Ulaanbaatar monasteries. Sights of interest in Ulaanbaatar. Bogd Khaan Winter Palace Museum. Gandan Monastery. Choijin Lama Museum. Choijin Lama Museum
THE REGIONS OF MONGOLIA
SIGHTS OF INTEREST IN ULAANBAATAR
MONASTERIES IN ULAANBAATAR
Around the start of the 19th century, over 100 temples (sum) and monasteries (khiid) served a population of only about 50,000 in
Ulaanbaatar. Religious historians
estimate that maybe over 50% of the population at the time were monks or nuns. During the Stalinist purges of the late 1930s, most of the city's temples and monasteries were destroyed. Several
thousand monks and nuns were murdered, while many more fled or abandoned their Buddhist life. Only since the early 1990s have the people of Mongolia started to openly practice Buddhism again.
- The Bogd Khaan Winter Palace Museum - Built between 1893 and 1903. It was the residence and monastery of MongoliaТs last Bogd Khaan (religious and governmental leader), Javzan Damba Hutgat VIII. Bogd Khaan lived in this palace for 20 years and when
he died (in 1924) the communist government prohibited any ongoing reincarnations. Contains religious and cultural items from the 17th century to the beginning of 20th century.
- Gandan Monastery - Largest monastery and temple complex in use in Mongolia which was built in 1810, partly destroyed and reconstructed 1990. It contains one of the biggest standing Buddha in Asia (26m high).
- The Choijin Lama Museum - Formerly a monastery and temple complex, includes a collection of masks used for the ceremonial Tsam dancing.
- Part of Gandan Khiid, Cesar Sum, at the junction of Khuvisgalyn Orgon Choloo and the western part of Ikh Toiruu, is named after the mythical Tibetan king. The lovely temple is a fine example of Chinese-influenced architecture. It is a popular place for locals to request, and pay for, puja (a blessing ceremony).
- Tasgany Ovoo, about 300m behind Gesar Slim, is worth a look if you haven't yet seen an ovoo, a sacred pyramid-shaped collection of stones. A 12m-high Buddhist monument is planned for the top of the hill, which is also known as Zaany Tolgoi, or Elephant's Head.
- On the way to Gandan Khiid, the new Lamrim Sum (Stages of the Path Temple) has a small temple with statues of Tsong-khapa, the Tibetan Buddhist reformer, and Sakyamuni, the historical Buddha.
- The Pethub Stangey Choskhor Ling Monastery also known as the Bakula Rinpoche Temple was founded in 1999 by the Indian ambassador, himself a reincarnate lama from Ladakh. The monastery is used mainly as a centre for Buddhist teaching.
- Dashchoilon Khiid was originally built at another location in 1890, but was destroyed in the late 1930s. The monastery was recently moved into three huge concrete gers that once formed part
of the State Circus. The monastery is now used by over 100 monks. You can get to the lane running past the monastery from Baga Toiruu
- look out for the orange and brown roof.
- Otochmaaramba Khiid can be easily seen from the north-eastern bend of Ikh Toiruu. Although not as interesting as the others, it's still worth a visit. The monastery is the location of the
Manba Datsan traditional medical clinic and training centre, which reopened ten years ago.
- In the north-eastern suburbs of Ulaanbaatar, Dambadarjaa Khiid, built in 1765, was once home to 1200 monks. Only the ruins of a few of the 30 small temples have been restored, but it is
worth a look. The only way to get there is by taxi.
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