- Ongi Monastery was founded in 1660, one of the earliest monasteries in Mongolia
- Had the capacity to accommodate over one thousand monks at a time
- Ongi Monastery was named because of its location by Ongi River
Formerly one of the largest monasteries in Mongolia, the Ongi monastery consisted of two temple complexes on the North and South banks of the Ongi River. The older southern complex consisted of various administrative buildings as well as 11 temples. The northern complex built in the 18th century consisted of 17 temples-among them one of the largest temples in all Mongolia. The Ongi monastery grounds also 4 Buddhist universities.
Sad History about Ongi Monastery
During the 1930s communism spread throughout Mongolia. As part of their ideological campaign and rise to power, communists arrested most monks around Mongolia. In 1939 Ongi monastery was completely destroyed over 200 monks were killed and many surviving monks were imprisoned pr forced to join the communist-controlled army.
Other monks were escaped certain death by becoming farmers and common workers. The water from the river was re-routed to support the local mine, which was run by the Communist government. When the river dried out, Local communities were forced to leave surrounding areas of the monastery. With the departure of both monks and locals, the Ongi monastery seemed destined to disappear.
However, with the democratization of Mongolia in 1990, three monks returned to the Ongi monastery where they had begun their Buddhist education as young children some 60 years prior. These monks started laying a new foundation upon the old ruins, with a vision to restore the Ongi monastery and revitalize Buddhism in Mongolia. Around the Ongi monastery, there are some tourist camps.
Best time to visit Ongi Monastery
Ongi Monastery is situated in the Gobi Desert region. The best season to visit Ongi Monastery would be summer because of longer daylight and warmer weather. But summer can be overcrowded with tourists, especially in July during Naadam Festival. September is also suitable for visiting the Gobi Desert region. The weather is not hot like summer, but not cold either.
The average temperature is 28 C in the day and 14.5 C at the night in the Gobi Desert region during Summer. There is about 21.5 mm of precipitation and 34 percent of humidity.
Activities to do near Ongi Monastery
Walking around the ruins of the Ongi Monastery is a surreal experience for any visitor. You can just imagine how big and developed the monastery was. Hiking around the area is the best activity to explore this mysterious and interesting place. Since tourist ger camps are located under 500 meters from the ruins of the Ongi monastery, you can visit it whenever you want. There is one temple, which was built with the help of a local's donation. You can visit this temple and pay respect to the area.
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