Lhasa, Kunduling Monastic Palace from Southeast


This southeastern view of the Kunde-ling monastic palace (also seen as Kunduling or Kontia Ling in other sources) is from a collection of 50 photographs of central Tibet acquired in 1904 from the Imperial Russian Geographical Society in Saint Petersburg by the American Geographical Society. The abbot of this monastic palace was regent (gyel bo or gyal-tsab) at the time of the 1882 visit to Lhasa by Sarat Chandra Das, who described passing the residence of the regent in his 1902 edition of Journey to Lhasa and Central Tibet: “. . . we passed Kunduling, the residence of the regent, and entered the city by the western gateway, called the Pargo kaling chorten, and my heart leaped with exultation as I now reached the goal of my journey—the far-famed city of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet.” The dark building with the roof in Chinese style is a Chinese shrine (called Balalugu or Baralalugu). On W.W. Waddell's plan of Lhasa (1904), the hill where the shrine stands is called Ba-mo (also seen as bong-ba). The shrine stands at the northwestern corner of Kunde-ling, not at the southeastern corner, where it is placed on A-K's plan of Lhasa. (“A-K” refers to Pandit Kishen Singh, a legendary explorer of the Survey of India who in 1878-1882 traveled to Tibet and mapped the city of Lhasa.) The photographs in this collection were taken by two Mongolian Buddhist lamas, G.Ts. Tsybikov and Ovshe (O.M.) Norzunov, who visited Tibet in 1900 and 1901. Accompanying the photos is a set of notes written in Russian for the Imperial Russian Geographical Society by Tsybikov, Norzunov, and other Mongolians familiar with central Tibet. Alexander Grigoriev, corresponding member of the American Geographical Society, translated the notes from Russian into English in April 1904.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Lhasa, Kunduling Monastic Palace from SE

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photograph ; 5.5 x 8.5 inches


  1. A-K's Plan of Lhasa (1878): http://collections.lib.uwm.edu/u?/tibet,107    
  2. S.C. Das, Journey to Lhasa and Central Tibet (London: John Murray, 1902).
  3. W.W. Rockhill, Tibet (London: Royal Asiatic Society, 1890).
  4. Waddell's Plan of Lhasa (1904): http://collections.lib.uwm.edu/u?/tibet,110

Last updated: March 22, 2016