Thursday, June 13, 2013

Visiting the 3rd of Mongolia’s big three monasteries - Amarbayasgalant.

View of Amarbayasgalant monastery from the grand stupa
Off the beaten path. Unlike Gandan in Ulaanbaatar or Erdene Zuu in Kharkhorin, Amarbayasgalant is not located on a paved road. It is located 36 kilometers miles off the main road going between Erdenet and Darkhan.
Temple at Amarbayasgalant

It takes a capable driver and a sturdy vehicle to
negotiate the challenging countryside roads,
especially after a rainstorm. We encountered
(and helped) two stuck vehicles en route. See a
previous blog on countryside sights connected
with this trip.

Mongolians are prepared and willing to help each

other out in these circumstances. Everyone needs

help sooner or later.  

Approaching the monastery

A brief history. Amarbayasgalant was built between 1726 and 1736 to honor Mongolia’s foremost Buddhist leader, artist, sculptor and shaper of Mongolian culture, Zanabazar. It served as the center of Buddhism in northern Mongolia for three centuries.

It suffered during the 1937 -38 communist purge
of Buddhist monks and monasteries in Mongolia.
Stalin let stand the top three monasteries in
Mongolia so as to not have a full scale revolt on
his hands.
Nevertheless, only 23 of Amarbayasgalant’s 40
temples survived the purge while all of the
Buddhist monks who lived there were murdered.
The monastery fell into disrepair for over 50 years
until the communist government fell in 1990.
Mongolia immediately set about restoring this
cultural heritage with most of the improvements
 coming in the last five years. 

A commanding view of the valley
Not only is its art and architecture beautiful,
Amarbayasgalant enjoys a commanding and
striking view of an expansive valley flanked by
mountains on all sides.
                                 Interior buildings and art work

Jangar, our tour guide doing penance
Prayer wheel

Stupa outside the walls

Two of the four protection gods

The other two protection gods defending the monastery

A warning about what happens to evil-doers

Roof line
Fresco on protection wall

The cow god
Mongolian script
Here are the impressive structures on the hillside.
A stairway to a Buddha overlooking the monastery

First tier of stairs going up
View from the top

Buddha at the top

Grand stupa from below

The all-seeing eye on top of the grand stupa

Buddha in front of stupa and by prayer wheels 
One final view of this beautiful place

No comments:

Post a Comment