Yeshe Ö’s Mandala Chapel

Buddhist Site in Zanda & Thöling Monastery

Once the main building in the Thöling complex, Yeshe Ö’s Mandala Chapel was also known as the Golden Chapel. All the images have been destroyed but the four chörtens remain along with a few remaining torsos, disembodied heads and limbs, scattered around the chapel like the leftovers from a sky burial. The mood created by the senseless loss of such magnificent art hangs heavy in the air.

Before its destruction in the Cultural Revolution, the square main hall had four secondary chapels at the centre of each wall. Figures of the deities were arrayed around the wall facing towards a central image atop a lotus pedestal, in the form of a huge three-dimensional Tibetan mandala (a representation of the world of a meditational deity).

You enter the Mandala Chapel through the Gyatsa Lhakhang and finish off a visit by walking around an interior kora of chapels. Most are closed and devoid of statues but a few open to reveal broken legs and plinths.