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Tsetang of Shannan Prefecture, according to the legend, is the cradle of the Tibetan civilization, and gradually developed to the southward, advanced to the Chonggye area on the upper reaches of the Yarlung River. In the 7th century AD, the rise of the Yarlung tribe, which successively annexed Buerva tribes and some others, gradually unified Tibet and established the Tubo regime. Subsequently, the capital was moved to Lhasa.
Tombs of Tibetan Kings (Tsampos) covers an area of 385 square kilometers and is located on the south side of the river in Chonggye County, Shannan Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region. They are the tombs of Tsampos, their ministers and princess consorts of the 29th to the 40th (the last Tsampo) of Tubo Empire in the Tang Dynasty (7th to 9th century). At present, only the owners of the nine tombs could be identified, including Songtsen Gampo, Mangsong Mangtsen, Tridu Songtsen, Tridu Tsuktsen, Trisong Detsen, Khri gtsug lde btsan, Langdarma, Chidusongmanbujie and Mune Tsenpo. It is the most well-preserved large-scale king’s graveyard according to the historic documents.
It contains 23 tombs, 2 steles, 2 stone lions, and 1 building (Rehabilitation building of Songtsen Lacan). The groups of tombs are varying in size. The cemetery is about 2076 meters in length from the east to the west, 1407 meters in width from the north to the south, and covers an area of about 3.85 million square meters. It is mainly divided into two mausoleum areas: the eastern one and the western one, and the two areas are about 800 meters apart. The western area is located on the north side of Mount Muri. There are a large number of tombs and the scale of the enclosure is large. A total of 13 tombs have been found, several of them are large-scale. Lined up from Chonggye River to mountainside of Muri, while the other smaller ones are more concentratedly built in front of this mausoleum. There are 7 tombs founded in total in the eastern area, also called the Dunkada Mausoleum.
A small temple was built on the top of the mound of Songtsen Gampo’s Tomb, which enshrines the statues of Songtsen Gampo, Princess Wencheng and Princess Bhrukuti. As an important part of the history and culture of Tibet, the tombs of Tibetan King has high research and discussion value on the social, political, and economic aspects of the Tubo period. It directly reflects the development level of the Tubo Kingdom (6th-10th century) in politics, economy, religion, folk customs, productivity, construction technology, art, etc.. It doesn’t only reflect the burial level of the funeral system in Tibet more than 1,000 years ago, but also has important value for studying the rise and decline of the Tubo Kingdom.