Traditional Tibetan Architecture

Traditional Tibetan Architecture is easily-Recognizable forms of architecture and one of the world’s most unique. Yet, studies of Tibetan architecture is still very much unexplored field. With the construction of the first Tibetan Buddhist temple in Central Tibet, we have 1300 year of written history of About Tibetan architecture. Tibetan construction activities can be traced back over 1300 years when the first Buddhist temples were built in central Tibet. Jokhang temple is said to be the first construction in Tibet. Yet there are some buildings which are said to be older than the Temple.

The earliest Tibetan Architectural Monuments show the strong influence from the Indian and Nepalese Prototypes. you can clearly see it in the Jokhang temple in Lhasa. Monuments and temples built after the second diffusion of Buddhism are build with locally developed architecture with very limited influences from foreign architecture. All the defensive architecture are based on indigenous technologies and design.

Later Tibetan people have perfected their own unique architectural style. few standard principles give Tibetan Building it Characteristic Organic design.

All our house and temple are heavy at the lower floor and lighter at the Higher levels. Walls are built with outside bending towards the building. All the roofs are flats, except for the golden rooftop for the Temples and Monasteries. which is not so common.

All the window are doors are elegantly painted with the different design. From the outside, you will see the black frames around the Doors and Windows. There is a complex wooden overhang decoration to all the doors and windows. All the interior timber frames on the ceiling follow intricate Carving by following the Design principles. All our architecture designs are organic and Building appears to grow from the landscape.

Our Tibetan Buildings are well suited for the local geographical and climatical Condition. It is a delightful blend of man-made Structure and nature. Our buildings often outlive their utility period. Every bit of the parts can be re-used. If the Building decade, it would simply merge back to nature.

For over thousands of year, Tibetan Architecture style has been the preferred architectural style for constructing Monasteries and palaces across the Himalayas and Inner Asia. Potala Palace in Lhasa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994 is the best-known example of Tibetan architecture.

Features in Tibetan Architecture

Our Tibetan architecture is a true reflection of our culture. There is plenty of influences from the nearby cultures like Chinese Tang, Traditional Indian Buddhist style, Mongols and Nepalese styles of architecture.

When you travel to Tibet, you will find the most unique Tibetan architecture style fascinating. You will find Tibetan Military fortifications in the Potala Palace and Sakya Monastery. You will also find usual Tibetan house with two floors. The lower floors are usually for the livestock and storing house for grains. The upper floor is for the family residence. The residential part of the family consist of the common room for gathering and sleeping, Chapel room for deities, Kitchen and the special room for married couples (which is available in only a few houses). The most common sight of the Tibetan residential house is the Prayer flags on the rooftop.

Some other features of the Tibetan Architecture are:

Build of elevated spot

All our houses and Monasteries are built on an elevated spot. it prevents the wall from the damage of the water and moisture. And it gives a better view of the areas.

Faced south

All the window and doors and the courtyards are all facing the south. The reason it is facing south you will have more sun time each day especially in the winter. In Lhasa, the price of the new house or apartment is clearly defined by how many sunshine the house will get. More the sunlight it gets, more expensive the house will be.  All the house has a big window on the south side of the house for more solar lights.

Flat rooftop

All the house in entire Tibet aspect for the Kongpo Region has the flat rooftop. The flat roof conserves the heat from the sunshine and also it is easier to clean the roof during the snowfall.

Different style of architecture in different region of Tibet

Socialogocal studies of Tibetan architecture

Tibetan house builds with great influences of local lifestyle, climates, and Geographical. It can also tell about the how well the family is doing and what is the primary occupation of the family. The rich families have a bigger house with a big courtyard and lots of sunspaces. When the family is building a new house, this family has to arrange the land and materials. Otherwise, all the villager and community members would come around to help. The family did have to pay for the labor but has to arrange lavish feast and drinks for the worker to enjoy. When it is a turn for another family to build a new house everybody has to join in the labor force.

You can also tell how well a family is doing by the number of firewood and number Yak dung around the rooftop. That is the economic indicator to show the family prosperity. every village and town has a temple or Monastery of any size. This monastery would become social gathering places.

Tibetan Architecture Now

Now days all the local government and regional government of Tibet is putting a great effort in conserving the Tibetan Architectural skills. All the old houses are getting listed into the Cultural heritage site and protected as per the law. There is also a great encouragement from the government to preserve the local craftsmanship of Tibetan architecture.

Tibet university has a special class for Tibetan architecture. There are often brought to the different areas and monasteries to learn a great deal of it from the first hand experiences.

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