GUNJYN SUM (TEMPLE OF PRINCESS)


This place in a zone of natural reserve of Khentii Aimag, is 120km east from Ulaanbaatar and could be reached passing Gorkhi Terelj, moving northeast after crossing Terelj River. While going upwards along swampy road east of the Baruunbayan, concentrated rocks known as “Khuh Chuluu” will appear. After passing these rocks there is a densely forested area. This area is a naturally beautiful surrounded by pine-tree forest.

In 1699 Manchu princess came to Mongolia becoming a queen of Mongolian noble, Dondovdorj. She left a valid will before her death in 1740; this will said that “I got married with a Mongol man and lived throughout my life with him, so I became a Mongolian. Therefore, please let me lay to rest in a Mongolian territory”. Princess’ servants from Sunchin tribe have been protecting the area around her grave since that time. Until 1930 her sacred burial hadn’t been destroyed. But, when excavation began in 1948, it had already been affected by the robberies. Grave remains consist of 6 main parts, a stone monument, and an establishment protecting the grave, Bogd gate, a fortress, a sacred burial and a grave. Princess tomb is inside the sacred burial. The establishment protecting the grave has its own fortress inside the bigger fortress. Height of the fortress is 2,5m, width is 70m same as its length and covering area is 4900 sq m. The thickness of the wall is equal to 4 bricks placed side by side. In front section inside the fortress there is 10m-high, 6m-wide Bogd gate which consists of several columns. The sacred burial was placed near this gate. This square burial has a road which allows entering north and coming out through south. A princess grave is behind the sacred burial. As a result of the research it became clear that there is a marble establishment under the grave. Inside this establishment there are a stone floor and a bow-shaped wall built of 8 bricks placed one after another.  A coffin made of sandalwood was found inside the establishment at 3-4m below the earth surface. When the coffin wrapped in 9 layers of silk and painted with a conifer resin was opened, there was no mark or traces of princess’ corpse. Even until now what happened to the corpse is unknown. According to the local elders’ talk, the sandalwood coffin was covered in gold and was filled with golden or silver objects shaped in human figure, 5 main snouts and various kind of engraved gemstones. Interestingly, on west side of the coffin another grave of a cross-legged fat man was found.  Since the corpse had been kept frozen, it looked as if he had recently died. The coffin was wrapped in 7 layers of silk and there were toy tools such as an axe, a saw, a hammer and a chisel etc. The corpse left untouched, but whose corpse it was is still unknown today. Another remain of the sacred burial is a stone turtle facing east. Flagstone with inscription was lying flat upon this 1,95m long granite turtle. Two dragons were depicted above the inscription. An inscription in Manchu script and characters on the central part said that “Qin Dynasty official…”, “… established this stone monument celebrating … festival”.

Many accounts about this princess of Qin Dynasty remained until today. These accounts of the scholars and researchers said that “she always stayed up late night and got up early morning, went on diet, and as a queen of the Qin Dynasty she followed the instructions and rules accordingly”. His husband Dondovdorj was a direct descendent of Abtai Sain king and he was a good-looking man who had perfectly qualified in learning, and had a deep interest in poems. They had 7 sons named as Khajivdorj, Rinchindorj and Gejaidorj ext and had only one daughter who gave birth to a second Bogd after becoming queen of duke Bayart of Khotgoid. This princess of Qin Dynasty managed to stamp her name forever in history. Because she devoted herself to her husband and to Mongolia although she experienced somehow harsh life in a foreign country.