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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 Ms. Ho*** from: 7 Days Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour via Everest Base Camp

Hello!


My husband and I are looking at travel in April 2019. We currently are only a group of 2, but it is possible we may have another 2 friends join us.
We are comparing tours for the 7 day tour from Lhasa to Kathmandu. What price can you offer for group tour for 2 (or 4 people) for the Lhasa to Kathmandu trips if we were to book in the next two weeks?


Many thanks,
Ho***

Answered by Nancy

Dear Ms. Ho***,

Greetings from Nancy Chung at Budget Tibet Tour, thanks for visiting our website and sending your inquiry, if there are 4 people in your group, I recommend you to take it as private tour, thus you will have the guide and driver on your own, and the tour can be flexible. If there are 2 in your group, of course take part in a group tour is better, and we have several groups in April, or we can open a new date based on your travel time, and our group size is 4 to 13 people. And if you will book in next weeks, I can apply some discount for you. Please check the email for more details. Best regards.

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

user portrait Ms. Mi*** from: 4 Days Lhasa Holy Landmarks Express

Hello,
I am interested in a tour with you all in and around Lhasa for a party of two.
We would be arriving on the 23rd of December and departing on the 25th.

We plan on arriving on train from Chengdu, China on the 23rd. Thinking of doing a monastery/temple tour the day we arrive. On the 24th, our full day, we would be interested in going to Yamdrok lake or something similar, 25th be in Lhasa to see rest other temples/monastery before we fly out in the evening.

We would like to get a tentative itinerary and price for the trip all inclusive.
Transportation, hotel stay, meals and Tibet permit. 


Thank you so much,
Mi***

Answered by Helen

Hi Ms. Mi***,

Thanks very much for your inquiry. According to your itinerary, there is no group tour that suits for you, while we can arrange a private tour for you. Taking private tour, our guide will take you to visit all the scenic spots that you mentioned, and we will give you a quotation of this tour based on two of you, which includes transportation, hotel, guide and Tibet Permit. I will send detailed itinerary and quotation to you by email, please check your email. Warm regards.

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

user portrait Mr. Go*** from: Why Mount Kailash is worshiped as the most sacred mountain in Tibet?

I want to organize tours to Tibet from Nepal can you sent me cost rate for all tours what you organize with detail itinerary

Answered by Nancy

Dear Mr. Go***,

Greetings from Nancy Chung at Budget Tibet Tour, thanks for visiting our website and sending your inquiry, please kindly let me know your nationality if you will visit Kailash, as we cannot apply Tibet permit to Kailash for Indian passport holders, and also Kailash is not possible to go from late Oct to early April due to the cold weather, and it will closed. If you will just take the tour from Kathmandu to Lhasa via Mt. Everest, which will be no problem to go year around (except every March). If you can provide how many people in your group and when you would like to take this tour, you will get the precise quote within 24 hours. Thanks and best regards to you.

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