Robert Powell

Minjhi Lhakhang
65 x 91 cm

Between the villages of Braga and Te in the valley of the Narshing Chu
are some large ourcroppings of sedimentary deposits riddled with eroded
caves. This painting is a measured section through a hillock where a
temple has been built into what seem like caves from a much earlier
period. One enters the hill through a small opening at the base which
leads into the bottom cave, and then ascends on notched-log ladders to
the temple space above.

"Like Tangbe, Braga is reported to have been founded by migrants
from Manang who gave the name of their original home to the new
settlement. Braga is a large village a short distance south of the main town
of Manang. In this case, the Braga clan are said to be descended from a
family who fled their home to escape reprisals for a murder that they had
committed there, bringing with them their clan god. The god in question is
housed in a small temple, called sMan-rtis lha-khang [ Mentsi Lhakhang],
that is the common property of the six households of the Braga clan
(three of which are located in Braga itself and three in Cikyab). The
temple itself is a mudbrick building inside a cave a short distance up the
Narshing Chu. A gap between the temple and the cave wall permits
circum-ambulation of the construction. The temple walls are decorated
with paintings of saints and Buddhas, and clay images include figures of
Avalokitesvara and the five Kulesa. The clan god itself is a stone
hexahedron about 75 cm high with a surface of perhaps 30 cm' , covered
in oil and topped with a few smaller stones. The six households take it in
turns, one month at a time, to make daily offerings in the temple.
(Interestingly, contrary to the usual practice of offering water
(yonchab) in the morning and lighting a lamp in the evening, the clan has
contracted the two rituals into a single occasion, performed in the
midafternoon.)": Charles Ramble and Christian Seeber, "Dead and Living
Settlements in the Shoyul of Mustang." in Ancient Nepal: No 138,
September, 1995, p. 112.

"Among the murals and sculptures some remnant paintings from the
12th or 13th centuries perhaps date the temple's foundation." Mary
Slusser