The official diary of the Gould mission to Lhasa sent by the British government. Read more about the mission diary.
There were no visitors today, this gave an opportunity for appreciations and reports to be written up in the morning.
In the afternoon we went to visit the chief Cathedral of Lhasa, Tsuk Lhakang (Head House of God) the most important and revered temple in Tibet. It is in the centre of the city and one nowhere gets a proper view of it. From a neighbouring roof, top we took photos of its golden roofs.
Inside it is very dark and opening off the Cloisters which surround the main court are innumerable tiny chapels or temples dark as night and only lit by smoking, guttering butter lamps which give off an indescribable rancid odour and make the atmosphere hot, stuffy and almost unbearable. Most of these temples have chain curtains which can be locked over the doorways for in many are gold idols or gilded idols set with jewels, and numerous solid gold butter lamps.
On the first floor is another series of temples and in one of these are two figures representing incarnations of Queen Victoria, one with her face when she Is angry and one when she is peaceful and happy. The angry one is usually kept veiled. It was unveiled to show us, and a snarling demon's face was displayed. We went up to see the gold leaf gables of the roof, and from there one has a fine view of Lhasa city.
We then went on to Ramoche Gompa, a small but very important gompa in the city, and finally we saw near by Tsepa-Lhakang Gompa a very small but select place.
This trip to the city afforded an opportunity of photographing some typical street scenes, beggars etc. It is curious that although no one minds cameras being produced and photos being taken, the women are very bashful of any individual close up shots!
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 V p.1