wall painting of the assembly hall. Auer 2011

Intermediate space on the second floor above the assembly hall. Auer 2011

Stupas at the rear of the second floor. Auer 2011

Offering (tsatsa) of the stupas. Auer 2011

Offering (tsatsa) of the stupas. Auer 2011

Offering (tsatsa) of the stupas. Auer 2011

Entrance to the south-eastern chapels on the third floor. Bauer 2010

Lochen Rinpoche´s residence on the third floor. Auer2011

Lochen Rinpoche´s residence on the third floor. Neuwirth 2010

Lochen Rinpoche´s residence on the third floor. Neuwirth 2010

HH Dalai-Lama´s residence on the third floor. Auer 2011

HH Dalai-Lama´s residence on the third floor. Auer 2011

Inner courtyard on the third floor. Auer 2011

Inner courtyard on the third floor. Auer 2011

The upper temple. Auer 2011

Wall painting of the upper temple. Laurent 2011

Wall painting of the upper temple. Schmidt 2011

Wall painting of the upper temple. Laurent 2011

Wall painting of the upper temple. Laurent 2011

Wall painting of the upper temple. Laurent 2011

2D Plans

Map of the village

Site plan

General section of the area

Floor plans with room index

Ground floor of the main temple

First floor of the main temple

Second floor of the main temple

Third floor of the main temple

Roof floor of the main temple

Floor plans of the tower

Cross section of the main building

Cross section of the main building

Longitudinal section of the main building

Ground plan of the upper temple

Section of the upper temple

North-western elevation

South-eastern elevation

South-western elevation

Spatial model

Bird´s eye from north-east

View from south-west

Cross section A

Cross section A

Cross section D

Longitudinal section

Cross section E

Longitudinal section B

Longitudinal section A

Cross section C

Longitudinal section C

Cross section B

Analyses

Photomontages

North-eastern wall of the Dukhang

Extent of undecorated plaster, repair and recoated surfaces. University of Applied Arts Vienna 2011

Voids, cracks, flaking and thinned painted surfaces. University of Applied Arts Vienna 2011.

South-eastern wall of the Dukhang

Extent of undecorated plaster, repair and recoated surfaces. University of Applied Arts Vienna 2011

Voids, cracks, flaking and thinned painted surfaces. University of Applied Arts Vienna 2011.

South-western wall of the Dukhang

Extent of undecorated plaster, repair and recoated surfaces. University of Applied Arts Vienna 2011

Voids, cracks, flaking and thinned painted surfaces. University of Applied Arts Vienna 2011.

North-eastern wall of the upper temple

Extent of undecorated plaster, repair and recoated surfaces. University of Applied Arts Vienna 2011

Voids, cracks, flaking and thinned painted surfaces. University of Applied Arts Vienna 2011.

North-eastern wall of the upper temple

South-eastern wall of the upper temple

Extent of undecorated plaster, repair and recoated surfaces. University of Applied Arts Vienna 2011

Voids, cracks, flaking and thinned painted surfaces. University of Applied Arts Vienna 2011.

South-eastern wall of the upper temple

South-western wall of the upper temple

Extent of undecorated plaster, repair and recoated surfaces. University of Applied

Voids, cracks, flaking and thinned painted surfaces. University of Applied Arts Vienna 2011.

South-western wall of the upper temple

North-western wall of the upper temple

Extent of undecorated plaster, repair and recoated surfaces. University of Applied

Voids, cracks, flaking and thinned painted surfaces. University of Applied Arts Vienna 2011.

South-western wall of the upper temple


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