Buddhism has been played vital role both in history of political and religious of the country, that’s maybe why Mongolian treasure and keep elevating Buddhist culture and art to a whole new level. For example, there are Mongolian- Tibetan, Chinese- Tibetan, and Chinese- Mongolian mixed style temples and monasteries only you can find in Mongolia. There were around 1,250 temples and monasteries by the beginning of the 20th century, but unfortunately, a majority of them were ruined during the Great Repression of the 1930s.
But after the democratic revolution, Mongolians have been reviving Buddhist worship places especially monasteries and temples where they can tell whole story about the nation’s belief and history from time to time. Visiting monasteries and temples in Ulaanbaatar before heading to countryside or leaving the country is brilliant choice to track Mongolian culture and tradition, belief and wisdom, art and craft, history and heritage and many others that you can get through.
Gandantegchinlen Monastery and Center for Buddhism in Mongolia, was established in 1838 by decree of the 5th Bogd Jebtsundamba Khutuktu, simply as Gandan by locals, is still operating actively and everyone likes to visit, regardless of whether they are locals or foreigners.
Every visitor is here to see the nation’s tallest indoor Buddha statue, the 27 meter/9 feet/ high Megjid Janraisig. This overwhelmingly glorious deity is a Bodhisattva of Compassion. It was crafted in 1911 by the order of Bogd Javzandamba the 8th, to celebrate independence and freedom, and to pacify and enlighten the vision of the state.
But the sculpture was destroyed during the communist repression in the 1930s. Later, in 1996, Mongolians revived and dignified the relic. If you pay close attention, Gandan Monastery has a lot of fascinating stories to tell you.
Gandantegchinlen Monastery is home to six fine Mongolian, Mongolian-Chinese, and Tibetan-Chinese temples and organizations, including the Institute of Buddhism and Institute of Urlakhui.
American actress and traveler Michelle Rodriguez stated during her visit that ”The 26.5 meter-tall giant Buddha monument became a symbol of the future well-being, freedom, and independence of the Mongols, rather than a place to worship and pray. After the socialists’ regime demolished the Buddha, Mongols reconstructed this monument as a symbol of freedom.
The monastery is actively managed, and as you can enter to worship the gods and join the pilgrimage among the crowd, the scent of cypress and khuj- incense will overtake your senses.
It is the best to visit Gandan monastery early in the morning while there have various chanting available for visitors.
Address- Central of Mongolian Budhhist Religious Center, 16th
community, Bayangol District, Ulaanbaatar city, Mongolia
E-mail: [email protected]
Dashchoilon monastery in the east of the city sits upon 140 pillars and characterizes Tibetan and Mongolian casting style. It is comprised of 30 gorgeous temples to run religious gatherings and worship rituals. This includes Battsagaan Cathedral, which can be expanded by extending its awnings during the summer; Maitreya Temple revering a fifty-foot tall Maitreya Buddha; and the golden roofed Dechingalbyn Temple. Not a single nail was used in construction of the buildings.
Dashchoilon Monastery is the city’s largest Mongolian-style architectural monument. Currently it is home to more than 100 monks and three temples, Tsogchin, Sahius and Gandanchoinhorlin. Cultural practices such as the ceremonies of Khuree Maitreya, to restore precepts, and the Khuree Tsam leap are organized annually, plan to enjoy them during your stay in Ulaanbaatar and visit the great monastery.
Dolma Ling Nunnery
The Dolma Ling Nunnery eventually became the permanent home for a small group of dedicated women who were ordained by the Abbot of Sera Je Monastery. Presently, the Dolma Ling Nunnery and its nuns are the only community of ordained women in Mongolia.
It is one of the most important re-established projects by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, who is the Spiritual Director of FPMT Mongolia. It was one of his contributions in the revival of Buddhism in Mongolia. Historically, the original temple buildings were a present to the Mongolians from the Manchu Emperor. The fifteen temples were surrounded by triple walls and beautifully decorated in the architecture of the time. For many years, with the temple walls, Dharma activities were often performed until the 1930's when the buildings were desecrated in the storm of Communist religious destruction that plagued Mongolia. In the early 1990's when Mongolia quietly reclaimed democracy, the right to follow one's own spiritual and religious path was guaranteed by the new Constitutional Law. As a result, Lama O.Sodnom, disciple of the Gandantegcheling Monastery together with his disciple Badamkhand, began Dharma activities in of the badly damaged temple buildings. Sadly, essential Buddhist study materials in the Mongolian language continue to be sorely lacking. Despite the many additional hardships, these dedicated new nuns embrace these challenges, understanding that they are the pioneering generation of female Dharma practices in the newly liberated Mongolia.
The Dolma Ling Nuns perform the Tara Puja on the 8th day of each Tibetan calendar month. They recite the Tara Praises 108 times. An extensive Medicine Buddha Puja is performed on the 15th Lama Chopa is performed on the 10th and 25th. In addition many different prayers and texts are performed on if you request between 9am and 8pm while visiting Dolma Ling Nunnery.
Chin Van Khanddorj’s Palace
Mijigdorj Khanddorj is also well known as Chin Van or Chin Wan / prince/ was famous independence leader and the first Foreign Affairs Minister of Autonomous Mongolia. The palace was built in 1913 and later became the residence of political leaders such as B. Tserendorj, Prime Minister of Mongolia. Outside of the building, there stands a statue of Chin Van Khanddorj and two ger palaces. The ground floor of the main building has tightly shuttered windows and is built of brick in a Russian style. The second floor is built of wood, and has large windows all around, designed in a Chinese style, to be enjoyed during the summer. But the interior showcases Mongolian style as well. Walls, ceilings, and other architectural elements are decorated with Mongolian patterns painted, embossed, and carved on them. Although the building consists of elements in three different styles, it is architecturally aggregate, unique and free. It is great to witness combination of three countries mixed architectures and also interesting history of the palace and its owner with its closer location from center of the city.