Ovgon Khiid monastery is located in the mountains of Khogno-Khan 257 km away from
Ulan-Bator, on the way to Arvaykheer, 173 km away from Arvaykheer and about
75 km away from Kharkhorin. It is impossible to drive right up to the
impressive ruins of the monastery situated at the altitude of 1532 meters.
The only way there is to walk from the functioning monastery
Khogno-Tarnil-Khiid, which stands lower on the hill. You can reach the
lower standing monastery by car, directly from the tourist camp “Mon-Gobi”.
Stone stairs along the steep slope will lead you to the temple. Nearby there
is a sacred suburgan (stupa), pavilions and clay ruins of temple buildings.
This and many other monasteries were destroyed during anti-religious
campaigns. In 1980s it was newly rebuilt.
From the functioning monastery the trail through the valley and a birch wood
(30 minutes of an easy walking for 2 km) will take you up to well preserved
ruins of the Buddhist monastery Ovgon-Khiid. A birch wood with crooked
trunks is a totally unusual phenomenon in the middle of Mongolia, there is
nothing else similar in any other areas. If you stand with your face to the
top of the valley, to the right of you the trail takes its way up. A bit
higher in front of the temple there is a rock picturing a large drawing of a
horse with no date determined. From this place the trails runs past an obo
and goes up the valley to the ruins covered with thick brushwood which makes
it difficult to pass through them without scratching oneself. Amongst the
brushwood there are massive stone walls. These look quite striking against
the background of close stone tops.
The monastery Ovgon-Khiid was built by a famous religious figure of medieval
Mongolia – Zanabazar, who constructed it in the honor of his teacher. This
temple used to be one of his most beloved sanctuaries. In its thriving
years the monastery was hosting over a thousand lamas at a time. In the 18th
century Ovgon-Khiid became a bone of contention between Galdan Boshigt
(Western Mongolia) and Zanabazar (Central Mongolia). The former was against
Zanabazar's intention to submit to the Manchus. The never-ending argument
resluted in a war when Galdan Boshigt's army destroyed Ovgon-Khiid.