Yarba Ritod Hermitage


This photograph shows the scattered and secluded buildings of the Yarba Ritod hermitage, located along the route from Lhasa to the Gah-Idan (or Gah-Dan) monastery. The famous Buddhist teacher, philosopher, and guru Padma Sambhava is said to have lived in a cave at the hermitage for some time. In Journey to Lhasa and Central Tibet (1902), Sarat Chandra Das writes: “We reached the cell of Padma Sambhava, near which is a chapel called the Upper Lha-khandg of Shetag. The keeper led us to a heavy door under a huge rock; unlocking it we entered the cavern, which is held the most sacred shrine of the Nyingma sect. In it I saw a silver reliquary in which is kept a silver image of the saint, representing him as a boy of twelve. There was a plate before the image filled with rings, earrings, turquoises, pieces of amber, gold and silver coins, the offerings of pilgrims.” 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, 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.

Last updated: March 22, 2016