Buddhist
Architecture
in the Western
Himalayas
The south-eastern bank of the Phoksundo lake with the monastery above. Auer 2018
Ringmo Monastery above the Phoksundo lake. Auer 2018
Ringmo Monastery above the Phoksundo lake. Auer 2018
The ensemble of Ringmo Monastery seen from south. Auer 2018

Thasung Tsholing Monastery of Ringmo

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

The settlement of Ringmo (Tsho) is located on the border between Lower and Upper Dolpo, on the extensive landslide dam that formed Phoksumdo Lake. It is a small village of about 50 residential houses with a seasonal population of about 200 people. The Thasung Tsholing Monastery can be found outside the settlement above the south-eastern lakeside, built on a slightly rising terrain, behind which the mountain slopes rise relatively steeply.
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 eleven chörten leads to the temples, some other chörten stand between the houses and above the site on the eastern mountain slope. The temple on the northwest side of the ensemble, further referred to as Temple A, is slightly lower and smaller and definitely the older one, which can be seen in both the construction and the conception of the rooms. Sometime after 1990, a new gompa was built on the east side of the existing one, referred to as Temple B. The external dimensions of Tempel A are 7.40 by 7.90 meters, of Temple B 7.30 by 9.40 meters, both entrances face the forecourt.
Entering Temple A through the entrance portal on the southeast side, one reaches a narrow entrance room. From here, a narrow side door on the southwest side leads to the interior of the temple on the ground floor. The interior of the temple rooms is oriented from southwest to northeast, it is 4.70 metres wide and 6.65 metres deep, with a room heigt of 2.35 metres. The ceiling of the temple room is supported by four wooden pillars; the altar lies in front of the northeast wall. By using a ladder next to the side door in the entrance room one can access the common room and kitchen on the first floor. A window in the south-western wall of the first floor and the open lantern above the temple room lighten the upper floor as well as the ground floor.
The entrance to Temple B faces southwest, according to the ascending topography, the ground floor lies in a higher position. Walking up a few stone steps one can enter an open space between two wooden pillars which forms a small open vestibule. The interior is 6.30metres wide and 6.50 metres deep, with a room heigt of 2.75 metres. Four wooden pillars support the wooden ceiling. One window on each of the side walls enables the natural lighting of the room. The altar and the book shelves are located in front of the northeast wall, opposite the entrance door. A small door on the eastern corner of the southeast facade give access to the common rooms on the first floor. Above the vestibule lies a bright veranda, the northwest part of the first floor is separated by partition walls made of wood planks and contains two sleeping rooms.
The roofing of Temple A consists of wooden planks, while Temple B is covered with a yellow painted wooden roof, crowned by a central lantern. The residential houses around the temples, as well as the temples themselves, show a construction typical of this region, made of stone walls with wooden tie rods running horizontally, through which the façades are structured.

References
Gutschow, Niels. Chörten in Nepal. Architecture and Buddhist Votive Practice in the Himalaya. Berlin: DOM publishers 2021, pp. 401-426.
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, pp. 59-65.

Site plan

Map of the landscape around the village of Ringmo. © TU Graz/Auer 2021

Site plan of Ringmo Monastery. TU Graz/Auer 2021

2D Plans

Ground floor of the Old Gompa (A) and the New Gompa (B) in Ringmo. © TU Graz 2021

Ceiling plan above the ground floor of the Old Gompa (A) and the New Gompa (B) in Ringmo. © TU Graz 2021

First floor of the Old Gompa (A) and the New Gompa (B) in Ringmo. © TU Graz 2021

Ceiling plan above the first floor of the Old Gompa (A) and the New Gompa (B) in Ringmo. © TU Graz 2021

Cross section of the Old Gompa (A) in Ringmo, with the front of the New Temple next to it. © TU Graz 2021

Longitudinal section of the Old Gompa (A) in Ringmo. © TU Graz 2021

Longitudinal section of the New Temple (B) in Ringmo, with the front of the Old Temple next to it. © TU Graz 2021

Cross section of the New Temple (B) in Ringmo. © TU Graz 2021

Southeast elevation of the ensemble in Ringmo. © TU Graz 2021

Southwest elevation of the ensemble in Ringmo. © TU Graz 2021

Northwest elevation of the ensemble in Ringmo. © TU Graz 2021

Northeast elevation of the ensemble in Ringmo. © TU Graz 2021

Photo Documentation

Northwest view of Ringmo monastery. Auer 2019

The ensemble of Ringmo seen from south. Auer 2019

South view of Ringmo monastery, seen from below. Auer 2019

Access path to Ringmo monastery with a row of eleven chörten. Androschin 2019

The roofs of the ensemble see from above. Androschin 2019

The ensemble of Ringmo seen from southeast. Auer 2019

The ensemble of Ringmo seen from southwest. Auer 2019

The ensemble of Ringmo seen from southeast. Auer 2019

The forecourt in front of the two Temples seen from southwest. Auer 2019

Entrances to the Temples, seen from southeast. Auer 2019

The older Temple seen from southwest. Androschin 2019

The older Temple seen from northwest. Androschin 2019

Interior

Anteroom on the ground floor of the older Temple A. Auer 2019

Entrance door to the temple room on the ground floor. Androschin 2019

Entrance door in the temple room on the ground floor. Neuwirth 2019

Interior of the ground floor of Temple A. Neuwirth 2019

Interior of the ground floor of Temple A. Neuwirth 2019

The altar on the northwest side of the ground floor of Temple A. Auer 2018

Lantern reaching into the first floor of Temple A. Neuwirth 2019

Lantern reaching into the first floor of Temple A. Neuwirth 2019

Construction of the lantern on the second floor of Temple A. Auer 2018.

Interior of Temple B. Neuwirth 2019

Interior of Temple B. Neuwirth 2019

Interior of Temple B. Auer 2018


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