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.
Mongolian Lunar 🌙 New Year, Tsagaan sar is one of the two main celebrations of Mongolia 🇲🇳 (other one Naadam Festival). It is nomads celebration for successfully surpassing the harsh cold winter months ❄️ and finally greeting the warm spring 🌱 . Families living in remote areas visit their elderly relatives and celebrate the beginning of spring. All kinds of delicious food 🍲🥘🥙 are prepared and the feast can continue for few days. It is a national celebration that brings together families and relatives together.
Shamanism is the very first faith that existed before religion in ancient Mongolia. Nowadays some people still believe and worship this religion (Mongolians don’t consider Shamanism as a religion, but see it as spiritual connection between human, natures). Therefore, people ask about their destiny, and solutions to issues, even diseases such as cancer, rheumatism and mental illness, etc. The northwestern part of Mongolia (people who live in deep forests) is famous of Shamanism.
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
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.
You can see these prayer wheels everywhere in Buddhist monasteries and temples. Because this is one of the common equipment to pray. Also it has the sole mantra Um Mani Padme Hum written in Newari, language of Nepal. #KhantravelMongolia
Tuvkhen Monastery is one of Mongolia’s oldest Buddhist monasteries and located on the border of Uvurkhangai province and Arkhangai province in central Mongolia. Tuvkhen Monastery was first established in 1648 by the 14-year-old Zanabazar, the first Jebtsundamba Khutagtu, the spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism for the Khalkha in Outer Mongolia, when he determined that the location on the Shireet Ulaan Uul mountain overlooking a hill at 2,600 meters above sea-level was an auspicious location. The first physical structures were built upon his return from studying in Tibet in 1651. Zanabazar, who was a gifted sculptor, painter, and musician, used the monastery, originally called Bayasgalant Aglag Oron (Happy Secluded Place), as his personal retreat over the course of 30 years anrd while there created many of his most famous works. It was also where he developed the soyombo script. The monastery was destroyed in 1688 by Oirad Mongols during one of their many military campaigns against Eastern Mongols. Restored in 1773, the monastery suffered severe damage during the Stalin’s purges of the late 1930s as Mongolia’s communist regime sought to destroy the Buddhist Church in the country. Restoration of the monastery was completed in 1997. Ceremonies were staged to re-consecrate the monastery and a new statue of Gombo Makhagal (Mahakala). Several monks now reside and practice at the monastery full-time.
Since the ancient times as illustrated on rock and cave paintings, horses were an inseparable part of Mongolian people and their lifestyle. The very first thing you have to know about Mongolian horses is that they are still half wild. Apart from few horses that are used for riding, the rest of the herd usually roams around grazing grass and spending their time free. Even the riding horses are set free in the evening. This is the main reason they have their own temper and unique character.
Ariyabal meditation temple is situated in Terelj National Park, 3 km from Turtle Rock. It is a Buddhist meditation temple built in 1810 but destroyed during the religious purge of the 1938, however restored at the beginning of 2004-07. From the temple you will see the beautiful view of the national park. During hot days it would be a nice cool place to meditate and feel the positive energy of the area.
Kharkhorin is a town and village center in Uvurkhangai province in Mongolia. The village population was 13,828 (1994), 13,964 (2000), and 13,496 (2003). The population of Kharkhorin town itself was 8,977 in 2003 and covered an area of 20.5 km2. Kharkhorin is located at the lower end of the upper valley of the Orkhon river which is included within UNESCO’s World Heritages Site Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape. The location marks the easternmost foothills of the Khangai Mountains, where they meet the rolling steppe of central Mongolia. Nearby are the ruins of the ancient town of Karakorum (also known as Kharkhorum or Qara Qorum) which, for a short time, served as the capital of the Mongol Empire under Ugudei Khan (Chinggis Khan’s son) . Another Kharkhorin landmark is Erdenezuu Monastery and its famous phallic rock. The important Paleolithic archaeological site of Moiltyn-am is located near the bridge over the Orkhon River, just west of the settlement. A modern resort is south of Kharkhorin at Khujirt on the Orkhon River. Kharkhorin’s principal sources of income are tourism and agriculture. Water from the Orkhon River serves to irrigate crops on the large plain east of the town. The Kharkhorun Airport (KHR/ZMHH) has one unpaved runway and is served by regular flights from and to Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar.