Hermitage in Gechen


This photograph shows a view of a hermitage called Gechen (also seen as G'ech'en-ritod or Gechen-ritod in other sources). The hermitage is built into the top of a remote hillside located to the north of the Sera monastery. In his 1904 article “Journey to Lhasa,” G.Ts. Tsybikov wrote that the “Sera monastery is . . . renowned for its ascetics, who live isolated in their ritods, or cells, plunged into contemplation.” The photograph 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 photographs in this collection were taken by two Mongolian Buddhist lamas, 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.

Last updated: March 22, 2016