Interview Age: 68
Date of Birth: 1930
Birthplace: Gyashing, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1960
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 60
Location: Lugsung Samdupling Settlement, Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India
Categories: Culture and History
Keywords: Chinese -- first appearance of, death/burial customs, festivals, herding, myths/stories, refugee in India -- life as, trade, Utsang
Samdup gives a vivid account of his early idyllic life in Porang, a land surrounded by Tibet's snow-capped Himalayas. The traditions in Porang differed somewhat from the rest of Tibet, such as celebrating Losar, the Tibetan New Year, two months ahead of the official date. The celebrations lasted for many days with Tibetans from the whole district coming together for songs, dances and horse races.
Samdup recites a story that has been passed orally from generation to generation about the Khochar Jowo. It is the tale of how the Jowo [icons] of Jamphelyang, Chenrezig and Chakna Dorji were created. Samdup also describes the custom in his region of sky burials--leaving the corpses to be eaten by vultures.
When the Chinese arrived in Porang, they labeled Samdup a rebel because he worked for the monastery. Fearing capture, his family fled from their village, hiding some of their possessions with the hope that they would return to Tibet in a year or two.
- Rebecca Novick (Interviewer)
- Ronny Novick (Videographer)
- Tsering Dorjee (Interpreter)