Buddhist
Architecture
in the Western
Himalayas
South-eastern bank of the Phoksundo lake with the monastery above. Auer 2018

the Thasung Tsholing Monastery of Ringmo (Tsho)

Coordinates of the site: 29°10’30.21” northern latitude and 82°56’39.09” eastern longitude, at an altitude of 3640 meters.

Ringmo in Lower Dolpo is located on the landslide dam that formed Phoksundo Lake. It is a small village with a seasonal population of about 200 people, mostly of Tibetan ethnicity and of the Bönpo faith. The temple area can be found outside the settlement above the south-eastern lakeside, built on the last piece of shore beyond which the rocks become sheer precipice.
The sacred compound consists of two temples with a common forecourt, surrounded by nine houses in different condition. Approaching from the southern side of the area, a row of ten chörten leads to the temples, some other chörten stand between the houses and above the site at the eastern mountain slope. The temples themselves are oriented towards northwest/southeast. Affiliated to the eastern corner of temple A lies temple B, both entrances face the forecourt. Temple A is slightly lower and smaller (4.2 m x 4.5 m) but definitely the older one. Through a narrow entrance room one can access the temple room in the ground floor and by using a ladder the common room/kitchen on the first floor. A window in the south-western wall of the first floor and an open lantern above the temple room light up the upper floor as well as the ground floor. The ceiling of the temple room is supported by four wooden pillars; the altar lies in front of the north-eastern wall.
According to the ascending topography, the ground floor of temple B (5.65 m x 5.65 m) lies in a higher position. Walking up a few stone steps one can enter an open space between two wooden pillars which forms an entrance room in front of the door. Inside the temple four wooden pillars support the wooden ceiling. The altar and the book shelves on both sides are located in front of the north-eastern wall, opposite the entrance door. A ladder at the western corner of the entry room gives access to the common room on the first floor where a large wooden window above the entrance lights up the rooms. The roofing of temple A consists of wooden planks, while temple B is covered with a yellow tin roof, crowned with a central lantern. The residential houses around the temples show a mixed construction of stone and wood, with remarkable walls and roofs as well as impressive wood carvings.

References
Kind, Marietta. The Bon Landscape of Dolpo: Pilgrimages, Monasteries, Biographies and the Emergence of Bon. Berlin: Peter Lang 2012, pp. 267-269, 388-393
Snellgrove, David. Himalayan Pilgrimage. A study of Tibetan religion by a traveller through Western Nepal. Oxford 1961, p. 59-65

Site plan

Site plan of Ringmo Monastery. TU Graz/Auer 2018

Photo documentation

South-eastern bank of the Phoksundo lake with the monastery above. Auer 2018

Ringmo Monastery above the Phoksundo lake . Auer 2018

South-eastern bank of the Phoksundo lake with the monastery above. Auer 2018

Southern view of the monastery. Auer 2018

Access path to the monastery. Auer 2018

Open space in front of the temples. Auer 2018

Open space in front of the temples. Auer 2018

The two temples of the monastery. Auer 2018

Residential houses of the monastery. Auer 2018

Residential houses of the monastery. Auer 2018

Residential houses of the monastery. Auer 2018

Interior decoration

Interior of temple A. Auer 2018

Kitchen in the upper floor of temple A. Auer 2018

Interior of temple B. Auer 2018


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