Tamgaly Tas Buddhist Petroglyphs

Tamgaly Tas is located 40 kilometers North-Northwest from Kapshygai reservoir at the Eastern bank of the Ili River, 130 km North from Almaty. It is unusual for its rock paintings that contain at least 5 images of Buddhist gods that were carved on the rocks several hundred years ago. Tamgaly-Tas offers three Buddha images, the Buddha Shakyamuni, the Buddha of the Infinite Light of Amitabha, and the Bodhisattva of Infinite Sympathy Avalokiteshvara. Moreover, there are “tamgas” images of all Kazakh clans. Tamgaly Tas translates from Kazakh as “ Written rocks or Stones with signs”.

Tamgaly Tas petroglyph site is similarly named as other site Tamgaly petroglyphs focused on carvings of the Bronze Age and Iron Age. It is believed that the huge Buddha figures and the Sanskrit inscriptions carved in the polished rock date from the 16th Century. There are also evidences that there have been Buddhist monasteries in the East part of Kazakhstan, which were later destroyed by the Zhungars. The pagan residents of the steppe would surely have added the Buddhas to their animist pantheon.

Panorama of Ily river near Tamgaly Tas

My tours to Tamgaly Tas

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