Buddhist
Architecture
in the Western
Himalayas
North-western view of the Shipchok monastery. Auer 2018

the Shipchok Monastery

Coordinates of the site: 29° 7’41.20” northern latitude and 83°12’5.81” eastern longitude, at an altitude of 4146 meters.

The Bon monastery of Shipchok (Lower Dolpo) is situated in the broad side valley in the northeast of Dho Tarap, on the left bank of the river. The complex is located on a slightly elevated terrace at the end of the valley, easily recognizable even from a distance by a long line of chörten on the south side of the temple. The ensemble consists of a temple and several residential houses, which are located on the north and east side of the temple, and a large number of chörten.
The temple itself is two-storeyed, red and whitewashed and decorated with the characteristic roof structures on the corners of the attic. It is accessible through a one-storey annex building measuring 7.2 x 3.7 meters, which is located in front of the temple on the east side. This entrance room gives access to the upper floor and the vestibule of the temple. The entrance door to the interior of the temple is located on the east side of the room, next to it is a window to the vestibule.
The interior measures about 5.2 x 5.0 meters. On its west wall stands a room-high painted wooden shelf which contains in its centre the altar with the three main figures and laterally several further sculptures and ritual equipment. The surfaces of the northeast and south wall above the wall base, as well as the four wooden columns and capitals and the main beams of the ceiling construction, are completely covered with paintings.
On the other side of the river, northeast of the Shipchok Monastery, is another group of houses known as Do-ro representing the last settlement of the Tarap valley to the east. On the opposite slopes of the north-oriented valley, two striking rammed earth ruins have been preserved.  They are evidently the remains of multi-storey fortifications, of which only parts of the perimeter walls have survived.

References
Kind, Marietta. The Bon Landscape of Dolpo: Pilgrimages, Monasteries, Biographies and the Emergence of Bon. Berlin: Peter Lang, pp. 142-147
Snellgrove, David. Himalayan Pilgrimage. A study of Tibetan religion by a traveller through Western Nepal. Oxford 1961, p. 157

Site plan

Site plan of the Shipchok monastery. TU Graz/Auer 2018

Photo Documentation

North-western view of the ensemble of Shipchok. Auer 2018

Row of chörten on the southern side of the temple. Auer 2018

South-eastern view of the temple. Auer 2018

Eastern view of the temple. Auer 2018

North-western view of the temple. Auer 2018

Entrance to the vestibule on the eastern side of the temple. Auer 2018

Interior Decoration

Vestibule of the temple. Auer 2018

Entrance door to the temple room. Auer 2018

Interior of the temple. Auer 2018

Sculptures on the left side of the altar. Auer 2018

Sculptures in the centre of the altar. Auer 2018

Sculptures on the right side of the altar. Auer 2018


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