Guge kingdom also known as “Xiang-Xiong Kingdom,” was the first kingdom of Tibet, built at present-day Zanda county in Western Tibet. The site of this kingdom was the capital, which was the first city where people inhabited in Tibet. It is approximately 300 kilometers west of Mount Kailash , 190 kilometers south from Ali (Shi-Quan-He), the administrative capital of the Ali Area.
It was regarded as “heartland” or “Inner Xiang-Xiong” in contrast to Central Tibet known as “The middle Xiang-Xiong.” The eastern Tibet of Kham & Amdo are referred to as “Outlying Xiang-Xiong” since 2,800 B.C.
The religion of Bon is sourced from Guge and was a native religion of Tibet. It has been mixed with Buddhism spreading from “India and forming the current Tibetan Buddhism
It, located by the bank of Sutlej River, is about 30 kilometers north of Guge kingdom. It was found in the 9th century and was the political, cultural center for western Tibet.
Sited on a minor trade route linking Tibet, Kashmir and India the twin-towns of Tholing and Tsaparang thrived until the 17th century when Muslim forces overcame the defenses and massacred local Tibetan.
From the 1680’s until the early 20th century the region was largely deserted, with its history and cultural artifacts forgotten and undisturbed. Guge kingdom remains historically important as the repository of a vanished artistic style and the source from which Buddhist faith spread throughout Tibet.
Guge Kingdom numbers
The 700-year-old Guge Kingdom are situated along the slope of a mountain. The structures were built along the slope with a difference in altitude of 175 meters. The structures have a floor space of 720,000 square meters. There are 445 houses (remains), 879 caves, 58 strongholds, 4 tunnels, 28 Buddhist pagodas, and a number of grain depots and weapon warehouses. Its scale is next only to that of the Potala Palace in Lhasa. The remaining buildings are five superior temples and palaces including the White Temple, Red Temple, Samsara Temple, Imperial Palace and Assembly Palace. These structures have many inscriptions, statues and murals displayed inside. Their great research value has fixed the ruins onto the first group of National-Level Cultural Heritage sites.
There are murals depicting scens of Buddha worshipping, farming, herding, milking, singing and dancing. The scenes vividly reflect the life of the times. The murals from the Guge remains and the murals from nearby Dongga which belong to the same system match those found in the Mogao Grottoes of Gansu’s Dunhuang in terms of both scale and level of artistic achievement.
Guge Kingdom Data
Tuo Ling River South Bank
08:00 am – 19:00 pm
RMB 50 per person
How to get to there
The closest airport is Ali Kunsha airport. A 3 hours’ drive is needed to get to Guge ruin. There are about 3 ways to get to here by vehicle to cover this 160 kilometers drive;
-1), via N219 road, from Men Tu county , via Dong po monastery ruin and Da ba ruin to here
-2), via N219 road, from Ba-er via Pi-Yang-Dong-Ga ruin to Zha da (To ling) to here
-3), Kun Sha airport, along via N219 road, via Na-mu-ru and Pi-Yang-Dong-Ga ruin to Zha da (To ling) to here
Add: Gar Xian, Ngari
IATA Code: NGQ
Altitude: 4,270 meters
Contact: +86 897 2891888
Ngari Bus Station
Address: Opposite the Ngari Post Office,
Contact: +86 897 2826591
Altitude: 4,300 meters
Working hours: 07:00 am – 17:30 pm