Buddhist
Architecture
in the Western
Himalayas
General view from the north-western mountainside. Auer 2018

the Samling Monastery

Coordinates of the site: 29°25’52.59” northern latitude and 82°54’27.44” eastern longitude, at an altitude of 4164 meters.

Samling (Upper Dolpo) is located close to Bijer on a grassy plateau which hangs above the gorge of the river valley on its western side. The monastery, usually called Samling Gompa or Yangton Gompa, turnted into a chief monastery of Bon for the region. The foundation goes back to the 12th century, the heredity line of the Yangal lineage provides the abbot up to the present day. At the present day Lama Sherab Tenzin leads Samling Monastery.
The complex today consists of thirteen buildings and numerous chörten as well as large mani-walls. The main gompa (A) is located in the north of the ensemble, its entrance faces southeast where a forecourt gives space for assemblages. The main gompa - the Serkhang -  is approximately square and measures 7.7 x 7.5 meters. The walls are made of solid stone masonry which was redwashed, expect the upper whitewashed part. Two small windows are located in the southeast and one in the southwest illuminating the rooms of the upper floor.
The wooden construction of the flat roof and the attic which is fastened with dried plants and stone slabs protrude above the whitewashed part. Through a bricked up front area and a wide door one can enter the entrance room, from where a ladder brings up to the upper floor. The altar, bookshelves and sculptures cover the back of the room. The ceiling with the two main beams is supported by four columns with carved and painted capitals.

References
Kind, Marietta. The Bon Landscape of Dolpo: Pilgrimages, Monasteries, Biographies and the Emergence of Bon. Berlin: Peter Lang 2012, pp. 190-194, 195-212
Snellgrove, David. Himalayan Pilgrimage. A study of Tibetan religion by a traveller through Western Nepal. Oxford 1961, p. 110-129

Site plan

Site plan of Samling Monastery. TU Graz/Auer 2018

Photo documentation

General view from the north-western hill range. Auer 2018

Samling seen from the north-western hill range. Auer 2018

Chörten next to the prayerwheel house. Auer 2018

Chörten on the southern side of the area. Auer 2018

House of Nyima Gyaltsen in the south of Samling. Auer 2018

Chörten next to the prayerwheel house and the Serkhang. Auer 2018

Northern view of the main gompa (Serkhang). Auer 2018

Western view of the main gompa (Serkhang). Auer 2018

Southern view of the main gompa (Serkhang). Auer 2018

Interior decoration

Interior of the main gompa (Serkhang). Auer 2018

Sherap Tenzin on his chair in the Serkhang. Auer 2018

Sculptures inside the Serkhang. Auer 2018


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