Erdene-Dzuu Travel Guide

  • Panaramic view of the monastery
    Panaramic view of the monastery
    by Willettsworld
  • Altar inside one of the main temples
    Altar inside one of the main temples
    by Willettsworld
  • Some of the stupas along the outer wall
    Some of the stupas along the outer wall
    by Willettsworld

Erdene-Dzuu Things to Do

  • Phallic Rock

    If you have some time, it is worth looking for the bizarre 'phallic rock', which points erotically to something interestingly called a 'vaginal slope'. It is surrounded by a stone fence, hidden up a small valley, and visible from the main road to Ulaanbaatar, about 1km from Kharkhorin. Legend has it that the rock was placed here in an attempt to...

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  • Turtle rocks

    Outside the monastery walls are two 'turtle rocks'. Four of these sculptures once marked the boundaries of ancient Karakorum, acting as protectors of the city (turtles are considered symbols of eternity). The turtles originally had an inscribed stone stele mounted vertically on their back.One is easy to find: just walk out of the northern gate of...

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  • Destruction and reconstruction

    Virtually the whole monastery site was destroyed during the Stalinist purges of the 1930s. All but three of the temples were destroyed and an unknown number of monks were either killed or shipped off to Siberia and never heard from again. These photo's in a souvenir shop in a ger outside the Lavrin Temple show the extent of the destruction as well...

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  • Lavrin Temple

    The large white temple at the far end is the Tibetan-style Lavrin Temple, where ceremonies are held every morning. It's not possible to take photos inside as it's a working temple building.

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  • Golden Prayer Stupa

    As you walk north through the monastery compound, you will pass the Golden Prayer Stupa, built in 1799. The temple next to this is said to be the first temple built at Erdene Zuu.

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  • Zuu Temples

    These three temples are the oldest and main ones within the walled monastery and are encircled by a further wall. Inside this courtyard, the temple to the west, built by Abtai Khaan and his son, is dedicated to the adult Buddha. Inside, on either side of Sakyamuni (the historical Buddha), are statues of Sanjaa, the past Buddha, to the left; and...

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  • Dalai Lama Temple

    The Dalai Lama Temple was built to commemorate the visit by Abtai Khaan's son, Altan, to the Dalai Lama in Tibet in 1675. The features a statue of Zanabazar, 13 'nagtan' images of Mahakala, six images of 12 Dalai Lama's emanations and some fine 17th-century scroll paintings depicting the dalai lamas and various protector deities.

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  • Gravestones

    The gravestones of Abtai Khaan (1554-1588) and his grandson Tushet Khaan Gombodorj (the father of Zanabazar) stand in front of the Dalai Lama Temple within the monastery compound and are inscribed in Mongol, Chinese, Tibetan and Arabic scripts.

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  • Monastery wall

    The monastery is enclosed in an immense walled compound which is four-sided and approx 400 metres in length. Spaced evenly along each wall, about every 15m, are 102 stupas. The number 108, being a sacred number in Buddhism, and the number of beads in a Buddhist rosary, was probably envisioned, but never achieved.

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  • museum and monastry

    Erdene-Dzuu is a big old monastry, but only a small part is still used from the Lamas. Most of it is a huge museum.

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  • Trekking at Bayangobi & Karakorum

    It is worthwhile to do some simple trekking at both Bayangobi & Karakorum. The experience and photo opportunities are endless!

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  • Monument on top of a hill at Karakorum

    When I was in Karakorum in July 2004, there is a very new monument on top of a hill overlooking the town. It can be reached by driving or trekking, and is worth a visit. The view up here is breathtaking.

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  • Rolling green hills & river

    The area surrounding Karakorum is very beautiful, especially if you follow the river which flows through the town into the valley. You can do simple trekking here, climb up a hill where you can see 360 degrees view of the surroundings. Other good activites here include picnic by the river, fishing and horse riding.

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  • Tortoise statue at Karakorum

    Outside the Erdene Zuu Monestary, there is a famous tortoise statue which is supposed to bring you good luck if you touch it.

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  • Karakorum town (also called Khakhorin)

    Karakorum is the site of the ancient capital of the Mongolians before they invaded China and shifted it to Beijing. There is very remaining of the ancient city except for the Erdene Zuu Monestary as most of it was destroyed by invaders later on. Nevertheless, Karakorum is worth visiting and it offers very good surroundings with beautiful scenery.

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Erdene-Dzuu Favorites

  • Museum and Monastry

    As most of the old monastry is a museum now, you have to take a ticket at the entrance. They then tell you, there is a guide included. But we didn't get a guide, there were too many tourists with guides walking around. So a lady showed us around and explained a lot to us, but we had to pay her extra. And we had to pay extra to take pictures. For...

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  • Photo with a Mongolian "warrior"

    Managed to take a photograph with a Mongolian "warrior" while I was outside the Erdene Zuu Monestary at Karakorum. The best thing about it was that the guy did not ask for any money :)

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  • Staying in a ger at Bayangobi &...

    I enjoyed the unique experience of staying in a ger at both Bayangobi & Karakorum. You should come here and try it too!

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