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Western view of the ensemble from the opposite side of the slope. Auer 2023
Eastern view of the site from above. Auer 2023
South-western view of the ensemble. Auer 2023

Dechen Labrang of Namdo

Coordinates: 29°23’29.74”N, 83° 6’0.36”E, elevation 3950 meters.

The monastery of Namdo is situated in the Nang-khong valley. Comming from Saldang the trail leads along the west side of the canyon, passing by an apparently abandoned fort (dzong) next to the Sal Gompa. After half an hour walk one can reach the village of Namdo, situated on the southwest side of the valley, consisting of wide scattered houses between terraced fields.
The Gompa, called Dechen Lapran, is situated opposite the village on the junction of two valleys on an island-like area. The foothills of a rock form an impressive setting for the ensemble, which consists of a series of multi-storey buildings constructed in various stages directly in front of the rock face. The Dechen Labrang is located at the western building. The red facade makes the temple room visible from the outside. On the west side of the ensemble a row of chörten – three large, multi-tiered and one small one – is located. There are also several chörten on the edge of the rock formation: a small cube, painted red and blue, directly above the gompa, and four more – in two groups – further up, on a flat plateau that offers a wide view over the river valley.
It is unclear how the access to the gompa was originally designed due to the alterations. Traces on the facades suggest structural changes. Today, there is an annex directly in front of the southwest facade, which houses the new kitchen of the Lama-family. The access to the gompa leads from the white-eashed annex to the south-east via narrow steps into an open courtyard on the level of the gompa. From here, a door leads into the vestibule and further to the temple interior.

References: Snellgrove, David. Himalayan Pilgrimage. A study of Tibetan religion by a traveller through Western Nepal. Oxford 1961: 103-106. Snellgrove, David. Four Lamas of Dolpo: Autobiographies of Four Tibetan Lamas (15th–18th Centuries). Volume I, Oxford 1967.

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