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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We're two friends from Italy and we’re planning our summer vacation. We're thinking to get to Lhasa approximately on the 8th or 9th of August and to stay for a week. We would like to know which is your best (cheapest) offer (private or group tour) considering that we don’t have a big budget, with details about what’s included and what’s not.
Thank you so much!!!
Dear Mr. Ma***,
Greetings from Nancy at Budget Tibet Tour, thanks for visiting our website and sending your inquiry. I wonder whether you can come to Tibet on 5th Aug, as we have 8days group tour on this date, so I can provide you some discount for the tour. If you want the tour is cheaper, then better for you to join in a group tour, private tour cannot be cheap in Aug as it is the peak season, and everything in its highest cost. And our group size is from 4 to 14 people. Or if you insist the tour on 8th or 9th Aug we can collect people based on that too, but cannot guarantee it will be a group as at least 4 people. Looking forward to your idea about it. Best regards.
Email to Nancy about any question or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side
Email to about any question or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side
2 person from Slovenia,
arrive on 23.06.19 in Kathmandu, departure from Kathmandu on 09.07.19.
10 days Nepal to Tibet overland tour via Everest Base Camp and Namtso Lake.
What will be a total cost for a Tour per Person?
Dear Mr. Jo***,
Greetings from Helen at Budgettibettour. From your inquiry, I see that you are interested in both Everest Base Camp and Namtso Lake, here we recommend one 10 days Tibet Mt. Everest plus Namtso Lake group tour to you, and we currently have one departure date on 28th of June, which is suitable for your itinerary. As you enter Tibet from Nepal, you need to apply for Chinese Group Visa in Kathmandu, which takes at least three working days. If you arrive in Kathmandu on 23rd June, you can start to apply for visa on 24th June, and you'll get visa on 26th or 27th, then flying from Kathmandu to Lhasa and join tour starting on 28th June. Firstly, we will apply for visa invitation letter with copy of your passports. Next, we will send visa invitation letter to you and our partner in Kathmandu. When you arrive in Kathmandu, you need to meet with our partner and give them your original passports. Then they will go to Chinese embassy and apply for visa for you. Finally, pick up your passport and Chinese Group Visa from our partner and fly to Lhasa. I will send detailed itinerary to your email, please check it. Warm regards.
Email to Helen about any question or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side