Himalayan Art Resources

Region: Nepal, Mustang, Konchog Ling Cave Paintings

Konchog Ling Cave | Mustang Main Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Konchog Ling Description (below)
- Systems of Mahasiddhas
- Eighty-four Mahasiddhas (Vajrasana)
- Four Lings
- Masterworks
- Confusions
- Others...

The Mustang region of West Nepal is filled with hundreds if not thousands of caves cut into the mountainsides. They have been used as homes, storage facilities, burial sites, refuge from invasion, and retreat dwellings for Bon and Buddhist practitioners. The age of some of the caves date back several thousand years while others - more recent - may have been created as late as five hundred years ago.

Some of the many caves are decorated with beautiful murals. The Konchog Ling Cave in Upper Mustang depicts Vajradhara, Chaturbhuja Avalokiteshvara and Tara as the largest figures and then a portion of the Eighty-four Mahasiddhas according to the Vajrasana System of enumeration (see Vajrasana Outline Page). Each siddha figure is accompanied by the famous four line verse (unique for each siddha) composed by Vajrasana - an abbot of Bodhgaya in the 11th century.

The cave has suffered damage from natural erosion and the remainder of the Eighty-four siddhas have been lost due to the outer walls of the cave crumbling away. The date of the paintings is believed to be 13th or 14th century. (Photos provided by (c) Nelli Rieuf).

Jeff Watt 5-2013