Guide To Locales Connected with the Life of Zanabazar
Zanabazar (1635-1723) was the son of the Tüsheet Khan, one of the rulers of seventeenth-century Mongolia, and a distant descendant of Chingis Khan, founder of the Mongol Empire. His spiritual propensities were apparent almost from birth and in 1639, while still a small boy, he was recognized as the head of the Sakya sect of Buddhism in Mongolia. He later traveled to Tibet where he was recognized as the 16th incarnation of Javsandamba and converted to the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism by the 5th Dalai Lama. As the head of the Gelug sect in Mongolia he introduced many new innovations, including the Maitreya Ceremony, and initiated the construction of numerous new temples and monasteries. A renowned polymath, Zanabazar composed new prayers, scriptures, and music, and invented the Soyombo alphabet, but he is probably best known for his incomparable sculptures, which rank among the greatest works of Buddhist art ever created. These include White Tara, the Twenty-One Taras, the five Transcendental Buddhas, Sitasamara, Vajradhara, and many more.
The Guide to Locales Connected with the Life of Zanabazar contains detailed information on fourteen places in Mongolia associated with Zanabazar and on seven museums and temples where his artworks can now be viewed. GPS coordinates are provided for countryside locations. The Guide will be of interest to pilgrims, tourists, and armchair travelers alike.
Shireet Tsagaan Nuur
Hot Springs Frequented by Zanabazar
Khögnö Tarnyn Khiid
Günjiin Süm – Temple of the Peaceful Princess
Sample Photos from Illustrated Edition
Zagastai Pass is also of some geographical interest, marking as it does the Continental Divide of Inner Asia. Little Khatarch Creek, which we had followed toward the pass, flows into a river system draining westward into one of the salt lakes of the Great Lakes Depression, none of which have an outlet to the ocean. On the north side of the pass begins Zagastai Creek which flows into the river systems eventually draining into the Arctic Ocean thousands of miles to the north. To find the source of the greatest of these river systems, the Yenisei-Angara-Selenge-Ider, is of course the raison d’être of this trip.
from Part 1, The Source of the Ider
The little boy born here in 1635 on the steppe of this broad valley bottom would later be named the Bogd Gegeen at Shireet Tsagaan Nuur; he would travel to Tibet and study with the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama; he would become the most revered leader in all of Khalkh Mongolia, founding many monasteries and creating great works of art; he would spend over a decade of his life in the Chinese capital of Beijing as a guest of the great Kangxi emperor of the Qing Dynasty, and his fame as miracle worker would spread throughout China; he would eventually die in Beijing and later the magnificent monastery of Amarbayasgalant would be built in his honor and serve as the final resting place of his remains; and in 1937 those remains would be destroyed in a bonfire by Mongolian and Soviet soldiers under the orders of a communist government goaded on by Joseph Stalin.
from Part 11, In Search of Zanabazar
According to the thirteenth-century chronicle entitled The Secret History of the Mongols the people now known as Mongols first appeared at the headwaters of the Onon River just north of a mountain called Burkhan Khaldun in the latter half of the eighth century. These people, then still just one tribe among the many which inhabited what is now Mongolia, soon expanded into the valleys of the nearly Kherlen and Tuul rivers. The upper basins of these three rivers—the Onon, the Kherlen, and the Tuul—make up the so-called Three Rivers Region considered to be the traditional homeland of the Mongols. Also, the mountain known as Burkhan Khaldun, located between the headwaters of the Onon and Kherlen, figured in several episodes recounted in the Secret History and was the scene of a crucial event in the life of Chingis Khan himself. As a result he worshipped this mountain, and he gave specific instructions that it should be honored by his descendants’ descendants forever. As I would learn, modern-day Mongolians have not forgotten this injunction.
from Part 111, The Birthplace of the Mongols
Part I — The Source of the Ider
Valley of the Ider
Source of the Ider
Part II — In Search of Zanabazar
Ulaan Baatar to Amarbayasgalant
Shireet Tsagaan Nuur
Part III — The Birthplace of the Mongols
Ulaan Baatar to Möngönmort
Headwaters of the Onon
Onon Hot Springs