Dambadarjaa Monastery - Atlas Obscura

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Dambadarjaa Monastery

An off-the-beaten-path monastery in the northern hills of Ulaanbaatar. 


Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital city, is a sprawling metropolis in the country’s north-central region. Ulaanbaatar is home to all manner of housing, from the traditional felt tents known as ger to little log cabins in the hills and valleys. It’s here that visitors can also find Dambadarjaa Monastery, one of the country’s three main Khalkha Buddhist monasteries.

The monastery here was established in the 1700s in a quiet northwestern section of Ulaanbaatar. The remains of a Buddhist spiritual leader, the Second Khalkha Jetsundampa, are interred here.

Although Dambadarjaa is one of Ulaanbaatar’s main monasteries, it is not as well known or visited as the capital’s other monasteries. The monastery was ransacked in the 1930s during the Stalinist purges. Subsequently, new temples were built, and the newest temples are bright and colorful.

While the older temples have fallen into disrepair, the newer ones beg to be visited. Around 50 monks live here and may unlock one of the temple doors for visitors. With a little renovation work, this could become a tourist attraction, but currently, the site dwells in obscurity. 

Know Before You Go

There is no entrance fee. If you can find a monk or worker, ask to enter a temple.

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September 30, 2023

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