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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.

Travelers' Questions Might Help

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. St*** from: Kailash Circuit ( 18 Days )

ello, we are willing to organized a tour of Kailash from Lhassa for a group of 4 persons (3 french and 1 from Kazakstan) around end of august. Could you provide a private tour for 4 persons ? and for what price ?

Thank you very much

St***

Answered by Helen

Dear St***, 

Greetings from Helen at Budget Tibet Tour, thanks for visiting our website and sending your inquiry. I do not know if your friend who hold Kazakstan can apply China visa, as it is quite strict for them to get China visa, and almost the embassy would turn them down. So please tell your friend about it. No offence, and we had Kazakstan clients before but failed to get China visa so cannot come to join in the tour. If there are 3 or 4 of you, and I just wonder whether it will be OK for you to join in a group tour, and we have the group tour on 12th Sept, which I can provide you some discount if all of you would like to join in, and also our group size is 4 to 12 people, so not large group.  I will provide you the private tour quote too with 3 people and 4 people and also you can start it in Aug or Sept any time you want. And 30th Aug. will be Tibet Shoton festival which will last about 1 week in Lhasa, and the highlight will be the first day in Drepung Monastry for Thangka Buddha Show there. Best regards.

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

user portrait Ms. jo*** from: 10 Days Tibet Mt. Everest Base Camp plus Namtso Lake Group Tour

hi

I am interested in your 10D Tibet Mt. Everest Base Camp plus Namtso Lake Group Tour for the departure date on 20 May. However I may likely book the flight arriving Lhasa on 17 May. is it possible to arrange the Tibet tour permit from 17 May before start of tour?

as my flight will be arriving at around 6pm after the free airport pick up time, can I take the airport shuttle bus by myself to my accommodation without a guide? how do I arrange pick up from my own-arranged hotel to the hotel booked by this tour on day 1 of itinerary?

also I am booking for one pax only and will like to share room. currently only one pax has booked. may I know if there is a minimum group size for the tour to be confirmed? or will it be last minute cancelled if the tour booking does not meet the minimum pax requirement.?

Answered by Helen

Dear Ms. jo***,

Thanks very much for your inquiry, and we currently have one departure date on 20th of May, you are quite welcome to join us! I was wondering whether you could fly to Lhasa on 20th or not. Well, you can also arrive in Lhasa on 17th, but there is extra fee. When you arrive in Lhasa at 6pm of 17th, you'll miss our free pick up on 20th, please note that you can't take bus or taxi from airport to hotel by yourself, because when you enter Lhasa, you must be escorted with a guide according to the policy (there will be policeman check-point on the way from airport to downtown), so the guide will pick you up at the airport and help you pass the check-point, and there is extra pick up fee. There is one tourist who has booked this tour, but he will stay in a single room. We will try our best to find a roommate for you, but if we fail, I was wondering whether you mind staying in guesthouse (dorm-bed, public bathroom, with breakfast), which can avoid single room supplement fee for you. The minimum group size is two persons, now there is one tourist has booked this tour, if you book this tour, there are two persons together, we won't cancel it. I will send detailed itinerary to you by 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

user portrait Mr. Ro*** from: Mount Kailash Tour Cost

Hi ,

Can I get information to do the Inner Kora Darshan of Mount Kailash. I am planning to start my tour from Lhasa. Appreciate if you could provide details//// Tour Operators . Please note I will flying from Canada to Lhasa and I do have a mutiple Chinese Visa.

Answered by Helen

Dear Mr. Ro***, 

Greetings from Helen at Budget Tibet Tour, thanks for visiting our website and sending your inquiry. Normally people are not allowed to take the Inner Kora unless they finish the 13 circles outside kora, so at present we never managed it successful for the inner Kora tour there. And we only have the 15 days Tibet Mount Kailash Trekking plus Mt. Everest Base Camp tour available every month from April to Oct. Please kindly let me know when you would like to do this tour? So I can recommend you the proper date. Your visa will be No problem for us to apply Tibet permit. I will send you more details by email. Best regards.


Email to Helen 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