The Tombs of Tibetan Kings
Buried here are the kings, the ministers and the royal concubines from the 29th Tsanpo to the last(the 40th). It is also the largest tumuli group in Tibet. From all of the tombs, the most remarkable one is King Songtsan Gampo’s.
Situated on the Muchong Hill opposite to the Yarlung River, which shows that Tobu had focused on “fengshui” that centered on “with its back to the mountains and facing the waters”, The tombs erect on the plateau, with west wind blowing and sunset shining, and the Yarlung River flowing silently to the east, the tombs look grave. All these form a unique sight. The Tombs of the Tibetan Kings have become the state key protected historical site.
The grave yard that we can see today is 2,076 meters long and 1,407 meters wide, with an area of about 3.06 million square meters. According to historical documents and inscriptions on the memorial tablets, some tomb occupants such as Songtsen Gampo, Manshongman Tomb, Hedezhuzhan Tomb,Trisong Detsen, Tride Songsten, Lang Darma have been identified. Similarly shaped, they were all high with square and flat tops of piled stone and pecked earth. But now, after over a thousand years of wind and weather, their characteristics have changed; some have become round and flat on top. They are of different sizes and scattered disorderly in the yard. Some are as high as a small hill. According to King Last words: “There are nine underground chambers with the body of the Tsanpo coated with gold in the center and the chambers were full of treasures”. The Tsanpos couldn’t imagine that their tombs were robbed in the early years.
Near the river there is a big tomb which is said to be the tomb of Songtsen Gampo. A small temple on the tomb containing the statues of Songtsen Gampo and Princess Wencheng are houses for the monks who care for the tomb. According to historical records, there are five underground chambers. The tomb is as long as the distance an shooting arrow can cover and as wide as 100 meters. The gate of the tomb faces southwest, towards Sakyamuni’s homeland, to demonstrate the king's piety to Buddhism. In the tomb, the statues of Songtsen Gampo, Sakyamuni, and Avalokitesvara are believed to be enshrined and there are great quantities of gold, silver, pears and agates as funeral objects. On the left side of the tomb it is said to be a suit of golden amour worn by Songtsan Gampo on expedition and at the foot of which buried pears as heavy as 14 kilograms; to the right side to have laid knights and battle horses made of solid gold as the retinue of Songtsan Gampo after his demise.
There is a pair of stone lions and two steles erected in the graveyard. The stele of Tride Songsten which was dug up in 1984 is 7.18 high inscribed with dragon, four snakes, flying Apsaras , the sun and the moon and Tride Songsten’s merits and achievements in ancient Tibetan script. The lions are comparatively complete besides one of the lions’ left leg is broken. The lion and the pedestal are 1.55meters high and the pedestal is 1.3 meters long and 0.76 meter wide. The carving is skillful and vivid. The largest tomb is the son of Princess Jincheng—Tride Songsten. The tomb is square and each side is 180 meters long and the present height is 14.7 meters.