Name: Gandantegchinlen Monastery
Location: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Reason to Visit: The largest temple in Mongolia, an important Tibetan Buddhism Monastery in Mongolia
Duration: 1-3 hours
Our Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Gandantegchinlen Monastery, short for Gandan Khiid, located in Ulaanbaatar, is one of the most famous attractions in Mongolia. Built in 1835, Gandantegchinlen Monastery is the biggest temple in Mongolia, many people come here to burn incense and worship. It was built in 1835, closed in 1938 and reopened in 1944. Gandantegchinlen Monastery is an important Tibetan Buddhism temple in Mongolia. The Lamaism, also known as Tibetan Buddhism, plays an important role in Mongolia, and so is the Gandantegchinlen Monastery. The significance of Gandantegchinlen Monastery to Ulaanbaatar is like the Potala Palace to Lhasa.
Feel the Tibetan Buddhism Monastery
A main hall stands in the heart of the monastery, which is majestic with white walls and green roof. The main hall is typical Tibetan style. There is a Great Buddha standing in the center of the monastery. The Great Buddha is huge and tall. There are some small Buddhas and paintings in the monastery, and all the small Buddhas are towards the Great Buddha to show the respect.
And there are some Chinese and Tibetan style small temples surrounding the main hall. Besides, there are some modern Buddhist colleges. The buildings of the Buddhist Colleges are new, but they are Tibetan Buddhism style.
Visit the Giant Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva Statue
And there is a giant Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva Statue with 4 hands in the monastery. And the material of the statue is changed from iron to gilding. It is because that this giant statue was destroyed and used to make bullets in the World War II. With the support of this statue, the Soviet Union defeated German.
In 1996, Mongolians donated to rebuild the Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva Statue with 4 hands, the inner material is cement with gilding outside. Nowadays, tourists come here to visit and pray, believers come here to kowtow and locals still come here to worship.
Meet the Couples Taking Wedding Photos at the Monastery
If you visit the Gandantegchinlen Monastery, you may meet some couples taking wedding photos in the gate of the main hall. Taking wedding photos with families at the monastery is familiar with the customs of Russia.
The couples take wedding photos with families at the monastery on their wedding day. The male elders wear suits and the female elders wear national costumes. And most of the wedding photos are with families and friends. And the people are friendly if you take photos of them. This kind of wedding photos is real and special. Maybe the Gandantegchinlen Monastery is the church in the Mongolians’ minds.
Feed the Doves at the Square of the Monastery
There are many doves at the square of the monastery. There are vendors selling the food of doves, which you can purchase and feed the doves. If you have bought the food, the doves will stop by your side and wait for feeding.
Here you can experience the slow and calm life of locals. The elder people are wandering around the monastery. The young people are feeding the doves with their children. Some are sitting on the bench and looking the locals and foreigners feeding the doves.
Burn the Incense and Worship
Praying to the Buddha for help becomes more and more popular in the young people. Coming to the Gandantegchinlen Monastery, you can’t miss the chance. Some worship for fortune, some pray for jobs, some worship for health and some pray to relieve the worries and difficulties.
There will be praying between the monks in the monastery. They are devoted and worshiping. Maybe you will meet their praying if you visit the monastery.
- Taking photos is not permitted in the monastery.
- If you want to enter the monastery, you ‘d better not wear slippers, sunglasses and hats.
- Please respect the monks in the monastery.