Guge

Guge is known as a Lost kingdom in Tibet.  The ruins of the Kingdom are located in the western part of Tibet. It is approximately 1500km from Lhasa elevation is about 3750m above the sea level. And, the Lost Kingdom is under the jurisdiction of Ngari prefecture, bordering India to its south.

Guge Kingdom

The roof of the World

About Guge, it is said to be the highest of the ancient kingdom. Which is located on the ridge of the Roof of the World, as Tibet is called. Marching westwards to Guge from Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, is a long and hard journey. Moreover, it crosses a vast uninhabited barren land. The powerful Guge kingdom ruled it for over 700 years from the 9th to the 17th century. Altogether 16 kings ruled it. Yet, historical records reveal little about the kingdom rise and sudden demise. It was instead from some letters by western missionaries that people got to know more about the lost empire.

Records show that it once made great religious and economic achievements. However, the mighty kingdom was involved in a fatal war in the 17th century. As a result, its glory was reduced to pieces. The invasion of the neighboring state of Ladakh, coupled with the domestic rebellion of Guge monks. So, all of these brought the kingdom to its knees.

The ruins: the only visible legacy of the kingdom

The only visible legacy of the kingdom has left behind is the ruins. The ruins extend from the mid-ridge of a hill 300 meters high at its peak. Furthermore, it covers an area of 720,000 square meters. It is the second largest ruin in Tibet. Archaeologists have unearthed 445 earthen and wooden structures, 879 caves, 58 blockhouses (a kind of fortification building), four secret tunnels, 28 stupas (traditional pagoda-shaped Buddhist monuments), granaries and weaponry storehouses.

It was economically advanced and famous for its industrial achievements.  Such achievements were panning for gold, smelting, pottery-making, weaving, carpentry, carving, and printing. Geographically connecting India and the hinterland of Tibet, Guge played a significant role in spreading Buddhist doctrines. The ruling class was fervently Buddhist. In addition, they did a lot to promote their expansion. They invited Buddhist masters from India to spread Buddhism. A mural in one of the surviving structures vividly depicts a Guge king warmly welcoming a visiting Buddhist master from India. They also sent Buddhists to India to learn more about the religion. Furthermore, they had Buddhist scripture translated into the Tibetan language.

 

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