Jonang Takten Monastery 3D Map

An extension of our sites database and interactive satellite map of Jonang sites, we are happy to announce the launch of our 3D map of the campus of Takten Phuntsok Damcho Ling Monastery in southern Tibet.

Video Map Guide:

This map is the first in a multi-phased project that is visualizing Takten Monastery in an interactive three dimensional space. Takten Monastery was built by Tāranātha and completed in the year 1615. It served as headquarters for the Jonangpa until it was confiscated in 1650. This project utilizes digital architecture technology tools, images and blueprint sketches collected, and Tāranātha’s own written descriptions to display a replica of this Buddhist cultural monument in Tibet.

Users can now explore Takten Monastery with an up close 3D interactive map of the monastery campus and surrounding areas. Later phases will consist of replicating the buildings as online models and ornamenting each building within the campus of the monastic complex. The model of Takten Monastery will include images and documentation of its historic and current state including interior painted wall murals, a catalog of textual holdings from its printery, and Tibetan descriptions of this monastery over its almost four hundred year history.

The map is being built with the Google Earth API, which allows for a 3D perspective and level of view customization beyond the standard Google Maps platform.[1] At this point, users can see Takten Monastery at its proper elevation, with the mountain towering behind it and the valley sweeping in to the west. As this project develops, we will be using Google SketchUp to add 3D wireframes for the buildings of the Takten Monastery campus, beginning with the main temple and extending to each of the sixteen temples. Eventually, these models will be polished to reflect the actual aesthetic of the buildings’ exteriors, and users will be able to navigate the monastery as if they are virtually there walking around.

This project constitutes the first of its kind for any Jonang site, and upon its completion will be one of the few 3D interactive maps related to Buddhist sites in Tibet. Users can use the map to gain valuable information about the Takten Ling campus, as well as previously unreleased photographs of the individual buildings and landmarks. In fact, the location information, descriptions, and photographs made available on this map represent the accumulation of over ten years of fieldwork conducted by the Jonang Foundation.[2]

Of particular note is the map’s representation of the Jonangpa’s migration down the Jomonang valley over the generations. If one follows the map south of Takten Monastery, up the mountains and past the Great Stupa Mountain Hermitage, one can see the original Jonang monastery, constructed during the late 13th by Kunpang Thukje Tsondru. From there, one need only move down the valley to see the Great Stupa itself, built by Dolpopa in the early 14th century. Finally, one arrives back at Takten Ling Monastery which marks the latest point in the timeline of the Jonangpa in this valley.

Embedded Map:

Look forward to project updates soon![3]


1. To view the map, some viewers may need to download the Google Map Plugin.

2. This field work was conducted by Michael Sheehy and Tulku Kunga Zango Rinpoche of Jonang Foundation.

3. This project is a collaboration between Dr. Michael Sheehy at the Jonang Foundation and Connor McCarty at the University of Alabama, with Dr. Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa supervising.