White Chapel


The entry to this side chapel is marked by a finely carved deodar (cedar) door frame that originated in India. Inside are vibrant 15th- and 16th-century murals, somewhat affected by water damage though mostly restored with Swiss assistance. Typical elements of Indian-influenced Ngari-style murals include the fine detailing on the Ladakhi-style robes, the images of animals such as elephants and peacocks that don't exist in Tibet, and the slim waists and large breasts of the female figures.

The central statue is an old Sakyamuni Buddha (his hands and ears are new). On either side are niches that once held eight medicine buddhas, while on the right side is a stone footprint attributed to Rinchen Zangpo. Male deities line the left wall; female bodhisattvas the right. The far-right-corner murals depict a sky burial, while nearby is a square stone once used for a checkers-like game that is similar to the Chinese game Go.

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