Sükhbaatar Square

The Sükhbaatar Square, situated in Ulaanbaatar, was named after Damdin Sükhbaatar, a revolution leader whose statue also stands in the square.

Sükhbaatar’s statue stands on the spot where the leader’s horse urinated during a rally on July 8, 1921. The horse’s act was perceived as a good omen, a marker was buried on the spot, and in 1946, the statue was placed there.

Major buildings found at the Sükhbaatar Square include the Central Post Office, the Culture Palace, the Golomt Bank, and the Government Palace, which houses the offices of the president and the prime minister.

Today, the square is often used as the site for cultural shows and major state ceremonies.

Gandantegchinlen Monastery

The Gandantegchinlen Monastery, also called the Gandan, can be found at Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. The monastery was established by the Fifth Jebtsundamba in 1835. It then became the center of Buddhist learning in the country. Its name means “Great Place of Complete Joy.”

More than 150 monks reside in this monastery. The place has undergone restoration and revitalization beginning in 1990. In 1994, it was placed under state protection.

When communism reigned in the country, many monasteries were destroyed. This one, fortunately, was spared. However, as a result of communism’s rule, the monastery was closed in 1938. It was reopened in 1944.

The remaining restrictions in worshipping at the temple were lifted in 1990, as Marxism ended in the country.

Sainshand

Sainshand is the capital of Dornogovi Province.  The city can be found at the eastern Gobi desert steppe. It experiences a typical desert climate, with long winters that are very dry and cold and short summers that are very hot.

Many tourists who visit Sainshand like to stop by the Danzanravjaa Museum. This building was established in 1991 to give honor to Dulduityn Danzanravjaa (1803–1856), the fifth Goviin Dogshin Noyon Khutagt. Also known as the Terrible Noble Saint of the Gobi, he is considered to be among the greatest geniuses in the history of Mongolia.

The museum holds original artistic creations of Danzanravjaa, including books, literary manuscripts, theatrical costumes, religious items, and personal belongings.

The original curator of these items was one of Danzanravjaa’s disciples, Sh. Balchinchoijooa (Ishlodon), who passed this curatorship on to his descendants. In 1938, when the religious purge in the country put Danzanravjaa’s creations in danger of destruction, the curator G. Tudev rescued as many as he could by packing them in wooden crates, which he then buried. After socialist rule ended in Mongolia, the crates were dug up again, and Tudev’s grandson Altangerel founded the museum.

Khamariin Khiid

The Khamariin Khiid is a restored Buddhist monastery that originally held four colleges, over 80 temples, and housed more than 500 lamas. It was built in 1821 by Dulduityn Danzanravjaa, the Terrible Noble Saint of the Gobi, but was destroyed during the religious purge that took place when the communists took over the country.

In the 1990s, the monastery was rebuilt, although not to the scale of its former grandeur. Today, it holds two ceremonial temples houses more than 10 lamas.

Still, the area is said to be the energy center of the country. Some residents of Mongolia believe that a living god resides there.

 108 caves

In Dornogovi province, near the Khamariin Khiid monastery, you will find 108 caves where the monk and poet Dulduityn Danzanravjaa used to meditate along with his disciples. The caves are very small – there is barely enough room in them to sit in – so indeed, these caves are best suited for meditation rather than exploration.

And meditate is exactly what people come here to do. Monks in training stay in these caves to meditate for a full 108 days. (Incidentally, 108 is also the number of volumes found in the Tibetan Buddhist canon called the Ganjur.)

Today, these caves are a popular pilgrimage site in Mongolia. To reach the caves, you need to pass through a rock tunnel, which some devotees say symbolizes rebirth.

Other attractions found near the 108 caves include mineral springs that claim curative properties, camel rides, and the petrified forest.

 

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