During the Mongolia Bike Challenge that ended in Karakorum, I took the time to make a detour to the monastery of Erdene Zuu. A short descent down the hill before offering you the opportunity to cross the monastery by bike.
About Erdene Zuu Monastery
A land of shamanism since time immemorial, Mongolia adopted Tibetan Buddhism as its state religion in the 16th century, following a visit by the Dalai Lama. The monastery of Erdene Zuu is the glorious symbol of the entrenchment of the philosophy of Tibetan Gelugpa Buddhism in Mongolian territory. Located in the beautiful Orkhon Valley in central Mongolia, this vast religious complex was built in the 16th century.
Composed of several dozen temples surrounded by a hundred stupas (white domes in the image), the monastery of Erdene Zuu was for a long time a major religious centre in Mongolia. Although it almost did not survive the communist wave of the 20th century, the monastery is still today an active place of worship, as well as a museum open to visitors.
The current visitor is lucky enough to discover the monastery of Erdene Zuu, which has almost disappeared several times in history. First in the 17th century, during a Mongolian war during which the temples of the monastery were largely dismantled. It was only in the 18th century that restoration work was undertaken, in a Manchu style that can still be appreciated today (in the image).
In the 20th century, the rapid expansion of communism in the Russian-Asian region almost led to the total destruction of Erdene Zuu, as did almost all Buddhist monasteries of the time. Of the sixty or so temples that the site of Erdene Zuu contained, less than ten of them remain today, and only one is still active from a religious point of view.
Source: Geo – Erdene Zuu Monastery and Temple