Tibetan Texts > Deb Ther Sngon Po (blue Annals) > Reference Resources - The Blue Annals > Place Names Cited in Blue Annals ta-tha-da-na > Dartsedo

Return to Tibetan Renaissance Seminar > Week 4

Dartsedo Gazeteer Entry

Alison Melnick

NameDartsedo County དར་རྩེ་མདོ་རྫོང།དར་མདོ་རྫོང (also called Tachienlu, Dardo, and Kangding)
Transliteration form(s)dar rtse mdo rdzong, dar mdo rdzong
Source of informationRoerich, George N, The Blue Annals, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1996 (Reprint). The Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center: www.tbrc.org. ( TBRC #G2308). Encyclopedia Britannica online: (external link: http://www.britannica.com/eb/topic-311025/Kang-ting). Wikipedia. The Tibetan and Himalayan Digital Library: www.thdl.org
Elevation8,400 ft./ 2,560 m.
DistrictGarze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (dkar mdzes bod rigs rang skyong khul).
Cultural locationThe border between Kham and cultural China.
Location's languageTibetan (Kham Dialect), Chinese.
Blue Annals Referencespg. 411


Dartsedo, a predominantly Tibetan region, is considered to be the defining border between Kham (eastern Tibet) and cultural China. Located on the T'o River, 62 miles (100 km) west of Ya-an, it’s major historical significance is its role as the border between two cultural regions.

Dartsedo in the Blue Annals

Dartsedo is only mentioned once throughout the entire text of the Blue Annals. Although this suggests that the area is unimportant for the author’s understanding of Tibetan history, the only mention of the region is important to our historical understanding of how it was viewed in Gö Lotsawa’s time. The entire discussion of Dartsedo in the Blue Annals occurs in an account of the life of Chögyi Gyeltsen (b.1283) and reads as follows: “Journeying as far as Dar-tshe-mdo (Ta-tsien-lu on the Sino-Tibetan border), he received large offerings and sent them to sPre’u-zin (near Gyangtse), where he acted as abbot” (R411).

While this might seem insignificant at first glance, it is very interesting that, as early as the thirteenth century, the Sino-Tibetan cultural border was defined by the same location as it is in the twenty-first century. While the Blue Annals does not lend much more information about the region, it provides the starting point for an interesting study of the cultural history of Dartsedo as a historical border region.

It seems that many of the region’s Buddhist institutions were founded after the life of Gö Lotsawa. Also, from information gleaned elsewhere, it seems that many of the Kagyu Monasteries in the region were later converted to Nyingma institutions. While the dates for these conversions were not always clear from their context in these sources, it is possible that, if the monasteries had even been erected at the time of Gö Lotsawa, they may not have been considered as significant to him because of their remote location. Very few of the monastic institutions in this region that were originally associated with the Kagyu sect have maintained that association. From the long list of monasteries included in the TBRC database (listed below), only a few of the original Kagyu institutions are still considered Kagyu.

Other sources provide more detailed information about Dartsedo than that found in the Blue Annals. For example, we know that the region was formerly ruled by the Chakla (lcags la) family, and that the region has many monasteries, including:

Nyingma Monasteries

  • Nyenlamgon (snyan lam dgon, originally Bönpo)
  • Nyi Ö (nyi 'od), founded 1796
  • Dardo Sengge
  • Drakar Gon (brag mkhar dgon, aka Mindronorbuling: smin grol nor bu gling). This was originally a Karma Kamtshang monastery but Padma Rigdzin changed its affiliation to the Nyingma in 1670.
  • Rati Gon (rA tI dgon aka rA tI byams pa gling. Also associated with Dzogchen),
  • Dorje Drak (rdo rje brag, smad). Part of the Chang Ter byang gter tradition, Dorje Drak was founded by the Chakla family.
  • Péri Gompa (dpal ris dgon pa) was originally a Kagyu institution.
  • Karma Ridrö (dkar mda' ri khrod) was founded by Do Khyentse.
  • Nata Gon (nA tha dgon).
  • Bané Gon (bAH gnas dgon)is part of the Chang Ter (byang gter) tradition.
  • Ralu (ra lu dgon).

Sakya Monasteries

  • Pélhagang Gon (dpal lha sgang dgon) Originally a Kagyupa institution.
  • Kyétsé Gon (skyed tshal dgon)
  • Chukmo Gon (phyug mo dgon)
  • Kapshi Gonpa (dka' bzhi dgon pa)
  • Riku Gon (ri khud dgon)
  • Kuchor Gon ( khu 'byor dgon)
  • Sakya Gon (sa skya dgon)
  • Se’u Gon (se'u dgon)
  • Né-ok Gon (gnas 'og dgon)

Gelukpa Monasteries

  • Lhamotse Gon : The first Gelukpa Monastery in Gyémorong (rgyal mo rong) in the Chakla realm. It was originally a Kagyu monastery.
  • Ngachö Gon (lnga mchod dgon)
  • Geka Gonpa ('ge kha dgon pa)
  • Kyilek Gonpa (skyid legs dgon pa)

Kagyu Monasteries

  • Gankardrupde (gangs dkar sgrub sde)
  • Khamsumdrak Gonpa (khams gsum grags dgon pa)

return to Alison Melnick