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Uvurkhangai province

Uvurkhangai is one of the 21 aimags of Mongolia, located in the south of the country. Its capital is Arvaikheer. Travel destinations which locate at Uvurkhangai province are follow as:

Orkhon Waterfall

Orkhon waterfall which is located 132 km away from Kharkhorin soum features a waterfall when Orkhon river flows into the Ulaan river. It is ten meters wide and twenty meters high.

Erdenezuu Monastery

The Erdene Zuu Monastery is probably the earliest surviving Buddhist monastery in Mongolia. Located in Uvurkhangai Province, approximately 2 km north-east from the center of Kharkhorin and adjacent to the ancient city of Karakorum, it is part of the Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape World Heritage Site. The monastery is affiliated with the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism.

Abtai Sain Khan, ruler of the Khalkha Mongols and grandfather of Zanabazar, the first Jebtsundamba Khutuktu, ordered construction of the Erdene Zuu monastery in 1585 after his meeting with the 3rd Dalai Lama and the declaration of Tibetan Buddhism as the state religion of Mongolia. Stones from the nearby ruins of the ancient Mongol capital of Karakorum were used in its construction. Planners attempted to create a surrounding wall that resembled a Tibetan Buddhist rosary featuring 108 stupas (108 being a sacred number in Buddhism), but this objective was probably never achieved. The monastery’s temple walls were painted, and the Chinese-style roof covered with green tiles.

The monastery was damaged in 1688 during one of the many wars between Dzungars and Khalkha Mongols. Locals dismantled the wooden fortifications of the abandoned monastery. It was rebuilt in the 18th century and by 1872 had a full 62 temples and housed up to 1000 monks.

In 1939 the Communist leader Choibalsan Khorloo ordered the monastery destroyed, as part of a purge that obliterated hundreds of monasteries in Mongolia and killed over ten thousand monks. In 1947 the temples were converted into museums and for the four decades that followed Gandantegchinlen Khiid Monastery became Mongolia’s only functioning monastery.

After the fall of Communism in Mongolia in 1990, the monastery was turned over to the lamas and Erdene Zuu again became a place of worship. Today Erdene Zuu remains an active Buddhist monastery as well as a museum that is open to tourists. On a hill outside the monastery sits a stone phallus called Kharkhorin Rock. The phallus is said to restrain the sexual impulses of the monks and ensure their good behavior.

Travel tips:

  • When you enter into monasteries, you need to take off your hat
  • In some monasteries, you may take off your shoes
  • It is prohibited to eat and laugh loudly in monasteries
  • Be respectful in monasteries
  • Inside and outside temples and monasteries, Mongolians go around in clockwise direction
  • Speaking too aloud and talking on mobile phone in temples and monasteries seem disrespectful

Khuisiin naiman nuur or Khuisiin naiman lake

This beautiful lake is located 115 km away from the center of Uvurkhangai aimag. Even though its road is harsh, it is enjoyable for riding horses. In Mongolian, it means “Navel eight lake”. The area of this lake was created by volcanic eruptions about 8000 years ago and it is located on over 2400 meter above sea level. The area of 11,500 hectare size was declared a National Monument in 1992. The reason why this lake named as Navel eight lake is that eight lakes including Shireet, Khaliut, Bugat, Haya, Huis, Muhar, Duruu and Bayan-Uul are connected under water. Those eight lakes are between 500m and 3 km away from each other. Unfortunately, two of the smaller lakes are completely dried up, the second largest lake Khuis nuur is dried up to ten percent. Due to its variety of fish species, it has become a main destination for fishing.