Buddhist
Architecture
in the Western
Himalayas
The valley of Pumer seen from east. Auer 2019
The gompas of Pumer seen from east. Androschin 2019
Thegchen Rabgyeling Gompa seen from east. Androschin 2019
Thegchen Rabgyeling Gompa seen from northeast. Auer 2019
Chörten on the way to Pumer. Auer 2019

Thegchen Rabgyeling Gompa of Pumer

Coordinates of the site: 29°09´05.30“northern latitude and 82°51´49.76“eastern longitude, at an altitude of 3477 meters.

The Temple of Pumer in Lower Dolpo is located on a steep slope in a northwestern side valley of the Phoksundo valley. From Pugmo it is a two hours walk on a small mountain path. Two smaller gompas and five ruins as well as a meditation cave are located in the vicinity. Several chörten stand next to the path, one is situated beside the temple. Due to its exposed location and its white and red colored facades, the temple and its annex are already visible from a distance. Both buildings are two-storied and oriented northwest-southeast. The rear side directly adjoins a rock rising to the northwest, whereas the entrance facade opens to a 13 metres wide and 5 metres deep front area in the southeast, offering a wide open over the valley that gently slopes down to the river.
The external dimensions of the main building are 7.85 by 9.93 meters, the facade on the southeast side is 5.90 meters heigh. The annex extends the southeast facade by another 5.10 meters and is with 9.57 meters approximately as deep as the main building. The entrance of the temple faces southeast, it is located in the middle of the facade of the main building. A colorfully painted portal decorated with two lion consoles and wood carvings gives access to a narrow vestibule. To the right and left of the entrance is a window that lit the vestibule. The main room on the ground floor is accessible via four stone steps in the vestibule, leading to the entrance door with its carved and painted wooden frame. The interior is about 6.80 metres wide and 6.90 metres deep, with a room height of about 2.50 metres. The room is exclusively lit from above by a square wooden lantern with paintings, that connects the ground floor with the upper floor. The ceiling of the temple room is supported by four wooden pillars. The altar area and the walls could not be surveyed, but it can be supposed that an altar is situated on the northeastern wall and that the interior walls are covered with murals.
The annex on the southwest side of the main building can be entered through an opening on the southeast side, which is framed by two lateral wooden supports with overlays. There is a side door to the vestibule of the temple on the left and a ladder that leads to the upper floor on the right of the front area. Stable rooms are located in the rear area. Via the upper floor of the annex with two common rooms one can reach the rooms above the vestibule, where a wide window with ornamentally carved openings in the southeast wall provides light to the lantern. The opening of the lantern opposite the window is also designed with an elaborate wooden frame. The lantern is well preserved, with paintings on the inside and a painted coffered ceiling above it. A room beside the lantern contains a painted wooden shelf with small statues. The rear part of the first floor of the temple is separated by a wooden planks. Two windows on the northeast side provides light to this rooms.
The roof construction of the main building was renewed and now covered with corrugated sheet metal. The sloping roof of the annex was also improvisedly covered with similar corrugated sheets. The visible remains of the construction suggest that the roof was once similar to the one of the temple in Pugmo. Likewise, the walls of the temple building show a construction typical of this region, made of stone walls with wooden tie rods running horizontally, through which the façades are structured.

References
Kind, Marietta. The Bon Landscape of Dolpo: Pilgrimages, Monasteries, Biographies and the Emergence of Bon. Berlin: Peter Lang 2012, pp. 281-365
Snellgrove, David. Himalayan Pilgrimage. A study of Tibetan religion by a traveller through Western Nepal. Oxford 1961, p. 66-68

Site plan

Map of the landscape around Thegchen Rabgyeling Gompa in Pumer. © TU Graz 2021

Siteplan of Thegchen Rabgyeling Gompa in Pumer. © TU Graz 2021

2D PLANS

Ground floor of Thegchen Rabgyeling Gompa in Pumer. © TU Graz 2021

Ceiling above the ground floor of the Gompa. © TU Graz 2021

First floor of Thegchen Rabgyeling Gompa in Pumer. © TU Graz 2021

Ceiling above the first floor of the Gompa. © TU Graz 2021

Longitudinal section of the Thegchen Rabgyeling Gompa in Pumer. © TU Graz 2021

Cross section of the Thegchen Rabgyeling Gompa in Pumer. © TU Graz 2021

Southwest elevation of the Thegchen Rabgyeling Gompa in Pumer. © TU Graz 2021

Southeast elevation of the Thegchen Rabgyeling Gompa in Pumer. © TU Graz 2021

Northeast elevation of the Thegchen Rabgyeling Gompa in Pumer. © TU Graz 2021

Photo Documentation

The temple of Pumer seen from east. Auer 2019

The temple of Pumer seen from east. Androschin 2019

The temple of Pumer seen from northeast. Auer 2019

The temple of Pumer seen from northeast. Auer 2019

The temple of Pumer seen from north. Androschin 2019

The south-eastern facade of the temple. Auer 2019

The temple of Pumer seen from south. Auer 2019

The entrance to the temple. Auer 2019

The entrance to the temple. Auer 2019

Interior Decoration

The narrow vestibule on the ground floor. Auer 2019

Opening of the lantern on the first floor. Auer 2019

Window opposite the lantern on the first floor. Auer 2019

Opening of the lantern on the first floor. Auer 2019

Paintings inside the lantern. Auer 2019

Paintings inside the lantern. Auer 2019

View from the lantern to the ground floor. Androschin 2019

Altar of the sideroom on the first floor. Androschin 2019

Sculpture of the altar on the first floor. Androschin 2019


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