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5 The Chorten (mChod rten) with the Secret Chamber near Nyarma

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the 'Chorten with the Secret Chamber' (CSC). It analyses its apparently unique architectural structure, together with the iconography of its interior, and compares it with roughly contemporary chortens from the Nyarma site and in the monastic complex of Alchi. In the northern section of the site beyond the castle have some minor pieces of architecture survived to reflect the original artistic and religious splendour of Nyarma. Here there are four chambers, all housed inside stupa-like structures and decorated with murals comparable to the early painting style of the Alchi group of monuments. Three of these form a single structural unit sharing a common massive base. The fourth decorated monument is the chorten: the CSC. It stands in the very northern part of the large stupa field to the south of the monastery of Thikse, founded by the Gelugpa on a prominent hillside in the 15th century.

Keywords: Alchi; Chorten with the Secret Chamber (CSC); Gelugpa; Nyarma; Thikse



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