1936 - 1937 Mission Diary

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

Gyantse, 13,120 ft. 14 miles.

see photographs below

Owing to the numerous official receptions, we had to time our march carefully so as to arrive at a spot some 3 miles from Gyantse at 11 A.M. Chapman went ahead with two cinemas to shoot the receptions.

The rest of us rode together except Dagg whose pony went lame, and our followers clad in red and black, and gold made a brave picture of colour, vied in by the various Tibetan officials whom we met.

First of all we met Raja Tering, a relation of the Maharajah of Sikkim who lives on his estate near Gyantse. Then half-a-mile on the British Trade Agent Mr. Richardson with Capts. Guthrie and Morgan, the Agency Surgeons, and Capt. Salomons O. C. Escorts, 2/7th Rajput Regt., were drawn up with a guard of M. I. and numerous chaprasis with highly coloured uniforms.

A mile further on the Eastern Jongpen and the Western Jongpen of Gyantse met us, and finally quite close to Gyantse, the Tibetan Trade Agent or Khenchung, an official of the fourth class and thus senior to the Jongpens, together with the Head Lama or Abbott of the Gyantse Gompa. The latter's head dress was very remarkable.

The etiquette as to meeting officials in order of seniority is strict, juniors first and seniors nearest home. Also the scarf ceremony is governed by strict rules. The lower ranks present scarves (in lieu of visiting cards) and get none in return. The more senior present a scarf and get it handed back to them. The most senior present a scarf and receive back another from the recipient, .i.e., a proper exchange of visiting cards.

After all these meetings we made a brave procession full of colour as we crossed the bridge over the Nyang Chu (River) on our way to the Dak Bungalow about 1/2 mile from the British Trade Agent's Post.

On arrival, we rode by the guard of honour mounted for the Political Officer, and went into the Bungalow where tea and biscuits and beer were dispensed to all the British and Tibetan officials of Gyantse.

The Dak Bungalow has a pleasant lawn surrounded by willow trees and poplars, the only trees which grow up here and there is a lovely view of the Jong (Fort) of Gyantse perched on its hill about 3/4 mile away. Tents were erected on the lawn, and though at 13,000 feet, we had lunch and tea on an open verandah.

Author: Philip Neame [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 II p.4

Crossing Nyang Chu


Crossing Nyang Chu

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Chorten near Gyantse


Chorten near Gyantse

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