Next summer, the World Affairs Council will be taking a picturesque journey through the Mongolian Alps via railway to experience the beauty, culture, and history of Russia and Mongolia. One of the exciting opportunities travelers will be able to see is the Choijin Lama Temple. Named after the eighth Javzandamba Khutagt, this temple was named after Mongolian independence was declared in 1911 (“Choijin Lama Temple”). Serving as the official state oracle until the Choijin Lama’s death in 1918, the temple is known for its traditional Chinese architecture and Buddhist elements (“Choijin Lama Temple”).
The Choijin Lama Temple’s history is documented with many religious hardships that Buddhists faced during the Communist Revolution in the 1920s. After the Soviet Union overtake the Mongolian government, many lamas were violently executed and over 1,000 monasteries were shut down, many destroyed in the process (“Choijin Lama Temple”). The Choijin Lama Temple was able to remain intact by serving as a nationalist museum. Despite regime changes, religious practice was banned from the Choijin Lama Temple until the 1990s (“Choijin Lama Temple”).
The temple now houses a wide range of Mongolian and Buddhist sculptures and paintings. The main temple grounds house five smaller temples for visitors to experience, one which holds the mummified remains of Baltung Choimba, the teacher of Bogd Khan (“Choijin Lama Temple Museum”). The museum is known for its summer nights which hold events like the Museum-Colors of Mongolia, a special presentation of Mongolian art, culture, and dance. Popular events often include Tsam mask dancing and a Morin Khur performance, a horse-headed fiddle (“Night at Choijin Lama Temple”). While it is no doubt a beautiful location for visitors to experience, it is the temple’s lasting historical and religious impacts that will be a powerful moment for all that visit.
“Choijin Lama Temple.” World Monuments Fund, www.wmf.org/project/choijin-lama-temple.
“Night at Choijin Lama Temple Museum in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.” Mongolia Tours, www.toursmongolia.com/mongolia_travel_news/night-at-choijin-lama-temple-museum-mongolia.