The 9th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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The Tangyud Monastery (also written bTang-rGyud, Tangyuth) or Sa-skya-gong-mig Gompa at Hikim/Komic, Spiti, Himachel Pradesh, India, is built like a fortified castle on the edge of a deep canyon, with massive slanted mud walls and battlements with vertical red ochre and white vertical stripes which make them look much taller than they really are. It is at an altitude of 4,587 metres (15,049 ft), on the edge of a deep canyon and overlooking the town of Kaza, Spiti, 4 km from the town. It is located on the periphery of the Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary.
Although it is considered by locals to be very ancient, an examination of the present fortified structure modelled on a Chinese castle, and other circumstantial evidence, makes it likely that it was built early in the 14th century when the Sakyapas rose to Power under Mongol patronage.
It is Thought, however, that there was an earlier Kadampa establishment here founded by Rinchen Zangpo (958-1055 CE) and named Rador-Lha. The Name, Tangyud, may refer to the Sakya revision of the Tang-rGyud, or the 87 volumes of Tantra treatises which Form part of the Tengyur. This was carried out about 1310 CE by a team of scholars under the Sakya Lama, Ch'os-Kyi-O'd-zer.
The Monastery is patronised by the 'Nonos' or local chieftains of Spiti and the Monastery has a special cell built into southeastern side for them when they visit. Tangyud village is at the foot of the Monastery (altitude 4,470 m or 14,665 ft). The Monastery itself was apparently badly damaged in the earthquake of 1972.