It is the largest
and most significant monastery in Mongolia. The first temple of the
monastery was built in 1809 and moved to the present location in 1838. Over the
next century the monastery grew to include nine institutes, a library and
housed around 5000 monks. Gandan became an important center for learning and
practicing Buddha’s teachings in Mongolia.
In 1938, communism spread out in
Mongolia, around 900 monasteries were destroyed and turned into museums. The
monks were killed, jailed or forced to join the army.
In 1944, after a petition from several
monks, Gandan Monastery was reopened but its functions were carried out under
the strict supervision of the socialist government.
In 1990, after Democracy and with
Buddhism flourishing once more, Gandan Monastery embarked on an ambitious
restoration program around the country. There are currently 10 temples
operating at Gandan monastery and approximately 900 monks.