The gon khang of a Tibetan monastery, its sanctum sanctorum (roughly equivalent to the garbha grha [womb house] of a Hindu temple), often opens off the main temple or prayer hall, the du khang. In the case of Tabo monastery—located in the district of Lahaul and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh, India—the gon khang has been superimposed on the original mandala layout of the structure, facing south while the other, accessible temples are oriented eastward (see below, reproduced in O. C. Hanada, Tabo Monastery and Buddhism in the Trans-Himalaya [Indus Publishing Company: New Delhi, 1994]). The gon khang, in addition to stuffed straw animals, traditionally houses images of protective deities, in the form of thangkas, murals and masks alike.



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