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Erdene Zuu Monastery

Kharkhorin, Mongolia


Location: N4711.530 - E102o50.548 Uvurkhangai Province, on the outskirts of the sum center of Kharkhorin. 

Buddism as it exists in Mongolia today can be traced back to Zaanbazar's great-grandfather Avtai Khan (1554-1587), who ruled the Tusheet Khanate, one of the three khanates which made up the domains of the Khalkh, or Eastern Mongols in the late sixteenth century. The Tusheet Khanate was centered on the valleys of the Tuul and Orkhon rivers, including the area now occupied by Mongolia’s capital of Ulaanbaatar.

Avtai eventually decided to build the temple on the site of the old Mongol capital, located on the Orkhon River just below where it debouches from the foothills of the Khangai Mountains. In 1585 he sent to Khokh Khot in what is now Inner Mongolia – the city founded bt Altan Khan, now known as Hohhot – for a lama to oversee the construction of the temple. Shortly thereafter another temple was rebuilt from the ruins of a temple which had previously existed at Kharkhorum during the brief florescence of Buddhism here in the thirteenth century. This became Erdene Zuu temple.

Over the next several decades the Left Zuu temple and Right Zuu Temple were built on either side of the Central Zuu temple. According to some sources the Right Zuu temple was built by order of Zanabazar’s grandmother, the wife of Erkhii Mergen Khan, and the Left Zuu temple by Zanabazar’s mother, Khandjamts.

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