Gandan Monastery, a Tibetan-style Buddhist Monastery, welcomes you to a place of complete joy. Housing many hundreds of monks, it stands as a symbol of spiritual devotion. At its heart, a magnificent 26.5-meter (87 feet) high statue of Megjid-Janraiseg awaits, representing the guiding light of compassion. Megjid-Janraiseg, a bodhisattva, leads humanity on the path of truth and enlightenment. Immerse yourself in the serenity and wisdom that emanate from this sacred site.
The Gandan Monastery has a rich history that spans centuries. Initially established in 1809 by the fifth Javzandamba, the highest lama in the Mongolian clergy, it was known as the Shar sum or “the yellow monastery.” Situated in the heart of Ulan-Bator, it later found its current home on Dalkha Hill in 1838, bearing the name it carries today.
Over time, the Gandan Monastery grew to become the main religious hub of Tantric Buddhism in Mongolia. Various schools, including Buddhism, astrology, and medicine, were established, fostering spiritual and intellectual growth.
In the 1930s, Mongolia’s communist regime, influenced by Stalin’s demands, caused the destruction of more than 900 monasteries and the tragic loss of over 10,000 Buddhist lamas. However, the Gandan Monastery miraculously escaped complete obliteration. While it was shut down and some temples destroyed, others were repurposed as venues for hosting Russian officials or even transformed into cowsheds.
Fortunately, in 1944, due to persistent petitions from lamas, the Gandan Monastery was permitted to reopen, albeit with limited numbers of lamas and under strict communist surveillance.
With the collapse of the communist system in 1990, Mongolia saw an end to the restrictions on religious practices. This allowed the Gandan Monastery to resume its activities and initiate an ambitious nationwide restoration program. Today, the monastery houses ten active datsans and temples, providing a tranquil home to approximately 900 lamas.
Come and witness the revival of spirituality and cultural heritage at the Gandan Monastery, a testament to resilience and faith.