Mongolian religious history

Mongolia is a country of a unique symbiosis of various religions. Mongolians traditionally having professed polytheistic religion remain remarkably tolerant in regards to one’s faith and beliefs. Democratic principle of freedom of religion has always been ensured and guaranteed by the lifestyle traditions and mentality of people living in Mongolia. Shamanism is indigenous religion of Mongols. From time immemorial it has been practiced in Mongolia. Shamanism embraces a belief in powerful spirits who can influence people’s lives and fate. Today shamanism is on the blink of ceasing to exist with only few superficial rituals being practiced in some out of the away places. Buddhism of Mongolia Lamaism has many followers in today’s Mongolia. According to chronicles, Buddhism came to Mongolia round the 3rd century B.C as religion of the court. Between 6-11 centuries, many Buddhism sutras were translated into Mongolian and in the 13th century the very first Buddhist temples were built. Chinggis Khan encouraged Buddhism and Islamic devotions. Khubilai khan is alleged to have first confirmed a title of Dalai Lama from upon a Lama from Tibet. (Dalai Lama in Mongolian means a monk of immeasurable knowledge) The first Dalai Lama converted Mongolian King Altan Khan and his subjects to Buddhism in 1578. During the rule of Altai Khan the famous monastery of ErdeneZuu was built, which is now a popular tourist destination. In the Western part of Mongolia, Islam is professed by the Kazakhs. Today various forms of Christianity are being introduced by Western missionaries.

Notes when you visit the monasteries and temples in Mongolia.

There are 136 Buddhist monasteries and temples in Mongolia. You will probably see at least few of them during your visit. It doesn’t matter if you are Christian, Catholic or Muslim, when you visit Buddhist temples and monasteries you should take off your hat and step over the threshold (not step on it) with right leg. It means the visitor is showing respects and mindfulness. Also, avoid speaking loudly and touching deities sculptures. Furthermore I’d like to remind you do dress appropriately, do not wear short skirts, shorts and backless clothes. #khantravelmongolia #khantravel

Largest religious library in Mongolia

Gandantegchinlen library is one of the biggest library in Mongolia. It was created in 1925 and is located next to Gandantegchinlen Monastery. The library contains around 50.000 rare books including Derge Bariin Ganjuur, Danjuur, and sutras written by the Dalai Lama and Bogd Zonkhov from beginning of 19th century. Furthermore, the library contains collections of sutras made by 9 precious rocks such as blue spar, nacre, turquoise, copper, steel, silver, coral, gold and pearl.

Erdenezuu Monastery

The Erdene Zuu Monastery is probably the earliest surviving Buddhist monastery in Mongolia. Located in Uvurkhangai Province, approximately 2 km north-east from the center of Kharkhorin and adjacent to the ancient city of Karakorum, it is part of the Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape World Heritage Site.The monastery is affiliated with the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism.