In the image shown here, Pemakö is on the center left side, the green valley on either side of the river running north to south.
yarlang_tsangpo_NASA,GSFC,LaRC,JPL,_MISR_Team.jpg
Pemakö in the Yarlang Tsangpo bend. Credit: NASA,GSFC,LaRC,JPL, MISR Team.


Early "Treasure" texts describing the way to Pemakö were first propagated by Rikdzin Jetsun Nyingpo (1585-1656) and Rikdzin Dudul Dorje (1615-1672) among others. Among their students, a third generation of explorer of this area, Taksham Nulen Dorjé (b. 1655) was a Nyingma master from Kham who settled in Powo and went on excursions into [Né] Pemakö from there. According to Sardar, at this time Pemakö was "still an uncharted hunting ground inhabited by a fierce confederation of Mishmi and Abor tribes: vassals of the warrior kings of Ahom who had overrun the Assam Valley and enslaved the Naga [indigenous inhabitants]." The exploration of this terrain by his companion, Rikdzin Chöjé Lingpa (b. 1682), is described thus in the early 19th century: "Having prepared clarifications of the sacred site and route descriptions etc., he put down [in writing] all of his visions. he also preached the teaching to the people of Glo, who were like animals, and thus laod the foundations for their predisposition towards it. The inhabitants of Glo themselves offered him their trust and services, according to the customs of their country." Because Taksham Nulen Dorjé and Rikdzin Chöje Lingpa (1682-1725) "first opened the sacred sites, i.e. tamed the wilderness through their rituals and became masters of the territory, their successors were able to share their footing by following the same routes…" Among their successors was Lelung Zhepé Dorjé (b. 1697), Chöling Garwang Chimé Dorjé (b. 1763), Gampopa Orgyen Drodul Ling (b. 1757), and Rikdzin Dorjé Tokmé, aka Braksum Tertön Dorjé Tokmé (1746-1797). The latter two men were both supported by then ruler of Powo (and therefore Pemakö), the Depa: King Nyima (Gyelpo). In 1806, Chöling Garwang Chimé Dorjé, with the assistance of Gampopa Orgyen Drodul Ling, opened the site. Having built a stupa there, "he took under his wing...[a whole assemblage of inhabitants of Klo and Mon." Thus, we can see this effort to missionize and "tame" the local (non-Tibetan) inhabitants as part of an extension of the local rulers power. It is remarkable to notice that these events were occuring at the same time as European missionaries were making similar incursions into new territory in the Americas.


For an article on the modern exploration of this site, see: http://www.tew.org/archived/waterfalls.html
For an article on the history of Pemakö, with attention to Tibetan sources, see http://www.thdl.org/texts/reprints/kailash/kailash_18_0304_01.pdf

Sources: Franz-Karl Erhard, "The Role of 'Treasure Discoverers' and their Search for Himalayan Sacred Lands." & "Political and Ritual Aspects of the Search for Himalayan Sacred Lands." In Toni Huber, ed. Sacred Spaces and Powerful Places in Tibetan Culture. Dharamsala, Library of Tibetan Works and Archives. 1999, 227-257. Hamid Sardar, "The Buddha's Secret Gardens: End Times and Hidden Lands in Tibetan Imagination" (Cambridge: Harvard University dissertation) 2001: 146-7.