Our host, Sonam the carpenter, has a decent view from his rooftop over the Zangla Palace. Our volunteers relax in his courtyard reading or sunbathing after work. >>>The team arrived to Zangla
The 2013 season opened with the conservation of the Great Stupa of Shey that started a year before. >>>
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Csoma - after pursuing his studies at Bethlenianum of Nagyenyed (today Ajud, Romania), the renowned Protestant college of Transylvania, and at Göttingen University in Germany - developed his idea that he would find the ancient Hungarian homeland and the Hungarians “left behind” somewhere in Central Asia or among the Uyghurs.
In November 1819 he left Transylvania, and after a long overland journey through the Middle East, Csoma arrived to Kashmir by the middle of April 1822. He continued on to Leh in hope of crossing to the Uyghurs via a trading route but this itinerary turned very difficult, costly and dangerous to a Christian, and therefore he turned back to Kashmir. On his way back, on July 16 he met the British officer William Moorcroft, which encounter triggered a decisive change in the life of Csoma. He received from Moorcroft a copy of the very first book on Tibet, the Alphabetum Tibetanum by Agostino Antonio Giorgi, and it was Moorcroft who spurred Csoma to his Tibetan studies.
Csoma – perhaps hoping to find new sources about the history of ancient Hungarians in the Tibetan literature that was an absolute terra incognita at that time, unable to continue his journey to Central Asia – stayed in Leh and began to learn Tibetan with the help of Persian as an intermediate language.
After acquiring the rudiments of the language, Csoma decided to perfect his knowledge “through the many and interesting volumes conserved in the monasteries”, thus he asked for the support of Moorcroft to return to Ladakh.
Moorcroft approved the request of Csoma, provided him with the most necessary materials, and wrote recommendations for him both to the khalon – the chief royal minister – of Leh and to the head of the settlement of Zangla, Sangs-rgyas Phun-tshogs, who would later become the teacher of Csoma.
Kőrösi left Kashmir on the second of May, 1823, and arrived in Leh on the first of June. Here he was given gifts and a further letter of recommendation from the khalon, who directed him to Zangla. Csoma arrived there nine days later.
Kőrösi, on the other hand, stayed in Zangla from June 20, 1823 to October 22, 1824. There he learned Tibetan amidst shockingly harsh conditions, and began to familiarize himself with Tibetan literature, guided by his teacher Sangs-rgyas Phun-tshogs, whom he simply calls “the lama” in his letters.
Csoma laid the foundations of his later works in those sixteen tormenting months spent in Zangla rife with privation and hardships. In this period he not only mastered the Tibetan language, but he also acquired knowledge of a remarkable part of the canonized literature, and – as is revealed by his later writings and some letters concerning him – he composed a glossary of about 30.000 words during this period.
Apart from an allusion to his glossary of 30.000 words and a brief description of the structure of the Tibetan canon, Csoma also reports of having succeeded in acquiring a number of Tibetan books, and what is more, some of these were explicitly compiled on his request by the lamas. This means that the famous manuscripts later called Alexander Books were prepared during his first stay in Zangla.
For more information: http://csoma.mtak.hu/en/csoma-elete.htm
Graphics Copyright by András Czakó and Balázs Irimiás