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Traditional Herbal Walls in Tibet

Time: 19-06-2018 This Article is Composed by BudgetTibetTour

In the Tibetan-inhabited areas, the parapet walls of important halls in monasteries such as large "Zhacang" (group unit name of monasteries. the largest one being "Coqen", followed by "Zhacang" and "Kamnncun" and the smallest "Micun") and sutra hall, are reddish brown, offering a distinct contrast with the white walls. As its materials are made of shrub branches named "Benma" in Tibetan, which are bundled and then dyed, they are called Benma walls.

Traditional Herbal Walls in Tibet

After being peeled off and sun baked, the Benma branches and trunks are chopped into sections 30 centimeters long and, in bundles as thick as an arm, are then piled up to form Benma walls. When building up such walls, a layer of clay stones would be placed on a layer of bundled Benma branches and then tamped down. Then, one after another, the walls would be built up to the top and waterproofed. The reddish brown paint that is used gives the distinctive coloring of the Benma walls.

Traditional Herbal Walls in Tibet

From the view of construction technology, this kind of wall body can reduce the weight of wall, playing a good role in overall weight-reduction of tall Tibetan-style buildings; regarding their appearance. Benma walls play a decorative role by offering a strong color contrast with the dominant white, resulting in a good visual aesthetic feeling. With a reddish brown parapet walls on a white wall body and with the black stripes on the windows edges, the wall color changes from being monotone to colorful and front being light to being dignified, which enhances the seriousness of the whole architecture, just the sort of feeling we get from the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and the three major monasteries in Lhasa.

Traditional Herbal Walls in Tibet

In Tibetan history, reddish brown Benma walls were a special treatment given to for particular buildings, and were not just for anyone. In old Tibet, when the system of combining politics with religion was followed, all the religious buildings like monasteries were distinguished by Benma walls, golden trips, and treasure umbrellas and treasure bottles. In fact, apart from religion, the strict class system that prevailed in Tibet was also reflected in architecture. Thus, the ruling and ruled classes were strictly separated by such symbols as building site, height, decoration and more subtle distinctions such as mounting stones before gates. In site and height, noble houses were distinctively different front the buildings of common people, including being able to have Benma walls. In old-style noble’s houses, we can find some with Benina walls, and the most representative being Chongsekang and Nangeshag on Barkor Street North and Sangzhub Phodrang on Barkur Street Sooth, These constructions are old-style noble’s houses occupied by famous noble families of the old regime. Except for them, there are no Benma walls in non-religious Tibetan-style architecture.

Traditional Herbal Walls in Tibet

In the view of this writer, however, Benma walls originated from the architecture created by the common people. In Tibetan farming areas, it can be found that, on the top of farmers’ houses walls there are circles of closed fitted, piled firewood or cow dung cakes, which offer a color contrast to the while walls. Originally, fanners made good use of the spaces on wall tops to pile rip firewood in order to save living space as well as to prevent thieves from climbing over the walls. Clever Tibetan architects got inspiration from this scene, and adopted it in the building of wall bodies.

Traditional Herbal Walls in Tibet

Benma walls occupy an important position in Tibetan-style architecture, but due to rare materials, complex production process and high cost, it is impossible to adopt it on a large scale in modern Tibetan-style architecture. However, as Benma walls are an indispensable part of traditional Tibetan.-style architecture, we should investigate how to preserve the distribution of Benma walls, the processing and wall construction crafts and their role. Then this aspect of national architecture can be preserved for ever md will play a role in maintaining ancient Tibetan constructions.

Other Travelers' Questions

The questions raised by our past customers can help you get a more clear picture about tours to Tibet, read them or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side, our specialists will reply you within 24 hours.

user portrait Mr. Mi*** from: Mount Kailash Tour from Kathmandu, Nepal

I want to do tour from Kathmondu, coming from USA. what do you recommand in August 2019? Thanks.

Answered by Nancy

Dear Mr. Mi***, 

Greetings from Nancy at Budget Tibet tour, and I am glad to be at your service. Please kindly let me know your nationality firstly since your tour will be involved with Kailash. If you will enter Tibet from Kathmandu, you must leave 3 working days in Kathmandu for you to apply your China visa there, and also if you would like to visit Kailash for sure, I recommend you fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa to join in a group tour as almost all the group tour start from Lhasa. I recommend you to fly to China from USA then go to Kathmandu after the tour as we can drop off you at the border so you can go Kathmandu by overland. Anyway I will send you more details by email. Best regards. 


Email to Nancy about any question or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side

user portrait Mr. Ge*** from: 1 Day Lhasa World Heritages Tour

Dear we are a couple planning to travel from Kathmandu to Lhasa on march 2020 by flight.
We eould like to know the price for the 1 day Lhasa tour
Can we stay 2 additional days without tour-guide ? what about the price of tibet visa??


regards!

Ge***

Answered by Helen

Dear Mr. Ge***,

Thanks very much for your enquiry. Please kindly note that the Tibet will closed to foreign tourists in March every year, I was wondering whether you could adjust your travel time or not. Sure, we can arrange 1 day Lhasa private tour for you, the quotation is based on your travel time. Please check your email for more details. Warm regards,


Email to Helen about any question or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side

user portrait Mr. Ma*** from: 18 days Tibet Mount Kailash & Guge Kingdom Expedition

Hello there

I am favouring with one of your tours including the pilgrimage around mount kailash.
What is the level of fitness required ?
I am female, 54 years old and I gues medium fit. I dont do too much sports but regularly hiking.
The timeframe for me would be mid May until Mid june.

Thanks

Ma***

Answered by Nancy

Dear Ma***, 

Greetings from Nancy at Budget Tibet tour, and I am glad to be at your service. As we do not have group to Guge, but we do have 15days Lhasa to Kailash trekking pilgrim tour on 15th May and 10th June, both dates are available for you to join in. 10th June group tour will come cross the Saga Dawa festival in Kailash on 17th June, so if you can make it that would be great. Your age is quite young, please worry free, and most of our clients were your same age, some are more than 70 years old even did the tour quite well, and 3days pilgrim tour would be no problem. You will leave most of your luggage in hotel, and carry the necessary stuff, and also there are some tea house there providing hot water, simple food and basic shelter for sleeping, but of course please do not expect too high about it. And we will do the outer circle for the pilgrim trekking which will be 54km in total. I will send you more details to your email please check it there. Best regards.  


Email to Nancy about any question or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side

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