Gartok (Tibetan: སྒར་ཐོག, Wylie: sGar-thog), now called Garyarsa (Tibetan: sGar-dbyar-sa, "Place of the summer camp"; Wade–Giles romanization: Ka-erh-ya-sha),[1][2] is a trade-market of Tibet, situated on the bank of the Indus on the road between Shigatse and Leh, to the east of Simla.[3] At an elevation of 14,630 ft (4,460 m), it is located at the base of the Kailash Range; it was formerly the main town and summer capital of western Tibet, and its administrator was called the Garpön.[4] The name means 'military camp.'[5] Pop. (mid-1980s est.) fewer than 10,000.

Gartok is located in Tibet
Coordinates: 31°45′0″N 80°22′0″E / 31.75000°N 80.36667°E / 31.75000; 80.36667Coordinates: 31°45′0″N 80°22′0″E / 31.75000°N 80.36667°E / 31.75000; 80.36667
CountryPeople's Republic of China
ProvinceTibet Autonomous Region
PrefectureNgari Prefecture
CountyRutog County
Time zoneUTC+8 (CST)


Gargot was one of several Bhutanese-administered enclave in western Tibet, until it along with the rest of Tibet was annexed by the People's Republic of China in 1959.[6][7]

In accordance with the Treaty of Lhasa in 1904, Gartok, together with Yatung and Gyantse, was thrown open to British trade. On the return of the column from Lhasa in that year, Gartok was visited by a party under Captain C. H. D. Ryder, who found only a few dozen people in winter quarters, their houses being in the midst of a bare plain. In summer, however, all the trade between Tibet and Ladakh passed through it.[3]

Cecil Rawling wrote of it as he saw it during the British expedition to Tibet:

It was poor enough in all conscience, considering that it is the capital of Western Tibet, and that the Garpons reside here for about three months in the year, at which time it becomes a busy centre of commerce. Gartok only boasts of three good sized houses and twelve miserable hovels. ... Gartok in reality consists of two distinct places situated forty miles apart. The one we visited is known as Gar Yarsa or Summer Quarters, and the other, which is also on the Indus but at a lower altitude, Gar Gunsa or Winter Quarters.[8]


  1. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol. 10 (Encyclopædia Britannica, 1973; ISBN 0852291736), p. 3.
  2. ^ John Keay, History of World Exploration (The Royal Geographical Society; Mallard Press, 1991), p. 76.
  3. ^ a b   One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Gartok". Encyclopædia Britannica. 11 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 480.
  4. ^ Derek Waller, The Pundits: British Exploration of Tibet and Central Asia (University Press of Kentucky, 2004; ISBN 0813191009), pp. 100-01.
  5. ^ Eric Teichman, Travels of a Consular Officer in Eastern Tibet: Together with a History of the Relations Between China, Tibet and India (Cambridge: The University Press, 1922), p. 130.
  6. ^ Ranade, Jayadeva (16 July 2017). "A Treacherous Faultline". The Pioneer.
  7. ^ K. Warikoo (2019). Himalayan Frontiers of India: Historical, Geo-Political and Strategic Perspectives. 149: Routledge. p. 240. ISBN 9781134032945.CS1 maint: location (link)
  8. ^ Captain C. G. Rawling, The Great Plateau, being an Account of Exploration in Central Tibet, 1903, and of the Gartok Expedition, 1904—1905 (E. Arnold, 1905), p. 272.