Ulanbaatar, Mongolia

Ulanbaatar architecture

Ulanbaatar police use batons to motion motorists over for inspection.

Three of the five temple tops inside Choijin Temple complex

Outside the entrance of Choijin Temple

Inside the Temple of Yadam

At the altar of the Temple of Yadam

Solitude found in Choijin Temple

Exterior architecture of Choijin Temple, which today survives as a museum and has not been a practicing temple since 1938 when the Communist forced its closure.

Offerings of money inside the Temple Zuu

The Temple Zuu, home to the 'secret tantra' where common believers were not permitted, is one of the five temples in the Choijin Temple complex.

The Main Temple of Choijin Temple, built from 1904-1908, houses this gilded sculpture of Buddha with his two disciples standing by his side.

Inside the Choijin Temple, where evil spirits were exorcised

31 July 1999 - The Communists shut down the Monastery of Choijin Lama in 1938. The five temples and five gates, built from 1904-1908, are the most extravagantly filled of any we have seen on this world journey and we certainly saw wondrous temples in China.

Upon entry, there is the Temple of Maharaja, which is small with four larger than life-size majestic sculptures of great guardians of the Buddha. Mongolian masters during the construction of the temples made them of papier-mâché.

The Main Temple, and the most beautiful, has a Buddha at the center and on one side of this golden statue is Lubsanhaidub, the Lama the temple was built in honor of, and on the left side of the Buddha is the embalmed mummy of his teacher Enzonhamba Baldanchoimbol. There are musical instruments by the altar and Javdan seats.

There are scores of masks for performing Tsama, the ritual dances for exorcising evil spirits, lining the walkway to another room connected to the Main Temple. This room is where the Lama went into ‘ecstasies’. Here there are paintings of people being brutally punished for misdeeds.

The Temple Zuu was built in honor of the founder of Buddhism. The 16 Apostles are depicted in caves as hermits in meditation.

The Temple of Yadam is a temple of secret tantra where common believers were not permitted.

The final Temple of Amgalan has walls adorned with the relief of the 16 Apostles.


  Choijin Lama Monastery (Paige)
  Ulanbaatar's offerings (Jim)