to «The Great Place of Complete Joy»
The Gandantegchinlen Monastery is a Mongolian Buddhist monastery in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar that has been restored and revitalized since 1990. The Tibetan name translates to «The Great Place of Complete Joy». Gandan became an important center for learning and practicing Buddha's teachings, not only in the country but for the entire Mahayana Buddhist community.
Nowadays, over 150 monks live here. It houses about 25 meters tall statue of Megjid-Janraiseg - a sage who leads the men on the way of Truth. He represents compassion. Covered by a huge number of precious stones, this statue weights more than 20 tons, is made of copper coming from the mines of Erdenet.
The monastery complex consists of Zanabazar Buddhist University, three temples for Buddhist service and veneration of Avalokiteshvara, three Buddhist Colleges of Buddhist Philosophy, College of Medicine and Astrology and two Tantric College. Many local people from the countryside in their traditional costumes coming to donate and pray. Especially, if you arrive in the morning and catch a service, it is fascinating, with drumming, chanting and cymbals. The giant Buddha is also very atmospheric, with lots of candles and gold plate. It's only about a twenty minute walk from the square.
The Gandantegchinlen Monastery is worth visiting no matter what the season despite it not being heated. This is a great spot to escape the hectic life of the city and it’s indeed an island of tranquility.