Ovgon khiid


The Ovgon Khiid monastery is located in the mountains of Khogno-Khan 257 km away from Ulan-Bator, o­n the way to Arvaykheer, 173 km away from Arvaykheer and about 75 km away from Kharkhorin. It is impossible to drive right up to the impressive ruins of the monastery situated at the altitude of 1532 meters. The o­nly way there is to walk from the functioning monastery Khogno-Tarnil-Khiid, which stands lower o­n the hill. You can reach the lower standing monastery by car, directly from the tourist camp “Mon-Gobi”. Stone stairs along the steep slope will lead you to the temple. Nearby there is a sacred suburgan (stupa), pavilions and clay ruins of temple buildings. This and many other monasteries were destroyed during anti-religious campaigns. In 1980s it was newly rebuilt.

From the functioning monastery the trail through the valley and a birch wood (30 minutes of an easy walking for 2 km) will take you up to well preserved ruins of the Buddhist monastery Ovgon-Khiid. A birch wood with crooked trunks is a totally unusual phenomenon in the middle of Mongolia, there is nothing else similar in any other areas. If you stand with your face to the top of the valley, to the right of you the trail takes its way up. A bit higher in front of the temple there is a rock picturing a large drawing of a horse with no date determined. From this place the trails runs past an obo and goes up the valley to the ruins covered with thick brushwood which makes it difficult to pass through them without scratching o­neself. Amongst the brushwood there are massive stone walls. These look quite striking against the background of close stone tops. 

The monastery Ovgon-Khiid was built by a famous religious figure of medieval Mongolia – Zanabazar, who constructed it in the honor of his teacher. This temple used to be o­ne of his most beloved sanctuaries. In its thriving years the monastery was hosting over a thousand lamas at a time. In the 18th century Ovgon-Khiid became a bone of contention between Galdan Boshigt (Western Mongolia) and Zanabazar (Central Mongolia). The former was against Zanabazar's intention to submit to the Manchus. The never-ending argument resluted in a war when Galdan Boshigt's army destroyed Ovgon-Khiid.

Shankh Temple

Once known as the West Monastery, is the only one of the region's monasteries other than Erdene Zuu to have survived. Shankh was renowned because of its connections with the great Zanabazar and is said to have once housed Chinggis Khaan's black military banner. At one time the monastery housed over 1500 monks. As elsewhere, the monastery was closed in 1937,

temples were burnt and many monks were shipped off to Siberia. It reopened the monastery in 1990.


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