Monasteries and temples in Mongolia
To be able to see the Mongolian Cyrillic alphabet please download the font
Horoscope temple and Buddhist High school.
According to the decree of the Emperor of Chin Dynasty several monasteries
of Geser were built in the beginning of 18th century in Mongolia (In Khovd,
Zavkhan aimags and Ulaanbaatar). These Geser monasteries or temples are
dedicated to Guandi, (Guan Yu Chan) is the honorary name of the Chinese
army leader Guan-Ui. He was a famous military chief of the period of 3-rd
century of China. A memorial chapel dedicated to him is called Guan-Dimio.
Guve Zakhar, a worshipper of the Blue religion (Chinese Taoist Buddhism)
built this particular Geser sum, also known as West Geser Sum, in 1919-1920.
It is located in the central part of Ulaanbaatar, on the south side of
the hill with Dasgan Ovoo. He collected donations from Chinese merchants
and business people, who lived in Ikh Khuree (as Ulaanbaatar was known
in these days).
Chinese Taoist Buddhism is one of the schools of Buddhism that was introduced
to China in the fifth century. The Temple used to organize masked shows
on stilts starting on Lunar New Year and lasting for 15 days. The play
was organized in every city or village where Guandi was praised.
the right and left sides of the main entrance there were two similar temples
for the Bell and Drum. These instruments were used to announce the services
and time. In the Main temple there were a 3-meter high statue of the sitting
Guandi alongside his friends Tsaschikher and Nanjinshuumar (each 2-meter
high statues of standing man). In 1930 two smaller buildings (annexes)
were built at the both sides of the Main temple. At the backside of the
Main temple there was built a small annexe for Tara (Dari-Ekhi). These
annexes were decorated with scenes of the Tansan-lama folk-tales. At the
left and right sides of in front of the Main temple there are two temples
of Worshipping and Donations. In these buildings there were names of people,
who have given donations for the construction of Geser sum. The front
temple was the Temple of Horses. At the both sides of the entrance of
the temple there were statues of red and white horses of Guandi. These
temples were built in 1926-1929.
Behind the Main Temple there were built two school buildings in 1932,
where Guve Zakhar was teaching until in 1933 Geser Sum was confiscated
by the government.
In 1944-1959 Song and Dance Ensemble of Border Troops used in Geser-sum.
In 1960-1970 this monastery was used as library and sutra (books) store
house of Gandan-monastery.
In 1960 Board for Religious Affairs has built own office and small boiler-house
in the backside of the Main temple and has repaired the house of Guve-
Zakhar. In 1966 Danzan-lama of Gandan monastery has made a statue of Geser
who was riding the horse and placed it in the Main-temple. Also there
was a statue of Taschikher a military man and Rogmogua, a wife of Geser.
According resolution of Ulaanbaatar city administration Geser-sum was
given to the Board for Restoration of Cultural and Historical Monuments
in 1975. This Board has made restoration and repair works on Geser sum
and administration, design group, photo-laboratory, blacksmith, woodwork
and ceramic items workshops were in the temples. In 1991 Geser sum was
given to a secondary school of Buddhism.
Another source says it used to be a Chinese Chan Buddhist
Gao-Si-La temple. Because of their blue robes they were referred to as
the blue religion. The name Gao-Si-La was confused by the Mongolian with
Gesar, which would explain the current name.
Nowadays there are also a shop and a guanz on
the compound, where the menu includes khuushuur and buuz. There
are no resident monks at Geser Sum, the core activity at the monastery
is the teaching of young lama´s and receiving consult on astrology or
Erdene is one of the teachers at Geser Sum. On Monday October 15 2001
I witnessed one of his classes. There were two groups of around ten students
in two classrooms. He told me about 40% of the students come from Ulaanbaatar
and the rest come from the countryside. The ones from the countryside
probably life with some of their relatives here in the city, while the
other ones live at their homes.
World Monuments Fund
Geser Sum has been listed as one of the 100 most endagered sites in 2004.
The following text was taking fro their listing at:
Founded in the late nineteenth century during the time of Manchu dominance
over Mongolia, the Geser Sum Monastery was built with donations from Chinese
merchants. As a result, planning of the complex is stylistically Chinese,
but the architecture and sculpture identify the site as a unique fusion
of elements of Mongolian Buddhism, indigenous shamanism, Chinese Buddhism,
and Taoism. Geser Sum is the only monastery and associated sacred landscape
as yet unaffected by urban development in the capital. This fusion of
religious and cultural traditions reflects the larger history of Mongolia
as a crossroads of differing cultures. As the government took possession
of Geser Sum in 1933, and used it for the Border Army Song and Dance Ensemble,
it escaped demolition during the suppression of the Buddhist monasteries
and later became a functioning temple again after the cessation of communist
rule in 1990. However, lack of maintenance, theft, and the threat of nearby
development have negatively affected the site. A partnership between the
post-communist government and the Buddhist community has led to a new
initiative to restore Geser Sum. While the planning phase of the project,
including a training program for Mongolians, has been financially supported
by the Alliance of Religions and Conservation, the Getty Grant Program,
and the World Bank, the project has managed to raise only limited funds
to carry out actual restoration.