Photo from www.tibetreis.com
If you observe this rock closely, you can detect the presence of labyrinthine caves and tunnels dug onto it. It is speculated that in ancient times, there were two public temples the Lhakhang Karpo (White Chapel) and the Lhakhang Marpo (Red Chapel) accessed by the commoners inhabiting a village near its base. There are a set of serpentine tunnel staircases leading to the monks’ quarters and the royal quarters with increasing height with the summer palace poised at the top.
What puzzles modern tourists and researchers of Guge, is why this once lively empire, inhabiting at least by 10,000 people has left behind no descendents at all. Could the 1650’s Ladakhi invasion followed by that of the Red Guards of the Chinese Cultural Revolution have completely wiped out the tunnel residents of the Tsaparang dwellings? Today you can visit Tsaparang as a Tibetan tourist spot and come across an excess of interesting facts and clues about Tsaparang that the pages of history do not provide.
The average buildings of the conical rock over which the ruined citadel of Tsaparang is situated, are carved out of rocks and mud brick. The chapels along the winding path to Tsaparang have stood against the ravages of time and stand out distinctly from the surrounding ruins. The Guge temples containing a wealth of statues were destroyed indiscriminately by the Chinese Red Guards in 1967. Thankfully, just before that in 1948, the German Buddhist monk Lama Govinda and his wife had visited Tsaparang and photographed the temples in their untouched glory.