The Gandan Monastery
The Gandan Monastery Ulaanbaatar Reviews
Nice, but no 'must see' Aug 20, 2011
The Gandan Monastery is the biggest and most important tourist attraction in the entire country. The building of this complex was started in 1838, but as is the case with monasteries in Mongolia during the communistic frenzy of destruction, it suffered a lot of damage in 1937.
After 1944 the monastery was the only one to be restored, after which it became a ‘show monastery’ for foreign tourists to show the history of Mongolia. This lasted until 1990, from then on Mongolians were allowed to be Buddhists again.
The Gandan Monastery consists of several different buildings, with typical northern Asian architecture. The courtyards are completely covered with pigeons, because local visitors consider it a good deed to feed them. After all, one of these pigeons could have been a relative or friend in a previous life.
Next to the several temples, a library and rows of large prayer wheels, there’s also the large white building called Migjid Janraisig Sum, which is the highlight of the Monastery. It contains a 26 meter high statue of Migjid Janraisig. The statue has been finished with a layer of gold and it is hollow on the inside. Inside the statue there are 27 tons of medicinal herbs, 334 sutras, 2 million scrolls with mantras and a ger with complete interior.
I thought the Gandan Monastery was nice, but not as impressive as the Bogd Khan Palace. If you don’t have a lot of time (and especially if you visit China afterwards), you can easily skip this.
Part of the Mongolia 2011 travel blog
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