Fandom

Religion Wiki

Tsaparang

34,278pages on
this wiki
Add New Page
Talk0 Share

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.

Tsaparang was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Guge in the Garuda Valley, through which the upper Sutlej River flows, in Ngari Province of Western Tibet near the border of Ladakh. It is 278 km west of Ali (Shiquanhe) and 26 km west of the 11th century monastery at Thöling, and not far west of Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar.

Nearby is the Bön Gurugem Monastery.[1]

Tsaparang is a huge fortress perched on a pyramid-shaped rock rising about 500 to 600 feet (152 to 183 m) at the end of a long narrow spur. It contains numerous tunnels and caves that have been carved out of the rock. At its base was a village where the common people lived. Above them were two public temples - the Lhakhang Marpo (Red Chapel) and the Lhakhang Karpo (White Chapel), and quarters for the monks. Further up, ascending a twisting stone staircase in a tunnel, were the royal quarters, and at the very top, the summer palace.[2]

TV Presenter and historian Michael Wood, in the "Shangri-La" episode of the PBS documentary series In Search of Myths and Heroes, suggested that Tsaparang was the historical origin of the legend of Shangri-La, and that its two great temples were once home to the kings of Guge in modern Tibet.

History

According to some accounts, Tsaparang was made the capital of a Kingdom of Guge by Namde Wosung, one of the sons of the Langdharma the anti-Buddhist king of Tibet 838-841 CE, after Langdharma was assassinated. The Tibetan Empire was then plunged into civil war and split into a number of independent kingdoms.[3] Other accounts say that two of Langdharma's grandsons fled to Western Tibet about 919 CE. The eldest one, Nyima Gon, established himself at Purang and conquered a large area including Ladakh and parts of Spiti. After his death his kingdom was split up between his three sons into the kingdoms of Guge, Purang, and Maryul (= Ladakh).

Guge controlled an ancient trading route between India and Tibet. It emerged in the region previously known as Zhangzhung and became an important regional power by the 10th century CE.[4]

"In the 11th century, King Yeshe O, working with the famous Sanskrit translator, Rinchen Zangpo ('The Great Translator"), and the Indian master Atisha, reintroduced Buddhism to western Tibet. Soon Tsaparang, and Tholing, also made of mud brick, were built, along with other temples and monasteries. The influence of the Guge Kingdom, particularly the monastic center of Tholing, was felt from Kashmir to Assam."[1]

In the summer of 1624 two Portuguese Jesuit priests, António de Andrade and Manuel Marques, came to the region looking for the fabled Christian king known as Prester John. They gained permission from the king of Guge to preach throughout the kingdom. They returned to Tsaparang the next summer and built a church at the foot of the citadel and another one at Rudok 130 miles (209 km) away. António de Andrade left Tibet in 1630 and the mission quickly fell into disarray. In 1640 Manuel Marques led an expedition back in an attempt to reestablish the mission but he was captured and the rest of his party fled. He wrote a pitiful letter to the Jesuit headquarters at Agra in India begging to be rescued, but was never heard from again[5].

In 1685 Tsaparang was besieged and conquered by Muslim mercenaries hired by the Buddhist king of Ladakh. In spite of massive damage then, and the destruction of most of the statues and murals in both chapels by the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution, many magnificent frescoes have somehow survived.[6]

References

Specific references:

  1. Allen, Charles. (1999) The Search for Shangri-La: A Journey into Tibetan History, pp. 265-6. Little, Brown and Company. Reprint: 2000 Abacus Books, London. ISBN 0-349-111421.
  2. Allen, Charles. (1999) The Search for Shangri-La: A Journey into Tibetan History, p. 243. Little, Brown and Company. Reprint: 2000 Abacus Books, London. ISBN 0-349-111421.
  3. Tibet, p. 200. (2005) Bradley Mayhew and Michael Kohn. 6th Edition. Lonely Planet. ISBN 1-74059-523-8.
  4. Tibet, p. 200. (2005) Bradley Mayhew and Michael Kohn. 6th Edition. Lonely Planet. ISBN 1-74059-523-8.
  5. Allen, Charles. (1999) The Search for Shangri-La: A Journey into Tibetan History, pp. 243-245. Little, Brown and Company. Reprint: 2000 Abacus Books, London. ISBN 0-349-111421.
  6. Allen, Charles. (1999) The Search for Shangri-La: A Journey into Tibetan History, pp. 243-245. Little, Brown and Company. Reprint: 2000 Abacus Books, London. ISBN 0-349-111421.

General references:

  • Allen, Charles. (1999) The Search for Shangri-La: A Journey into Tibetan History. Little, Brown and Company. Reprint: 2000 Abacus Books, London. ISBN 0-349-111421.

External links

  • [2] Photos of Tsaparang and Guge
  • [3] Photo essay: "the ART of Guge: a western Tibet kingdom."
  • [4] Ben's Blog. More photos.
  • [5] "Echoes of a Fallen Kingdom" By KAREN SWENSON, New York Times. Published: March 19, 2000

Coordinates: 31°7′N 80°39′E / 31.117°N 80.65°E / 31.117; 80.65no:Tsaparang

Also on Fandom

Random Wiki