Gyantse - Pelkor Chode and the Kumbum

     Most of the monastic buildings in Gyantse were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, but the Pelkor Chode and Kumbum were spared. The Kumbum, Pelkor Chode and the castle, Dzong, were products of the dynasty founded by Pelden Zangpo and built his most illustrious descent, Rabten Kunzan (1389-1442). The city became the main center for Tibet's wool trade with India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Sikkim. Nine major monasteries were built in the vicinity of the town.  In 1904 the Younghusband expedition attacked the Tibetan defenders, killing several hundred Tibetan soldiers. The expedition captured the castle and was billeted there for a month before proceeding to Lhasa

     The Kumbum and Pelkor Chode are within the old walled monastery section of the town. Today, the rocky amphitheater that surrounds them is an errie, lunar landscape, scrubbed clean of human artifacts. The area used to contain 16 monasteries; nine belonged to the Gelugpas, four were Sakya, and three were affiliated with the Bu tradition founded by Buton Rinpoche. Now only two remain, a  larger deteriorating Sakya monastery and Riting Monastery a small Bu structure on the hillside behind Pelkor Chorde. On a high-walled structure up on the hill, a large tangka would have been displayed.


gyantse.jpg (80566 bytes) 1930, Leslie Weir    palkorchode4.jpg (64727 bytes) 1930, Leslie Weir

gyantsechorten6.jpg (48666 bytes) 1936, Spencer Chapman  gyantse2.jpg (66662 bytes) 1938, George Taylor  palkorchode5.jpg (29580 bytes) 1942, Tolstoy-Dolan 

    palkorchode3.jpg (84957 bytes) 1981, Source:*Tibet    gyantse3.jpg (71017 bytes) 1981, Galen Rowell

Photos by Anne L. Blasing, 1992:

gyantsechorten5.jpg (56894 bytes) Pango Chorten  

gyantsechorten1.jpg (110061 bytes)   gyantsechorten2.jpg (86593 bytes)   gyantsechorten3.jpg (124548 bytes)   gyantsechorten4.jpg (87332 bytes)  Inside the chorten

gyantse4.jpg (89455 bytes) Main Lamasery building      gyantse5.jpg (77268 bytes) Palkhor: Lamasery and ruins of the old fort


Mt. Kailash

Lake Manasarovar


Other Landscapes
Mt. Everest Lhasa

Monastery Inventory