1936 - 1937 Mission Diary

The official diary of the Gould mission to Lhasa sent by the British government. Read more about the mission diary.

November 28th, Saturday.

see photographs below

There was a great procession in the city today. An enormous image of the goddess Palden Lhamo was taken from the Cathedral and carried through the streets. This is the goddess of whom Queen Victoria was supposed to be an incarnation. Lamas, many of them grotesquely masked, first cleared a way through the densely crowded streets. When the goddess appeared long trumpets were blown, drums were beaten, and a great pyramid of straw was burnt in the street, while lamas danced and chanted. This goddess, when the world was young, was about to destroy all creation; but in the nick of time a husband was found for her and he, apparently, appeased her wrath. On the day that she is taken round Lhasa her husband, who is kept in a monastery on the other side of the Kyi Chu, is also taken out and they are allowed to behold each other annually, at a distance of several miles.

Author: Frederick Spencer Chapman [see handwritten annotations in Diary by Hugh Richardson in MS. Or. Richardson 2, Bodleian Libary, Department of Oriental Collections, University of Oxford]

Page Reference: Pt X p.1

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