Buddhist
Architecture
in the Western
Himalayas
North-eastern view of the monastery. Alain Lefranc 2005

the Yangtse (Yang-Tsher) Monastery

Coordinates of the site: 29°29’45.00” northern latitude and 83° 5’54.77” eastern longitude, at an altitude of 3900 meters.

The Monastery of Yangtse (Yang-tsher) is located in the north of Saldang (Upper Dolpo) on a levelled platform above the river, overhanging the gorge. The area measures approximately 5700 square meters. A prayer-wall surrounds the whole compound. According to Snellgrove the monastery was founded by Religious Protector Glorious and Good (1476-1565).
The ensemble consists of three temples and a great number of chörten. Some are located near the temples, but most of them stand on the southern side of the platform, for example an impressive row of nine large chörten. Between the chörten row and the building complex lies a stony field structured with rows of prayer-walls (oriented east-west), occupying the central area of ​​the compound.
The entrance to the walled courtyard is located in the northeast of the monastery. Three temples are arranged around this courtyard. Temple no. 1 is located on its southern side, with the entrance door in the middle of the northern facade. The temple has the form of a large hall (15.3 x 5.6 meters) containing eight chörten and an obviously repainted mural decoration on all interior walls.
Temple no. 2 lies directly next to the temple no. 1 on its western side. Its entrance in located at the corner of the eastern facade. The main room measures 10.00 x 10.00 meters and is two-storeyed. At the southern side of this temple a one storeyed annex was built. Temple no. 3 measures 11.35 x 10.23 meters and lies opposite temple no. 1 and 2 in the north of the courtyard. The “Sacristian’s house”, which is located on the nortwest side of the courtyard, completes the ensemble.
On the southern side of the monastic compound another, very large chörten with a square base of 25.7 meters is situated. It is flanked by a long mani-wall along the path from the southwestern direction. This chörten is not mentioned in Snellgroves descriptions or sketches, photos taken in the year 2005 show that in this period the chörten was already under construction.

References
Snellgrove, David. Himalayan Pilgrimage. A study of Tibetan religion by a traveller through Western Nepal. Oxford 1961, p. 85-92, 130, 138
Snellgrove, David. Four Lamas of Dolpo: Autobiographies of Four Tibetan Lamas (15th–18th Centuries). Volume I, Oxford 1967, Volume I, Oxford 1967, p.2, 3, 11, 14-15

Site Plan

Site plan of Yangtse Monastery. TU Graz/Auer 2018

Photo Documentation

General view of the plateau with the monastery from south-east. Alain Lefranc 2005

South-eastern view of the monastery. Alain Lefranc 2005

Row of chörten on the southern side of the ensemble. Alain Lefranc 2005

North-eastern view of the monastery. Alain Lefranc 2005

North-eastern view of the monastery. Alain Lefranc 2005

Eastern view of the monastery. Alain Lefranc 2005

General view of the monastery from south-west. Alain Lefranc 2005

South-western view of the ensemble. Alain Lefranc 2005

Western view of the ensemble. Alain Lefranc 2005


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