Hidden Pearls

Among the soaring glass skyscrapers, the symbols of modern technological progress and dreams of the mankind, lurk ancient temples and monasteries of Ulaanbaatar like white pearls in shells.



Consisting of many buildings, including 6 temples of traditional Mongolian, Mongolian-Chinese and Tibeto-Chinese architecture as well as the Institute of Buddhism and the Institute of Arts, the Gandantegchinlen did not cease its activities even in those times when religious practice was banned. Inside the monastery, monks reading the holy teachings, the ringing of bells, large and small drums and musical cymbals, and the procession of believers who came to pray, are always accompanied by a pleasant smell of incenses and juniper.

On the auspicious, northern side of the monastery, there is the temple of Megjid Zhanraiseg with a statue of deity, 80 cubits tall (27 m), built in 1911. Michelle Rodriguez, an American actress and traveler, after visiting this temple, shared her opinion on the social media that “the 26.5-meter statue has become, first of all, a symbol of freedom, and independence of Mongolians, rather than just a place of worship. The Mongolians, having overthrown the communist regime, earned the right to revive it. This Buddha saves and preserves the humanity with his compassion.”



Eight kilometers north of the city center – the city full of the youth who preserve the country’s  warrior spirit, religious history and the nomadic traditions, is the Dambadarjaalin monastery known as the “glorifying faith”. Do not miss the opportunity to visit this place, where the parts of the Mongolian history, religion and culture is clearly expressed. The concrete fence of the monastery, built on the old foundation, borders on the wooden fences of the neighboring residential houses. The roof of the monastery, resembling a Mongolian tent, is richly decorated with fine carvings.   Old temples stand silently about their witnessing the vivid history of many hundreds of years. At one time, there were 25 temples and 5000-6000 monks here. Now, some of the rituals here, such as the ritual of offering and glorifying the mountain peaks, mix the Buddhist philosophy with the shamanistic beliefs.



The complex of temples of the Zuun Khuree Dashchoylin consisted of many temples, including the Battsagaan temple with 140 columns, the architectural mixture of Tibetan and Mongolian traditions, the Maidar temple, inside which stood the tall statue of Maidar deity, the Dechingalba temple with a golden roof, 30 temples for chants, prayers, rituals and others worships. Not a single nail was used in construction of these temples. The Dashchoylin is an important monument of the Mongolian architectural tradition.

Today the monastery consists of Tsogchin, Sakhius and Gandanchoynhorlin temples, where more than 100 attendants serve the deities and believers. This monastery has revived many forgotten cultural traditions and religious rituals. The Khure Maidar ritual processions and Khure Tsam theatrical dance performances are organized by this monastery every year, which is another great reason to visit this place.



Built in 1904-1908 specifically for the noble statesman Choyzhin Luvsanhaidav, this monastery is an assembly of architectural, sculptural and painting treasures of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The monastery was designed and built by 300 best craftsmen, invited from all Khalkha-Mongolian aimags, under the guidance of Omba Lama. The temple-museum preserves many unique works of Mongolian history, religion, culture, architecture and art and does continuous restoration and research work.

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