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10 Chigtan Castle and Mosque: A Preliminary Historical and Architectural Analysis

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents a preliminary study of Chigtan's history and the remains of the castle's architecture. It draws on photographs and oral evidence collected in the early 20th century and more recently, together with a preliminary inspection of the site as it stands today. Chigtan's foundation myth was recorded by the Moravian missionary scholar A.H. Francke in the early 20th century. According to local tradition, the castle was built on the orders of Tsering Malik, who ruled Chigtan at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries. Below the castle there is a small mosque consisting of a simple rectangular single-storey building in traditional Ladakhi style. The mosque has a carved wooden doorway at one end, and a mihrab niche to indicate the direction of Mecca at the other. The frame of the doorway is carved with a 'lotus' design which is more usually associated with Tibetan Buddhist architecture.

Keywords: A.H. Francke; Chigtan mosque; Tibetan Buddhist architecture; Tsering Malik

10.1163/9789004271807_012
/content/books/b9789004271807_012
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