Built between 1726 and 1736 by the Manchu emperor Yongzheng as a tomb for the great Mongolian Living Buddha Undur Gegeen Zanabazar, sculptor and close friend of the Emperor Kangxi. It was heavily damaged by the communist purges in 1937, although some buildings survived. |
The monastery was restored by Unesco from 1975 until reopening in 1990. There are a number of young monks under 10 years old from orphanages around Mongolia. In October, 2007, the main hall is being repaired. Not a single addult monk to be seen.
Suddenly two young monks about 8 years old appeared and beckoned us to follow them. They carried a heavy ring of keys and proceeded to open, one by one, the locked halls, finally opening Zanabazar's own temple where his mumified body sits... encased in the statue behind the altar. It is quite amazing that these young kids have the extraordinary responsibility to open for the public some of Mongolia's most valuable treasures!!