Ikh Burkhant Stone Monument in eastern Mongolia
Located on the western bank of the Khalkh River, 35 kilometers north of Khalkh Soum in Dornod province, Mongolia’s easternmost region, you will find a remarkable compound. This compound is home to a splendid statue of Janraisag/Avalokitesvara Buddha, 12 stupas, and 20 god deities. These awe-inspiring structures are enclosed by double rectangular stone enclosures measuring 220 by 97 meters and 113 by 63 meters.
One of the most impressive attractions within this compound is the eight-handed protective deity of Janraisag. Standing at an astonishing height of 30 meters and situated on a 35° slope, it is one of the largest statues in Mongolia. This masterpiece was constructed through donations from both monks and the public, with the stones used for its creation transported by 1000 bullock carts. A team of 180 craftsmen dedicated their skills to bring this statue to life.
The establishment of this statue was initiated by the Mongolian local regent Togtokhtur, also known as To Van, between 1859 and 1864. Several reasons motivated him to undertake this monumental task:
- Symbolizing the protection of Mongolia’s eastern border that neighbors Manchuria.
- Addressing the challenges faced by the people during the mid-19th century, including droughts, disaster, and the subsequent loss of livestock and suffering of the population. The statue was seen as a source of protection and solace.
- Recognizing the excessive expenditure of wealth and time by Mongolian worshippers who traveled to Tibet, China, and India for pilgrimage. Establishing this statue provided a more accessible holy site within Mongolia itself.