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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. gene raymond kinne from: 7 Days Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour via Everest Base Camp
how much walking is there per day.  can a older man over 70 years old in good shape do the walking
Answered by Nancy

Dear Gene Raymond Kinne,

Greetings from Nancy Chung at BTT. For the 7 Days Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour via Everest Base Camp, there will not be much walking daily as you will be driven to each place and dropped off there. And please no worry about your age, ha-ha… we had clients who were 83 years old taking this tour before without problem, and I think you will be ok too. best regards to you.

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

user portrait Mr. Meena Vyas from: 15 days Tibet Mount Kailash Trekking plus Mt. Everest Base Camp
Hi
I am interested in 15 day Kailash-Mansarovar tour probably in Late Oct 2018 so that I will have enough time to obtain visa etc. Which aitrport you expect people to arrive at. Do you help with booking airfares. Does tour include walk around Mt Kailash?
Thanks
Answered by Nancy

Dear Mr. Meena Vyas,

Greetings from Nancy Chung at BTT. We will have 15 days Tibet Mount Kailash Trekking plus Mt. Everest Base Camp on 15th Oct. and I am sure you will have enough time to apply your China visa. Normally people will arrive in Lhasa Gongga airport(LXA), then our guide will be there to meet people and transfer to downtown with 3 times daily. There will be 3days for trekking around Kailash included, so you will have enough trekking if you will take this tour. I will send you more details by email. Best wishes to you.

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

user portrait Ms. Barbora from: 15 days Tibet Mount Kailash Trekking plus Mt. Everest Base Camp
Aloha,
I would love to attend your 15 day Kailash tour. I am rather restricted by time, leaving Honolulu Sept 8 or 9 (plus 2 days) arriving Lhasa probably sept 10 or 11; and need to return between Sept 25-28; do you have any availability?
Thank you,
Barbora
Answered by Nancy

Dear Ms. Barbora,

Greetings from Nancy Chung at BTT, ha-ha…we have 15 days Tibet Mount Kailash Trekking plus Mt. Everest Base Camp on 12th Sep. and it is confirmed to depart on time. As this tour will be from 12th Sep to 26th Sep. which will be exactly your time. And I will send you the details by email. 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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7 Days Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour via Everest Base Camp