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Amarbayasgalant Monastery

Located 60 kilometers southwest of Erdenet city, near a valley named Iven river at the foot of Mount Büren-Khaan, lies the Amarbayasgalant Monastery which is a large Buddhist monastery. Its the biggest and the best preserved lama monastery in Mongolia. 'Amarbayasgalant Monastery' is its Mongolian name, meaning Monastery of Tranquil Felicity.

The monastery was established and funded by order of Manchu emperor Kang Xi or Enkh-Amgalan Khaan to commemorate  after his death for Zanabazar, the first Bogd of Khalkh Mongols or spiritual head of Buddhism in the Khalkh Mongolia. The construction of the temple was completed in 1736 after 9 years of work during the Qing Dynasty and it is therefore one of the oldest Lamaist Buddhist temple in Mongolia. Zanabazar's remains were kept at Urguu, capital of Mongolia, and then transferred to the temple in 1788.

The monastery was built in the Chinese style with some Mongolian and Tibetan influence. It has a group of white Stupas built on the hills, back side of the monastery, according to the principles of physiognomy. The main monastery stands out against the background of the green, making it appear very majestic. The main building in here is composed of a hall with giant wooden supports and it is squire shaped building. Originally the Monastery complex has 40 monasteries or temples. After the restoration,  started from 1988, by funding of high ranked Buddhist leaders of Tibet, the monastery complex eventually took its former glory. Today, only 28 temples remain. All the collections in this monastery are precious materials for studying the history and culture of Mongols.

The monastery was destroyed in 1937 during Stalinist purges under supervisor of Khorloogiin Choibalsan, the leader of the Communist Party of Mongolia. After the destruction only the buildings of the central section remained for the purpose of storage. Many of the monks were executed by the country's communist regime and the monastery's artifacts, including thangkas, statues, and manuscripts were luted or hidden until more fortunate times. Interesting, Khorloogiin Choibalsan was a monk in Urgoo, former name of now-days Ulaanbaatar and later became a great hero of the 1921 revolution. He became head of Government in 1928 by the support of Stallin. Although Choibalsan’s regime has been heavily criticized by modern Mongolians, he is still surprisingly well regarded because of his efforts to protect Mongolia independence, in particular by resisting mounting pressure to join the USSR.

 

 

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