Ulaanbaatar City Tours – Gandan Monastery

Ulaanbaatar City Tours, Homestays & City Travel Information – Mongolia

This Ulaanbaatar monastery first started out as a little temple in 1809 that later expanded with a couple of smaller temples before receiving a major upgrade in 1838 when 3 temples dedicated to the 5th Bogd was built. From that time forward, the foundation for what is now the Ulaanbaatar City’s Gandan Monastery with 6 temples has been established.

Janraisig Temple is definitively Ulaanbaatar’s Crown Jewel, which also appeared on The Amazing Race Australia (2019), and is what most people think of when you mention Gandan Monastery. This 30 meter tall temple was built in 1911 and holds the second iteration of the 26 meter Megjidjanraisag statue. The original, built for the 8th Bogd, was taken down and shipped to Soviet Russia for manufacturing weapons in 1938. The temple remained empty until 1990 when the construction of the current statue was commenced thanks to donations from worshippers. 

The statue’s body was made out of 19 tonnes of gilded copper, filled with jewels from around Mongolia, holy waters, samples of the finest crops, literature, documents of Mongolian history and religious scrolls; with the scrolls alone weighing 17 tonnes. The head was decorated with 304 gems of 21 types from 21 provinces and the crown embedded with 2286 stones.  

The main temple of Ulaanbaatar’s Gandan Monastery was crafted by talented artisans at the order of the fifth Bogd. Today this main temple houses sculptures made by the first Bogd Zanabazar, 108 chapters of Ganjuur from the 19th century written with gold on black paper, a sculpture of Buddha made for his 2500th birthday in 1956, a two-thousand-year old solid figurine of Buddha gifted by president Jawaharlal Nehru of India and more cultural works; its library alone holds around fifty thousand books and scrolls. 

The monastery vicinity holds 4 other temples arranged into a grid north of the main temple. The South-East temple “Dashchoinpel” follows the 5 studies of Tibetan philosopher Gunchen Jamyanshaduv and it was built in 1736 at a place called “Doloonnuur” in Inner-Mongolia. The South-West temple was built in 1809 to study Buddhist philosophy and to the North-West the temple “Dechingalav” is used to study the book “Tsagyn hurden” when it was formed in 1801. Lastly, the North-East temple “Idgaachoinzinlin” studies the 5 books on Buddhism of Tibetan philosopher Serjevzunba Choijiljamtsan. 

Today, this Ulaanbaatar monastery has a pillar called the “Wish Tree” – it was one of the four pillars of the first temple, Gungaachoilin, that used to be; people believe it to be magical since it survived the burning of the monastery during the soviet regime. 

GER to GER GEOtourism Mongolia - Ulaanbaatar City Tours and Attractions
GER to GER GEOtourism Mongolia - Ulaanbaatar City Tours and Attractions

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Ulaanbaatar City Tours, Homestays and Sightseeing Attractions

Ulaanbaatar City is the capital of Mongolia. Geographically, Ulaanbaatar city sits on the banks of River Tuul and in a valley between four mountains. According to the 2016 consensus, Ulaanbaatar City has 9 districts spread over 470,000 acres of land and 1,440,447 people, with 67 percent being under the age of 35.

Ulaanbaatar City originated in 1639 as a ger palace gifted to Zanabazar, when he was proclaimed as the First Bogd Khan. Following the nomadic ways, the city moved throughout the country 28 times before it grew too big to move in 1855 and settled in its current location. In the early days of Ulaanbaatar City’s history, it served as the political and religious center for Mongolia. 

By the 19th century, the once palace had turned into a proper city with religion, government, politics and trade with a population of twenty-thousand people. In 1924, the modern foundation of Ulaanbaatar City was divided into 13 districts, 4 of which were revamped into new districts in 1965, 5 were abolished and the youngest district was instated in 1992 when Ulaanbaatar City was declared the capital of Mongolia once again.