Location: 360 km north of Ulaanbaatar in the Baruunburen soum of Selenge province
Features: Amarbayasgalant, one of the most well known and largest monasteries of Mongolia, are located in the beautiful Iven River valley on the foot of Burenkhan Mountain. The Monastery was a great source of Dharma teaching and accomplishment with over six thousand novices and ordained monks who followed the rules of Lord Buddha’s Vinaya, combining the Three Basket in full harmony with the Three Higher Trainings. The beauty, decorations and construction of the monastery have made it one of the most magnificent architectural monuments not only in Mongolia, but in the whole Asia.
The complex of Amarbayasgalant Monastery was built during 1727-1736, in the honor of Undur Gegeen Zanabazar, the first Bogd (religious Leader) of Mongolia. The valley is well-watered by the Iven River and has long been renowned for its rich vegetation in this arid part of the Central Asia. In particular, thick groves of native Mongolian cherries have been attracting people since prehistoric times to the present and are the reason for the association of this valley with theologies of fertility, re-birth and gardens of paradise. The valley is covered throughout its extent with Turkic-era graves of various geometric shapes marked out in large boulders. These important archaeological features dated back to the 3rd-7th centuries are the indication that the valley has long-standing sacred relations of the Mongolian people and this was lasted uninterruptedly into the Buddhist era when they were re-validated by the construction of Amarbayasgalant Monastery on this historic site. Originally, Amarbayasgalant Monastery consisted of over 40 temples built on the special terrace, surrounded by a wall, measuring 207×175 m. Only 28 temples have remained under the State protection since 1944. The monastery has a symmetrical construction. The size of its Tsogchin (Main) temple is 32×32 m. Its construction expresses the planning features of the Mongolian national architecture and engineering solutions are very original. One of the interesting solutions is routing of roof water through the inside of four columns, under the floor, through stone grooves and away from the Tsogchin temple.
In 2002, the Lamas were revived “Tsam” – Religious Mask Dance in the Amarbayasgalant Monastery after being interrupted for 65 years. In 1996, this pure land of Dharma was nominated as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO.