Himalayan Art Resources

Tibet: Sakya, Protector Temple (SRG Archive)

Sakya Monastery & Town

Related Topics:
- Sakya Main Page
- Sakya Protectors Outline

The Protector Temple of Lhakang Chenmo is a free standing building within the massive compound surrounded by the 30 foot fortress walls. The outside entrance way ceiling is decorated with the stuffed skins of jackals. The shrine is mainly populated with larger than life size masks of the principal Sakya protector deities: Panjarnata Mahakala, Brahmanarupa Mahakala, Shri Devi, Ekajati, and the Five Activity Deities. One corner of the temple is dedicated to the Bamo spirits, a classification of witch that is unique to Sakya - sometimes known as the Three Witches of Sakya. Bamo are subjugated witches that now serve as protector spirits for the Sakya Tradition. They are typically represented as masks with distinctive features for each of the commonly invoked witches: Mamo Rikyi, Namkha Drolma and Shangmo.

It is hard to say whether this building is refurbished or completely re-built in past the few decades.

There are numerous other smaller protector chapels in the Lhakang Chenmo complex. The towers on the outer walls have numerous chapels of various types.

Jeff Watt 10-2007 [updated 4-2020]