Happy Camel

Vacances en Mongolie

History of Ulaanbaatar

History of Ulanbator

Kayaking tour Mongolia

Explore Mongolia
by Jeep (Many Trips)

Single Travelers

Extreme Travel:

Horse Riding

Camel Riding





Kite Buggy

Mountain Bike

Canoeing - Kayaking

4X4 - selfdrive


Survival Camp


Eco Ger Camp

Budget Travel



Trans-Siberian Train

Pictures and Photos

Who are we?

Why Us?


Contact Us





Lay Population Quarters

The Mongolian lay population (kharchuud) of Ikh Khuree was relatively low in number and they lived in yurts in different quarters or khoroos surrounding the monastic complexes. These were called: Baruun цmnцd khoroo in the south-west; Zььn цmnцd khoroo on the south-east; and Zььn kharchuud and Ikh shaw’ in the east. The inhabitants of Baruun цmnцd and Zььn цmnцd khoroo were called ‘the lay people of the khoroo’ (‘khoroonii kharchuud’) and the inhabitants of Zььn kharchuud and Ikh shaw’ ‘the lay people of the Khьree’ (‘Khьreenii kharchuud’). Pozdneev claims (pp. 90-91.) that the Khalkh princes and nobles (zasag) had had their residences in the khoroo or ‘townhouse section’, which they maintained to accommodate them on their visits to the city to worship the khutagt or to participate in a council. As special occasions for such visits were not very common most of these these residences, more than thirty in number, stood empty for many years secured only by watchmen. Besides these nobles who resided in part there, most of the khoroos were inhabited by different sections of the Mongol population. The south-west quarter (Baruun цmnцd khoroo) had smaller sub-districts such as the Tibetan quarter, Buryat quarter (with Buryat-Mongols from the northern border), Dariganga quarter (with Dariganga-Mongols from the south-eastern border) or the quarters of three of the four major administrative divisions (aimag) of Mongolia (Tьsheet khan aimag, Sain noyon khan aimag and Zasagt khan aimag). According to Dashtseren lama (born 1921), who is in the present Dashchoilin monastery, up the 1920’s, Gandan lamas were forbidden to enter the Baruun цmnцd khoroo district, located to the south between Zььn Khьree and Gandan. This was to prevent them coming into contact with lay people, especially women, and merchants. The Nyingmapa (Red Sect) temples were located here as they were excluded from both Gandan and Zььn Khьree, as their lamas were permitted to marry. The monastic vows/rules (Tib. ‘dul-ba, Skr. Vinaya) do not allow marriage so lamas who wanted to marry (or were interested in women) had to leave the two main monastic districts and live here. Soninbayar confirms this statement (Gandantegchinlen khiid, Shashnii deed surguuliin khurangui tььkh Tsagaan lawain duun egshig khemeekh orshiwoi, p. 68.) The khoroos, despite being the lay districts, had many small assemblies and temples. For example there were the Gelukpa (Yellow Sect) temples, such as Dar-ekhiin khural (Rinchen 917), Dorjzodwiin khural (NOT in Rinchen 952), and Tцwdiin khural (Rinchen 918) with Tibetan lamas forming a community (Tцwdiin khoroo) around the residence built for the Dalai Lama in 1905. Nartad Daginiin khural (Damdin lamiin khural) (Rinchen 916) was also situated in this area, on the eastern part, but little information could be found about it. In this quarter there were two streets named Usnii gudamj (‘Street of water’, named after a water canal that ran there) parallel to each other running from north to south. The quarter had small shops as well. According to Dariimaa (p. 41.), in the south-west quarter of the whole settlement there 35 were many other assemblies and temples. These had been established by initerant lamas, male and female shamans, sorcerers, fortune-tellers, tantric practitioners (sanga, Tib. gsangsngags- pa or agwa, Tib. sngags-pa) who used magic formulas or mantras, practitioners (dьwchin/tьwchin, Tib. grub-chen) of the great siddhi power, yoginis (naljormaa, Tib. rnal- ’byor-ma), and practitioners of tantric rituals (Zod, Lьijin). Several of these assemblies existed up until the 1930's. However the official administration of Ikh Khьree never recognized these assemblies nor officially gave permission for them to operate. This area is shown in Jьgder’s painting, although the individual temples are not shown no doubt because they operated mainly in yurts or were established later than 1913. Pьrew’s books (Mongoliin uls tцriin tцw, p 45., Mongol tцriin golomt, pp.66-67.), give information about the yurt quarter called Badarchnii dow (’the hill of the wandering lamas’) a sub-district in the Baruun цmnцd khoroo, which was situated near the present (Baruun) Dцrwцn zam road junction. This is where the poorest people lived in yurts and tents spread over the hill with no fences around them (they are represented in Jьgder’s painting in a brownish colour). There was another yurt district with no fenced-off yards in the western part of this area, on the western hill of the Baruun Selbe, now the site of the Second Maternity Centre (2r tцrцkh gazar). Here lived the extremely impoverished people with no shelter who ‘have taken up residence amid piles of rubbish and all sorts of refuse’ (Pozneyev p. 73.). Pozneyev described the horrible conditions here: ‘Those of them who are stronger and better off beg arms or gather worthless branches, knotted and crooked, which are strewn about the steppes, and construct huts from them, which they sometimes cover with grass, sometimes with rags of some sort. Those who have no strength at all, however, lie directly on the ground without shelter, naked and emaciated from starvation. …When they die, they are not even buried but are eaten by dogs, on the spot where they lay dying in full view of their companions, who look forward to the same fate.’ Some pictures of these poor dwellings can be seen in the pictures of Sakari Palsi (Halen H., Memoria Saecularis Sakari Palsi. Aufzeichnungen von einer Forschungsreise nach der Nordlichen Mongolei im Jahre 1909, Helsinki 1982, pictures No. 121, 122). To the north-west of this yurt district there was a bridge over the Selbe River, called ‘the bridge of the zodoch lamas’ (Zodoch nariin gььr). To the west of this bridge, on the right bank of the river, there was a small Nyingmapa (Red Sect) temple called Tantonjalbiin dugan (zodiin khural) (Rinchen 919) where the tantric rituals Zod (Tib. gcod) and Lьijin (Tib. lussbyin) were performed (Mongoliin uls tцriin tцw, p. 45.). Note that there were other Nyingmapa (Red Sect) temples in the city (mainly in these lay quarters), such as Jagarmolomiin khural (Dechinchoilin tawshi sьnbrellin, zodiin khural) (NOT in Rinchen 950) in the same enclosure as Tantonjalbiin khural, which also followed the practice of Zod, the special tantric practice to cut through the four Maras and ego-clinging. In these temples, lamas and female lamas (female practitioners) held ceremonies together all of them being Zod tantric masters who performed Lьijin, the body-offering ritual. In general, the badarchin lamas followed the Red Sect traditions. On the south-west of Tantonjalbiin dugan temple lay the many yurts and tents of the badarchin lamas. In the north-west of the badarchin quarter, there was a stupa built with an archway through it (ark (dugui khaalga) khelbertei suwraga), also called ’the stupa of penetrating’ (shurgadag suwraga) as the Badarchin lamas used to pass under it as they left on their travels (Pьrew, Mongoliin uls tцriin tцw, p. 45.). According to Pьrew (Mongol tцriin golomt, p. 68.), these pilgrim lamas went on pilgrimage, always on foot, to Wu Tai Shan in China, to Peking, to Tibetan monasteries like Labrang and to India. There was another arched stupa in this area, at a place called Makhnii dow (‘the hill of flesh’ or ‘the hill of butchers’) as there were many butchers in the vicinity who drove the cattle under this stupa before slaughtering. The Buriat quarter was situated on the north of Tantonjalbiin khural, on the east of 36 Gandan hill. The area of the South-Eastern quarter (Zььn цmnцd khoroo) housed the Manchu and Mongol governors in a specific area called Amban khanii khoroo. There was the residence of the Manchu amban since 1786. According to O. Pьrew (p. 37.) the last Manchu amban, Sanduo, who lived in Ikh Khьree until 1911, moved his residence from the above-mentioned area, and had his residence and shrine, Manj ambanii khurliin dugan, on the east bank of East-Selbe River. Tsewangiin khoroo, residences of the Mongol amban or governor and Setsen khan (one of the four khalkha khans), an archive and a prison were also situated in this district. According to Dendew (p. 11.), on both banks of East-SelbeRiver there were prisons. In the area between the two districts of Zььn цmnцd and Baruun цmnцd khoroo, and in the eastern part of the latter, there were the buildings of the nobles and politicians. One such building was the residence of Chin wan Khanddorj, a minister of foreign affairs in the government of the Bogd khaan. It is the only remaining such building from this time and can be found today on Seoul Street near the Russian Embassy. To the east of Zььn damnuurchin (see below) was the area called Ikh shaw’. The inhabitants were called ‘People from the subordinated areas’ (ikh shaw’) as they were subordinated to the jewtsьndamba khutagt and his ecclesiestical estate. There was a temple here called the assembly of Ikh shaw’ or Ikh shawiin kharchuudiin khural (Rinchen 927). There was also a prison in the area. Another district in this part of Ikh Khьree was Zььn kharchuud, which was to the north-east of Zььn Khьree, north of Zььn damnuurchin. According to Pьrew’s book (Mongol tцriin golomt, p. 90.) this district was established in 1883 as a place where lay people associated with Dashchoinkhorlin monastery and Dambadarjaa monastery lived. They were also subordinated to the jewtsьndamba khutagt and were tailors and cobblers for him as well as for high-ranking lamas and nobles. American shops were set up from the beginning of the 20th century in the area, on the hillside around the present Clinic Centre No. II. on Peace Avenue, which was south of Ikh shaw’. According to Pьrew’s book (Mongol tцriin golomt, p. 94.) a representative of an American-Chinese firm operating in China opened an office in this part of Urga. Later other American shops opened here and this area became known as Amerikan denj, ‘The hill of Americans’ from 1910 till 1950.


As Jьgder's painting shows, there were several residential palaces of the Bogd khaan, each with imposing buildings, in the area between Middle River (Dund gol) and TuulRiver. This particular zone was called Цndgiin sьrgiin nutag and reserved for the Bogd khaan and his kin. It was also used for the flocks of sheep, cows, horses and camel for the personal use of the greater family (Pьrew, Mongol tцriin golomt, pp. 25-29.). In this area there was: the winter palace called Bogd khaanii nogoon sьm (Bogd khaanii цwliin ord) (Rinchen 911) with a garden, called Norowlin/Norowlinkhai (NOT in Rinchen 943); his summer palace called Erdmiin dalai buyan chuulgan sьm (Bogd khaanii serььn ord) (Rinchen 921); and the White palace called Tsagaan sьm (Gьngaa dejidlin) (Rinchen 922). Religious ceremonies were held on special occasions in some of these palaces but not in all. Another palace called Pandelin was situated in the left bank of TuulRiver, which, according to Sereeter (p. 80.) had an alternative name, Narokhajid sьm (Rinchen 923).

The temple of Choijin Lama and the Temples Situated Around it

South of Zььn Khьree there was the Choijin lamiin sьm (Rinchen 915), which was the temple complex of Luwsankhaidaw, the state oracle (known as Choijin lam) who carried out a special tantric practice in Ikh Khьree. Yonzon khambiin sьm (NOT in Rinchen 947). The 37 temple of the 8th jewtsьndamba khutagt and Luwsankhaidaw’s teacher (who bore the title yonzon khamba (Tib. yongs-’dzin mkhan-po, ‘tutor abbot’) was situated on the right side of Choijin lamiin sьm. Agwa datsan (NOT in Rinchen 953), and presumably two smaller assemblies called Yutawiin khural (Rinchen 920) and Dagwa zodchiin khural (NOT in Rinchen 951) were located right to the north of Choijin lamiin sьm. The whole complex can be seen in Jьgder’s painting.

Konsuliin Denj

According to Rupen (pp. 163-164.), before 1860, the number of Russians living in Ikh Khьree was negligible. In 1861 the Russians decided to open a consulate in the city for reasons of trade and political influence. Russian merchants began to come to the city where some of them inevitably settled. By 1873 the Russians operated and staffed the Urga (Russian name for Ikh Khьree) post office with more buildings being constructed around the consulate: an Orthodox Church called Khutagt Troitskiin sьm (Rinchen 928), which was the only Christian church in the capital at that time; the office for the Russian doctor; barracks for the Cossacks of the small consular-guard; and a cemetery. According to Pьrew and the Jьgder painting, which shows this part as well, this hill where the Russian quarter was situated was called Maakhuz/ Maakhur tolgoi (‘Maakhuz hill’, Mongol tцriin golomt, p. 95.). According to Pozneyev (p. 94.) in the 1890’s about 50 people were attached to the consulate with another hundred Russians living in Urga. However, from this date the number of Russians grew, as many merchants, prisoners of war and the white Russian troops came to Mongolia. At the beginning of the 1920’s, as the Red Army approached the capital, many fled back to their homeland. There is no data on how many Russians lived here just before the purges of 1937.


According to Rupen (pp. 162-164.) the Chinese population in Ikh Khьree increased over the centuries. Despite the Manchu emperor’s dictat that forbade Chinese trading and acting as money-lenders in Mongolia, it was, in fact, very common for them to do both of these things. Most of the Chinese formed a settled colony around Zььn Khьree. According to Pьrew’s book (Mongol tцriin golomt, pp. 101-107.), in 1778 the Chinese were forced to move out of the city to the east to the area called Red hill (Ulaan dow), between the east and west branches of Uliastai River. This district became known as Elbeg amgalan gatsaa (‘village of abundant peace’). According to Rupen, it was the 4th jewtsьndamba khutagt who ordered the Chinese to move away from the monastic city. He also attempted to limit their number. The reason for this, as described by O. Pьrew, is that the jewtsьndamba khutagt had to be kept away from the ‘wind blowing from the Chinese’ as they were considered impure. Thus they set up their own fenced-off quarter, called ‘Commercial town’ (maimai cheng in Chinese, its Mongolian name variations are: Maimaachen, Maimaichen, Maimaa khot, Naimaa khot). This soon became the centre of Chinese economic operations in Mongolia. A temple called Amgalangiin Geser sьm (Rinchen 930) stood in the north part of the enclosed Chinese quarter, the gates of which were closed at night. Inside the Chinese quarter, people lived in one or two-storey wooden houses. There were large, well decorated shops, which sold a variety of goods including silk, other cloth, ironware, religious articles, tea, grain, and delicious bakery goods. According to O. Pьrew’s map there was a Chinese theatre to the right of Geser temple and Chinese educational institutions also operated in the Chinese town. According to B. Daajaw, in 1807 there were about 800 buildings with 4,000 inhabitants. In 1824 1,700 Mongolian people lived in Maimaachen and there were 72 shops (pььs, pu zi/ pu li in Chinese,). Pozdneev described Amgalan in 1870 as having 374 fenced-off yards (khashaa), 12 Chinese stores, 51 restaurants 38 and taverns and two hotels. Among the khashaas, 183 were occupied by Chinese and 191 by Mongolians. According to Pьrew there were 25 large stores, some inside and some outside the fence (Mongol tцriin golomt, p. 103.). Pozdneev’s book (pp. 77-89.) contains a detailed description on the lively life of Maimaachen. This settlement was quite different from Zььn Khьree with its crooked, irregular streets, canals and highly-decorated Chinese style dwellings and shops, inns, storehouses and warehouses full of Chinese food, valuable silk products and other Chinese goods, all being sold in a pleasant atmosphere. As it can be seen from Jьgder's painting and as it is described in Pьrew’s book (Mongol tцriin golomt, p. 101.) in the fenced area of Maimaachen there was a main street leading from the large entrance gate in the south up to the Geser temple in the north. There were also two big gates on the main street in the centre of the town. In front of the main gate there was a protection wall (yampai, Chinese yang pai). There were also three streets connecting the gates on the east and west walls of the fence. The arrangement of the streets in the Chinese quarter were such that it was divided into seven parts (khoroolol). The northern part, around the Geser temple, was the largest part. To the west of it there was the administrative office of the Manchu Quing dynasty, which organized the affairs of the Mongolian and Chinese inhabitants. West of this building, in the north-west corner of the Chinese quarter there was a large store, called Nomtiin pььs - remnants of it can still be seen today - and other stores. Numerous temples were built in and around the Chinese town (Maimaachen). (This area is now known as Amgalan.) Rinchen’s map marks seven of them. However, according to Pьrew and Sereeter, there were seven further temples and shrines. Altogether, seven Chinese temples were situated in the south-east quarter (khoroolol) inside the fenced-off area of Maimaachen, while six Mongolian assemblies and a Chinese temple were located outside. Pozneyev claims (p. 87.). that ‘By religion the inhabitants of Mai-mai-ch’eng may be divided, properly speaking, into two groups, Taoist and Buddhists. Only Chinese belonged to the first group, and all the Mongols and a small number of Chinese belong to the second. In addition, about twenty Mongol shamans lived in the Mai-mai-ch’eng, although they, properly, may be considered shamanists to the same extent that any Chinese may be considered a Taoist, Buddhist or Confucianist. It must be said in general that in the Khьree Shamanism exists, not as any kind of religion, but as shoothsaying or fortune-telling (…) Thus, in the Mai-mai ch’eng only two faiths exist, Taoism and Buddhism and the temples are accordingly.There are only four temples in the Mai-mai-ch’eng: three Taoist in various places in the Chinese section of the city, and one Buddhist temple built in the south-west side of the Mongol section.’ Pozneyev’s description relates to the state of Maimaachen at the end of the 19th century (1870’s-1890’s). However, research proves that there were more than four temples in Maimaachen. Those built inside were all Chinese temples, with Chinese lamas called khuushaan in Mongolian, (he shang in Chinese). According to Pьrew’s book, the Chinese temples were in the south-east part: in the corner of this area was an astrological temple, Odon sьm (NOT in Rinchen 945) and another temple called Kunziin sьm or Kьnz bogdiin sьm to honour Confucius (Rinchen 933) on its left and a Moslem temple, Tsagaan malgaitiin sьm (Rinchen 934) nearby on its west. North of Odon sьm the temple of Dar’ ekhiin sьm (Rinchen 931) was situated. On its left Erleg khaanii sьm, and Mujaanii or Urchuudiiin sьm (Rinchen 932) were located. Jьgder's painting represents many temples in the south-west corner of Maimaachen next to each other. The Chamber of Solicitors (Zargachnii yaam), established in 1742 according to Pozneyev (pp. 89-90.), was the administrative board of Maimaachen with its five Chinese and ten Mongol clerks. It was responsible for the affairs of the Chinese people and reported to the Ministry of Native Affairs in Peking. Its headquarter building was situated to 39 west of the temples mentioned above and east of the Moslem temple. (On its west there was a poplar tree, which still stands on the west of Dar’ ekhiin sьm). Two temples bearing the name of Erleg nomun khaanii sьm also stood here, one inside (Rinchen 929) and one outside the fence, on the north-west (NOT in Rinchen 948), as O. Pьrew says. The prison was located in the south-west (khoroolol) of the Chinese quarter. Manchu regulations forbade the Chinese to bring their wives and families with them to Urga. Lay Mongols and the half-caste people (the issue of Chinese married to Mongolians) lived in the east and west of the enclosed Chinese district in the two areas, Baruun khoroo (western district), and Zььn khoroo (eastern district), each of which had fields for agriculture and artificial lakes. According to Ц. Sereeter (Mongoliin Ikh Khьree, Gandan khiidiin tььkhen bьtetsiin towch, p. 82), during the Manchu period and the reign of the Bogd khaan, several Mongolian temples were established in the districts outside the fence of the Chinese quarter. According to Pьrew (Mongol tцriin golomt, pp. 104-105) in the south area of Baruun khoroo the small temple of Choinkhorlin (Nomiin khьrdiin sьm, NOT in Rinchen 955) was situated. A wide road, called Gaaliin gudamj, or Customs Street ran from west to east in front of the south entrance of Maimaachen. Jьgder’s map shows a large temple on this road, but we were unable to identify it. At the east end of this road, there was the Asssembly of Zod tantric masters belonging to the Red Sect (Ulaanii shashnii zodoch nariin khural, NOT in Rinchen 959), which was founded during the reign of the Bogd khaan. The name of this temple is currently unknown. On the east of the Zod temple, in a fenced off yard, there was the large Mongolian-Chinese style building of Dashsamdanlin datsan/khural (Rinchen 935) or Erliiziin sьm, ‘the temple of the half-castes’ which is identified on Jьgder's painting. On the east of Dashsamdanlin datsan, also on the south-west of the fence, there was another temple, Dejidlin khural (Enkh amgalant sьm, NOT in Rinchen 956). It operated in a large yurt-shaped temple building. On the east side of the protection wall (yampai, Chinese yang pai), to the south of the town there was a large temple called Dagdanlin khural (Bat mцnkhiin sьm, NOT in Rinchen 958). According to Ц. Sereeter (Mongoliin Ikh Khьree, Gandan khiidiin tььkhen bьtetsiin towch, p 82), there was a temple called Puntsoglin sьm (Khotol chuulalt sьm, NOT in Rinchen 957), which was also situated outside the Chinese town. According to Ц. Sereeter (Mongoliin Ikh Khьree, Gandan khiidiin tььkhen bьtetsiin towch, p. 82), the aimags were arranged around these temples. Lamas from the aimags came to the temples from time to time to hold ceremonies. 40 lamas belonged to Puntsoglin aimag and 80-90 lamas to the others. (Sereeter does not give an exact date, but his data may refer to the situation in the 1910’s as Maimaachen temples did not operate just till the 1920’s). The temples had their own self-sustaining financial units whereby the believers’ donations and offerings in the aimags provided for their economic needs. Pьrew (Mongol tцriin golomt, p. 104), places the large temple of Erleg nomun khaan (NOT in Rinchen 948), also called as the ‘roar temple of Erleg khaan’ (Erleg khaani khoid sьm), in the northern area of the western quarter (Baruun khoroo). This is also where Jьgder shows it. There were fields for agriculture and a Chinese cemetery outside the north side the Maimaachen fence, where the coffins were placed on the ground uncovered according to Chinese burial costumes. (The Mongols, following the Tibetan Buddhist custom, used to leave their dead in special burial places on the Chingeltei and Songino Mountains to be eaten by vultures and wild dogs.) There are photographs of the Maimaachen temples in the Film Archive (box 93, 23971-23987). They were important masterpieces of Chinese architecture and some of these photographs have appeared in books on architecture and history. Some show Geser sьm, and others show the Dar’ ekhiin sьm (see these entries). However, it cannot always be determined which other Chinese temple of Maimaachen many of the photographs illustrate. In the mid 1920’s, when the Mongolian People’s Party came to power, the 40 Maimaachen inhabitants were expelled, both Chinese merchants and the Mongolians, and the shops were closed. Not long before this, in 1920, Baron Ungern’s troops commited a massacre here with many Chinese victims. At the time of Geleta’s stay, (Forbбth, p. 224.) in the late 1920’s, Maimaachen, which preserved its Chinese character, was no longer an administrative, residential or commercial centre for the Chinese with the majority of its inhabitants being Mongolians. The offices, separate administration, army and flourishing commercial activity had ceased. By the late 1920’s this district, comparing with the vivid life of Urga that time, seemed underpopulated and deserted with its quiet and desolated streets. O. Pьrew dates the expulsion of the Chinese merchants as 1928. From this time onwards, the old temple buildings were either destroyed, put into secular use or left neglected. It is supposed that there were no operating temples here at the time of the 1937’s purges, though the Mongolian temples, outside the Maimaachen walls, were supposedly still operating. (There is reliable data only on Dashsamdanlin datsan in 1937). In 1925 the area had been renamed Amgalanbaatar. After the Chinese were forcibly expelled, a military barrack was established for the Russians along with Russian shops. At the time of the survey, in the whole area once called Maimaachen, there are only some renovated remnants of the Dar’ ekhiin sьm temple still standing along with some remains of the store, Nomtiin pььs with another old building situated between the two.

The merchant districts (Damnuurchin/Damnuurgachin)

In 1877 new Chinese stores (pььs, Chinese pu zi/ pu li) were built on the road to the monastic city in the district next to Maimaachen. This made trade between the two easier. Another similar merchant quarter was formed between Zььn Khьree and Gandan. These two retail communities were later called Zььn damnuurchin (‘eastern area of porters’) and Baruun damnuurchin (‘western area of porters’) referring to their location relative to Zььn Khьree. These areas are shown in Jьgder's painting as well. The word damnuurchin means ‘porter who carries the water pot on a pole’, as the merchants in the area carried their goods with them. In Zььn damnuurchin, which Pьrew (Mongol tцriin golomt, p. 91.) claims was established at the beginning of the twentieth century, Mongolians grew vegetables and made food products to sell. The trading area consisted of one large street with 27 big shops (Mongoliin uls tцriin tцw, p. 66.). The Manchu military barracks called Shinkhua (sien khua in Chinese) were on the south of Zььn damnuurchin quarter. Baruun damnuurchin was a Chinese trading area with Chinese manufactured products on sale. There was a long street with nine cross streets. In the 1920s some of the biggest Chinese firms moved here from Maimaachen. In 1927 the Geser sьm assembly was moved to this district and established at Baruun Geser sьm (Rinchen 914). Pьrew (Mongol tцriin golomt, p 83-84., Mongoliin uls tцriin tцw, p. 51.) says that, in the early 1900s, there were 217 shops of various sizes offering different products or services with a total of 495 workers. There was also a Chinese theatre. The market where the majority of cleric and lay inhabitants and countryside people spent their free time, was situated between Gandan and Zььn Khьree. Pozdneev writes in some detail about the lively activity there (pp. 64-73.). The market offered a large variety of articles by its nearly 25 Beijing stores and other Chinese shops as well as open-air workshops of carpenters, blacksmiths, shoemakers, butchers and others. The great deal of the commerce was done by Chinese, later Russian merchants, while Mongols were involved in street trading on a smaller scale, selling articles they bought from Chinese shops. The main products were the following: women from the countryside sold milk, kumis (airag) and other dairy products while the men sold livestock mainly horses and sheep. They also brought firewood and hay to sell. According to Pozdneev (p. 75.) there were many unofficial public places in the Khьree 41 market including brothels.)

Temples and Monasteries in the outskirts of Ikh Khьree

In the area of the ChingelteiMountain, north of the capital, there were two bigger monasteries, Dambadarjaagiin khiid (Rinchen 939) and Dashchoinkhorlin khiid (Rinchen 936), and a meditation centre, Shaddublin khiid (Rinchen 937). All these three monasteries are indicated on Jьgder's painting. There were also chapels with temporary assemblies in the surrounding countryside, which were dedicated to worshipping the local mountain spirits. Such temples were: Dьnjingarwiin sьm (Rinchen 924), Bogdiin khiid (dugan) or Tsetsee gьnii khural (Rinchen 938), and Bayanzьrkhiin dugan (Rinchen 941). Other assemblies worshipped the spirits (lus, Tib. klu) of springs and other holy waters (rivers, lakes, springs), such as Zььn salaanii khural (Rinchen 940), Baruun salaanii khural (NOT in Rinchen 946) and Lowon Jalbiin sьm (NOT in Rinchen 944). It is likely that there were many other such assemblies, where a few lamas lived permanently, around the city, in addition to those marked on Rinchen’s map, especially on the four holy mountains (Bogd khan, Songino, Chingeltei, Bayanzьrkh) surrounding the capital. Local shepherds were the main visitors to these shrines. (One such assembly was the Sanzain uuliin khiid/Sanzaidorjiin khural, NOT in Rinchen 954). Most of these temples are not represented on Jьgder's painting as they were situated a long way from the centre.

Economic life of temples (the institution of jas)

The treasury income of the jewtsьndamba khutagt (ikh san) came from of the income from the palaces, aimags, datsans of Ikh Khьree and from the monasteries that belonged to the Ikh shaw’ territories. The high-ranking lamas (khutagt, khuwilgaan) had their own treasuries called san and economic units of the temples were finance offices called jas (Tib. spyi-gsog, public accumulation/ reserves). The growth in the number of the temple’s livestock, reared and grazed on pastures by subordinates, the predicted profit from the herds, namely airag, milk and other dairy products, felt, and leather were considered as taxes. Money raised from sales of the livestock, renting property, inheriting property and also devotees’ donations to ‘Buddha, the Teaching and the lama community’ for the services performed contributed to the income of these financial units. These donations included a wide variety of goods such as herds, flocks, brick tea, meat, dairy products, flour, fat, silk scarves (khadag, Tib. kha-btags), silk, juniper, grains and fruits, and later money. Everyday affairs, such as performing ceremonies, making offerings to the deities, preparation of lamas’ meal and bigger expenses like repairing the temples were all paid from the assets of these units. Physically, these units were housed in small buildings near their temple within the enclosing fence. Besides the Ikh jas (‘great jas’) which signifies a central or common economic unit, the other jas were named after the names of ceremonies. In this way, from the names of jas that belonged to a given temple, we can draw conclusions about the ceremonial life, that is, the ceremonies performed in any given temple. For example, in a temple with a jas named Sakhiusnii jas, ceremonies were for sure performed for the wrathful protector deities, in a temple with Ganjuuriin jas readings of the Kanjur, with Lkhamiin dordowiin jas offerings of sacrifical cake (dordow, Tib. gtor-sgrub) to Lkham (Tib. lha-mo, Skr. Shridevi) goddess, with Gьnregiin jas the Gьnreg (Tib. kun rig(s)) ceremonies for the deceased, with Awidiin chogiin jas the ceremony for longevity, while in a temple with Buman Dar’ ekhiin jas the ceremony of reading the mantra of Dar’ ekh (Tib. sgrol-ma, Skr. Tara) 100,000 times was performed regularly. Besides operating san and jas, devotees often offered gifts to highranking lamas, such as the abbot, chanting master or disciplinary master. The manager (daamal), the treasurers or bookkeepers (nyaraw, Tib. gnyer-pa), and the clerks (bicheech) were responsible for the financial affairs of a temple. They kept annual 42 accounts with detailed lists of all income and expenditure by the temple.

Main monastic and administrative ranks in Ikh Khьree

The hierarchy of the lamas is described by Sereeter (p. 55.) and Dariimaa (p. 18.). The seven highest-ranking lamas in Ikh Khьree, namely the head abbot (khamba nomon khan), the vice abbot (ded khamba) and the five tsorj (Tib. chos-rje, ‘lord of religion’) were appointed by the jewtsьndamba khutagt himself. The communal name for them was ‘the seven tsorj of Ikh Khьree’ or ‘the seven tsorj of the bogd’ (Ikh Khьreenii doloon tsorj or Bogdiin doloon tsorj). They all had to be fully-ordained lamas (gelen, Tib. dge-slong) with agramba (Tib. sngags-rams-pa) degree, the highest level tantric exam (Dariimaa, p. 18.). Due to their main role in religious affairs, the last holders of these offices were all sentenced and executed in 1937. The khamba nomon khan was the highest religious office holder in Ikh Khьree, being the most significant cleric person apart from the jewtsьndamba khutagt. As Sereeter mentions (pp. 96-108.) the 1st khamba nomon khan, Luwsanjambaldanzan (Tib. blo-bzang jam-dpal bstan-‘dzin), lowon (Tib. slob-dpon, ‘master’) lama of the Tibetan Namjil datsan (Tib. rnamrgyal grwa-tshang) came to Mongolia at the invitation of Цndцr gegeen and on the request of the 5th Dalai Lama. He arrived in the early 1650’s and become the abbot (shireet lam, Tib. khri-pa, ‘throne-holder, head lama’) of the main assembly hall. He established the system of religious ceremonies, special rituals and rules of reciting while promoting a proper understanding of Buddha’s teaching and the taking of higher monastic vows. Luwsankhaimchog lama, the 21st khamba nomon khan, was the last to fulfill this position from 1920 until his execution in 1937. As the numbers of datsans and temples increased, a vice abbot or ded khamba (Sereeter, p. 109.) was appointed in 1822 with Luwsankhaidaw lama to be the first to hold this post. The last lama to hold this title until his execution in 1937 was Damdin(jaw), who was the 16th ded khamba (Sereeter, p. 112.). The rank of tsorj has a long history but is mentioned in sources only from the 1790’s. The tsorj lamas of the Tsogchin temple were always appointed from among highly educated lamas holding academic ranks. Their principal roles were in religious activities and training of lamas and novices. Sereeter lists (pp. 113-121.) from the first recorded mention of the tsorj, 44 lamas who held this title with Tsogt-Zandan, Choinzon and Jantsan holding this position in 1937. Soninbayar, who lists the last seven tsorj of Bogdiin Khьree (Gandantegchinlen khiid, Shashnii deed surguuliin khurangui tььkh, p. 73.) claims that the last five tsorj of Bogdiin Khьree besides Yonzon khamba Luwsankhaimchog and Ded khamba Damdin were Tsogt-Zandan tsorj of Dandarlin aimag (executed in 1937), Chogloi tsorj of Jasiin aimag, Jantsan tsorj of Wangain aimag (executed in 1937), Dugarjaw tsorj of Namdollin aimag and Mangal tsorj of Biz’yaagiin aimag. Together with the tsorj the four disciplinary masters (gesgьi/gebkьi, Tib. dge-bskos) and the four chanting masters (umzad/unzad, Tib. dbu-mdzad) of the main assembly hall (Tsogchin dugan) ruled on every religious question in the capital. The disciplinary masters were responsible for the proper order of ceremonies and special events, disciplining lamas and novices, handing out punishments as necessary as well as maintaining links with devotees. During the ceremonies, the chanting masters had significant role of leading the recitation of texts. The erdene shanzodwa/shanzaw was the supreme administrator of the entire department of the jewtsьndamba khutagt and was also responsible for the affairs and properties of Ikh Khьree as well as the shaw’ nar (people subordinated directly to the jewtsьndamba khutagt and his ecclesiastical estate). The erdene shanzaw was appointed by the jewtsьndamba khutagt and the Manchu emperor. He had to be a Mongolian lama educated 43 in law and an expert in Mongolian, Manchu and Tibetan scripts but did not have to be fullyordinated or have a high academic degree in religious philosophy. Two da lams (‘great lamas’), 16 zaisans (chief officers), 8 clerks (bicheech), 20 guards or adjutants (khia, Tib. sku-srung) supported his work with many lay zaisans, princes and other attendants. The first shanzaw, Dagwalhьndew, fulfilled the position from the 1690’s. He supervised Цndцr gegeen‘s treasury and managed the affairs of his subordinated people (shaw’ nar). However the institution of shanzaw was reformed in 1767 and 1772 (Sereeter, pp. 122-131.). The last person to bear this title was Jigmiddorj who was the 22nd shanzaw until 1924. According to Sereeter (p. 132-143.) the rank of da lam originated in 1767. From this time until the postion was stopped in 1925, there were 44 lamas who held this rank. Many other attendants supported the everyday life of the jewtsьndamba khutagt (see details in Pozdneev’s chapter on the monastic hierarchy, pp. 221-234.). Furthermore, according to Soninbayar (Gandantegchinlen khiid, Shashnii deed surguuliin khurangui tььkh, pp. 64-65.) beside the seven tsorj of the Bogd, the seven main priviledged khutagts with seal (tamgatai khutagt, ’khutagts with a seal’) had the right to sit in distinguished places in any ceremony held in Ikh Khьree. These seven main khutagts were called goliin doloon khutagt (’the main seven khutgat’).

Ranks and other duties in the individual monasteries and temples

Apart from the above-mentioned monastic and administrative ranks in Ikh Khьree, every aimag temple and datsan had its own ‘staff’. They were lead by the head (tergььn) who bore the title khamba (Tib. mkhan-po, ‘abbot’). Then there was the tsorj (Tib. chos-rje, ‘lord of religion’), or lowon (Tib. slob-dpon, ’master’). In datsans the head was called shunlaiw (Tib. gzhung lugs-pa/ gzhung las-pa). In every temple there were disciplinary masters and chanting masters whose number depended (and as these ranks are the same today, still depends) on the size of the temple. In every temple the offering master (chombon, chowombo, Tib. mchod-dpon) together with the offering assistants (takhilch), was responsible for the preparation and proper arrangement of the offerings. The chanting masters’ asssistants were the chanters (golch), taking a leading part in the recitation. Disciplinary assistants (geyeg, Tib. dge-g-yog) helped with the activities of the disciplinary masters (gesgьi) while the shrine keepers (duganch, Tib. ‘du-khang-pa) were responsible for keeping the temples clean and ensuring that the right belongings or accessories were ready when needed. Furthermore guards (sakhiul) and teaservers (manzach) were appointed by the disciplinary masters.




� Backpacking Mongolia 1999 -

Happy Camel Trips Mongolia - Mongolian Eagle festival - Off Road Mongolia - Branding and Marketing in Mongolia - Khuiten climb - Yourte Vente - Yurt Sale