Gandantegchinlen Monastery

Last Sunday, we officially launched what will become known as our “family death march” – you know the drill where we get the kids out the door and chase them around the city to look at things they won’t fully appreciate while they complain to no avail that they would rather stay home and play with their friends. Well, one kid anyway – the other one, the one usually dressed in pink, still happily accompanies us on our marches as she’s learned that there are usually treats and other goodies to be had in return for walking without complaining and having fun quality family time.

Last Sunday we ventured out with our little map in hand to navigate UB until we made it to the Gandantegchinlen Monastery, a Buddhist monastery in the heart of the city.  It was “only” a little more than a 3k walk so practically a piece of cake, right?

The monastery was founded in the 18th century and the name means “great place of complete joy.” When the communists suppressed religion and religious communities in 1938, five of the temples were destroyed and the rest were used for Russian officials or as barns for their horses. Gandan Monastery reopened in 1944 thanks to a few monks who wrote a petition but the everyday life at the monastery was heavily supervised by the socialist government. Following the peaceful Mongolian revolution in 1990, religion and especially Buddhism flourished once again in Mongolia. Today, Gandan Monastery is the home to about 900 monks.

While not all of us enjoyed the outing AND all that walking – up a hill no less! – it was a beautiful experience for most of us!

monastery

Meditating with prayer wheels
Meditating with prayer wheels – definitely the most fun for the kids

And on the walk home, we also saw some “gers” (yurts) up close and personal right in the middle of UB – can you make them out in the picture?

Gers in the backyard!
Gers in the backyard!

Yes, they are placed in the back/front yards of homes surrounding the monastery. Kind of like a “home away from home” – not such a bad idea, coming to think of it, when said children keep on whining and complaining about family death marches to come….

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One thought on “Gandantegchinlen Monastery

  1. I have very fond memories of some of our “family death marches.” And for the others… well, they’re useful now for explaining how weird my childhood was! 🙂

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