Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Uzbekistan | Bukhara | Lyab-i-Haus

Arguably the social center of modern Bukhara is the Lyab-i-Haus Complex, named after the haus, or reservoir in its middle. In summer the reservoir is lined with tables served by nearby restaurants and the square itself is thronged with local idlers of all persuasions, sight-seers, tourists, and Turkish adventuresses. In late winter the square around the reservoir is pretty much deserted. 
Lyab-i-Haus Complex, looking west (Click on photos for Enlargements)
On the north side of the square is a two-story restaurant and to the right, across a street, is the Kukeldash Madrassa. The south side of the square is lined with stores and Hotels.
The Kukeldash Madrassa, which now faces the Lyabi-Haus Complex, pre-dates the complex itself. It was built in 1568-1589 at the time of Shaibanid ruler Abdullah Khan, during whose reign Trade Dome #1, Trade Dome #2,  the Abdullah Khan Tim,  and probably Trade Dome #3 were also constructed. Commissioned by Abdullah Khan’s general and foster brother Qul Baba Kukeldash (kukeldash = foster brother), the madrassa, measuring 262 by196 feet and containing 160 cells, is the largest in Bukhara and one of the largest in Inner Asia. 
Kukeldash Madrassa (1568 - 1569)
The Janids, or Ashtarkhanids (1599–1681) seized power after the fall of the Shaibanids. The dynasty was founded by Jani Yar Muhammad, who fled from Astrakhan, north of the Caspian Sea, after the Russian invasion of the area, He married a sister of Abdullah Khan’s and their son Baqi Mohammad took control of Bukhara and the surrounding area in 1599. He died in 1605. After a short reign by Wali Muhammad Khan (1605-1611), Imam Quli Bahadur Khan (r.1611-1641) came to power. During his reign the Uzbek state and Bukhara in particular experienced a resurgence, vying with Ottoman Turkey, Safavid Persia, and the Moghuls of India for power in the Islamic geo-sphere.

The construction of the Lyab-i-Haus complex, including the reservoir, the Nadir Divan Beg Madrassa, and the Nadir Divan Beg Khanaka (Sufi monastery), were built between the years 1620 and 1623, during the reign of Imam Quli Bahadur Khan. They were commissioned by Nadir Divan Beg Tughai, a high official in the Uzbek court and the uncle (tughai) of Imam Quli Bahadur Khan. The madrassa was originally intended to be a caravanserai, as can be seen by its design, but later, at an uncertain date, was converted into a madrassa.
Nadir Divan-Beg Khanaka (c.1620)
Another view of the Nadir Divan-Beg Khanaka
Side view of the Nadir Divan-Beg Khanaka. The building is now undergoing restoration.
Front of the Nadir Divan-Beg Khanaka
One reason I went to Bukhara when I did was to witness the spectacular conjunction of Venus and Jupiter in the western sky around the middle of March. I really wanted to see these two planets pop out in close proximity over Bukhara as night fell. I was not disappointed! For five nights in a row I went out to witness this magnificent spectacle. The same sight appeared over Kashgar in the year 1215. 
 Venus (the bigger of the two) and Jupiter just visible above Divan Beg Khanaka on the night of the 13th. (Click on photos for Enlargements)
To the east of the reservoir is the Nadir Divan Beg Madrassa, originally constructed as a caravanserai but late converted into a madrassa. 
Nadir Divan Beg Madrassa
Front of Nadir Divan Beg Madrassa
Front of Nadir Divan Beg Madrassa
Interior of the madrassa
Detail of the interior of the madrassa
In front of the madrassa is a statue of the famous trickster Khodja Nasreddin. He is the The Subject Of Innumerable Books and Stories. One of the best is The Tale of Hodja Nasreddin: Disturber of the Peace, which takes place in Bukhara. The donkey plays a key role in the story also. 
Khodja Nasreddin

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mongolia | Gov-Altai Aimag | Gobi Bears | Mazaalai

According to Recent Findings there are now only twenty-two Gobi Bears—or Mazaalai as they are called in Mongolian—left in the world. This is down from a reported thirty-three a few years ago. This must make them one of the rarest species in the world. I have had my own run-ins with Mazaalai over the yearsThe first time I visited Shar Khuls Oasis on the border between Gov-Altai and Bayankhongor aimags we could not camp in the oasis itself because our camels refused to stay there—way too much fresh bear scat around. We had to camp a few hundred yards out in the desert. 

A couple years later I returned to Shar Khuls Oasis while on my way the Hideout of the Notorious Ja Lama. A few miles south of Shar Khuls we were actually Charged By A Gobi Bear. Thus my companions and I are probably some of the few people to see one of these bears close-up in a natural setting (most researchers see them from blinds). I was too busy getting my camel out of the way of the charging bear to take a photo, but I did get a photo of its tracks. 
 Mazaalai tracks (click on photos for enlargements)
Our party regrouping after bear incident. The camel guys, who were born and raised in the Gobi, said they had never before had an encounter like this with a bear. 
Uyanga, Camp Boss on the trip, which lasted fourteen days and covered 308 miles by camel, said of the bear encounter, “This is a story I am going to tell my grandchildren.”
Happy Campers after Bear Scare

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Chingis Khan Rides West | March from Bukhara to Sarmarkand

By the beginning of March Chingis Khan was ready to march on Samarkand. The two Jewels of Mawarannahr, Bukhara and Samarkand, were linked by the so-called Royal Road, an ancient thoroughfare following roughly the course of the Zarafshan River. Samarkand is 135 miles east of Bukhara as the crow flies, but upstream from Bukhara the Zarafshan River loops to the north before continuing on east, and the distance between the two cites via the Royal Road, which roughly follows the river, was between thirty-seven and thirty-nine farsakhs (148 to 156 miles)
Zarafshan Valley from Bukhara to Samarkand (see Enlargement
This was a journey was six or seven stages, or days, by camel. Accompanied by the huge flock of levies who had been dragooned in Bukhara for the anticipated siege of Samarkand, the Mongol army proceed north on the Royal Road, probably passing once again through the towns of Shargh, Iskijkath, and Vabkent and finally reaching the edge of the Bukhara Oasis at Tawais . . . Continued.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Uzbekistan | Bukhara | Abdulaziz Madrassa

Abdulaziz Khan (r. 1645–1681), belonged to the Janid, or Ashtarkanid, dynasty which traced its line back to Tuqay Timur, the thirteenth son of Jochi, Chingis Khan’s oldest son. Abdulaziz was said to be the most corpulent man in Bukhara, if not the entire khanate. Reportedly a four-old child could fit in the top of one of his boots. According to one account:
A poet was daring enough to make this corpulence the butt of his wit. Abdulaziz heard of it, and sent for the satirist, who appeared before him trembling for his life. The prince addressed him in the following terms: “Oh Mullah, I am told that you have have composed a poem in ridicule of me; do not do the like to others or you may have reason to repent such conduct.” With that he presented him [the poet] with ten thousand dinars, and a robe of honor. The poet replied, ”Lord, better if you had me hewn into ten thousand pieces, than thus disgrace me with such magnanimity.”  
Indeed, the abashed poet left Bokhara and emigrated to India.

Abdulaziz himself wrote poetry of some import and composed hymns which gained considerable renown. Scholars had free access to him and he became the patrons of numerous calligraphers, one of which spent seven years at Abdulaziz’s expense making a copy of the works of the famous Persian Poet Hafiz. A supporter of the the Naqshbanidi Sect Of Sufis, whose namesake lived and was Buried Near Bukhara at what is now one the area’s most famous pilgrimage sites, he was famous for his devotion and piety. One commentator noted:
Daring in battle, calm in danger, Abdulaziz was often inaccessible for days to the impressions of the outer world. This was attributed by many to his practice of continued meditation; for the princes of Bukhara, who took part in bloody battles, and strove with their fathers and brothers for objects of worldly ambition, were obliged, by way of propitiating popular favor, to spend hours in the society of holy men, meditating on the greatness of God, and reflecting that all earthly activity is but mere trifling.
Abdulaziz built numerous mosques and madrassas, of which apparently the only remaining one is the Abdulaziz Madrassa, just east of Trade Dome #3

Abdulaziz Madrassa (Enlargement)
Front of Abdulaziz Madrassa (Enlargement)
Front of Abdulaziz Madrassa
More detail of front of Abdulaziz Madrassa 
More detail of front of Abdulaziz Madrassa (Enlargement)
One the hallways just inside the entrance to the madrassa
According to legend the visage of one of the Mongol rulers of Bukhara in the decades after Chingis Khan’s Invasion can be seen in the design just under the arch. When I was there I saw it right away. It seemed quiet obvious, but it is very hard to pick out in this photo or any other of the photos I took.
Looking straight up toward one of the cupolas near the front of the madrassa
Detail of the dome of the cupola (Enlargement)
Entrance to a meditation chamber at the rear of the madrassa. Sufis traditionally did 40-day solitary retreats on this chamber. 
Interior of the meditation chamber. Interesting to speculate that Abdulaziz himself meditated in this room. 
Soviet-era carpet for sale in the courtyard of the Madrassa. Enlargement
The Madrassa at night (Enlargement especially for a mes)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Uzbekistan | Bukhara | Trade Dome #3 | Dish Girls

From the Abdullah Khan Tim I proceeded 286 feet north to the entrance of the Tok-i-Zagaron (Jewelers’ Bazaar), or Trade Dome #3. Most sources say that this trade dome was built in the 1570s, at the same time as Trade Dome #1 and Trade Dome #2 (See Map of Trade Dome Locations). Based on the construction techniques used in the building, however, some observers say that it may date back to the Timurid Era in the 1400s. This dome once specialized in gold, silver, coral, and other kinds of jewelry. Now it sells the usual assortment of wool, cotton, and silk goods, copper utensils, and spices. A shop on the street just outside the eastern entrance to the dome sells high-quality hand-made knives, both stainless steel for display and black steel for use. 
Trade Dome #3
Another view of Trade Dome #3
Trade Dome #3 with the turquoise domes of Mir-i-Arab Madrassa in the background (Enlargement for a mes)
Western entrance to Trade Dome #3 at night (Enlargement for a mes)
Interior of Trade Dome #3 at night, when the shops are closed
There are also several small shops in the trade dome which open out into the street. This one is run by a husband and wife pair: she designs and makes silk and cotton goods, including dresses, night gowns, and coats; her husband does the selling. 
Woman with silk coat she designed and made, and her husband (Enlargement for a mes) The husband ended up being my unofficial and unpaid guide to the city. Many afternoons he would lock his shop and we would stroll around the city for two or three hours.
Silk Coat (Enlargement for a mes)
Detail of Silk Coat (Enlargement for a mes)
Coats and silk night gowns. The woman told me that biggest buyers of the silk night gowns are Arabs from the Gulf States who come to Bukhara in the summertime.
Another view of Trade Dome #3 at night 
From Trade Dome #3 I proceeded 280 feet west to the hangout of the Dish Girls. These are five or six young women who sell ceramics in the street. As I was the only Occidental tourist in town at the time I got a lot of attention from these charming young ladies. My first day in town I made the mistake of telling them my name. For days afterward I would no sooner walk out of Trade Dome #3 280 feet away than they would start jumping up and down and baying at the tops of their lungs, “Don! Don! Don! Come here Don! Don’t forget us Don!!!” Although I was not in the market for ceramics, I would sometimes stop for a chat. They were bored and cold (it was snowing a couple of days), and were eager for any distractions. I noticed that the ringleader of the gang had a new iPhone and commented that she must be making a lot of money selling dishes. “Her boyfriend bought it for her,” shouted one of the other girls. “Your boyfriend must really like you,” I offered. “He’s crazy about her!” shouted another one of the girls. The iPhone owner just smiled demurely. All of these young women spoke very good English; some also spoke French and Japanese, in addition to the local languages of Uzbek, Dari, and Russian. The ringleader said she had never studied English in school but had learned the language from homestudy of a few phrasebooks and tapes and by chatting up tourists like myself. They had a strict hierarchy as far as sales were concerned. If I bought anything I had to buy from the ring-leader first, and then on down the line to the low girl on the totem pole, who appeared to be no more than sixteen years old. I kept telling them I would buy something the next day, but then absconded from town without buying anything. They will probably be lying in wait for me the next time I return to Bukhara. 
One of the Dish Girls

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mongolia | Arkhangai | Zaya Pandita | Clear Mirror

Just finished the final pre-press work on yet another book: this one the famous Clear Mirror by the Khalkh Zaya Pandita (1642–1715). Once again G. Nyam-Ochir was the instigator of this project. The transliteration of the Clear Mirror, which has never appeared before in Cyrillic Mongolian, was done by his colleague P. Nyam-Ochir (no relation). This is quite a sizable work. This book, which contains only the first five parts of the eleven-part Clear Mirror, runs to over 600 pages. 
G. Nyam-Ochir
Here is the cover:
For those of you who read Mongolian here is the First 100 Pages Of The Clear Mirror.

Nyam-Ochir asked me to write a short Foreword to the Clear Mirror (in English). I had already written about Zayain Khüree, the home monastery of the Zaya Pandita, for Guide To Locales Connected with the Life of Zanabazar, The First Bogd Gegeen of Mongolia, so I had some information. Just as I was about to prepare the Foreword, however, I happened to met up with Dr. Krizstina Teleki of the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary. She and her colleague Zsuzsa Majer (Ph.D.) are preparing a book about Zayain Khüree and they were able to provide  a lot more information about the monastery and the Zaya Pandita. So they deserve a lot of credit for the Foreword. 

Here is the Foreword:

I first visited Zayain Khüree in 1999 when I was doing research for my book Guidebook to Locales Connected with the Life of Zanabazar, First Bogd Gegeen of Mongolia.” The monastery, located in Arkhangai Aimag, on the northern edge of the town of Tsetserleg, 257 miles west of Ulaanbaatar, at one point had about twenty-five temples. All but five had been destroyed and three of the remaining buildings had been turned into a museum. I knew that Luvsanperenlei (1642-1715), the Zaya Pandita, was a disciple of Zanabazar’s but other than that I knew ver y little about him. (Do not confuse the Khalkh Zaya Pandita, Luvsanperenlei, with another well-known figure, the Oirat Zaya Pandita Namkhaijamtso [1599–1662].) By this time at least one of the monaster y’s temples had been reactivated, and there were some thirty-five monks in attendance. From them I was able to get a rough outline of the histor y of Zayain Khüree and the life of the Khalkh Zaya Pandita, author of the Clear Mirror. Since then researchers have unearthed a mass of valuable historical material relating to these topics. Still, much of the information about Zayain Khüree and the Zaya Pandita is contradictory, confusing, and riddled with lacunae. The following synopsis of the available information is mine alone and should be viewed with caution.

Zayain Khüree lies directly to the south of a huge granite massif known as Erdene (Precious) Bulgan Uul, which rises to a height of 7903 feet, over 2200 feet higher than the valley of the nearby Tamir River. According to local tradition the massif has nine different parts, or peaks, each named after one of the Nine Precious Stones and Metals; gold, silver, bronze, pearl, coral, turquoise, brass, copper, and lapis lazuli. The southernmost part of the massif is known as Altan (gold) Bulgan Uul.

According to local legend, rich local herdsman named Dugar constructed a temple for a lama named Sandui at the base of Altan Bulgan Uul in 1631, four years before the birth of Zanabazar. Sandui had studied in the monasteries of Tibet and was renowned for his intelligence and master y of various magical practices. Some written sources indicate, however, that the temple was founded by Danzan Toin, the second son of a local nobleman, Tümenkhen Sain Noyon, and named Sandui Dugan. The dugan, or temple, may have been named after a lama named Sandui, but the written record is unclear on this point. In either case, this temple was the foundation of what would eventually become Zayain Khüree, the home monaster y of Luvsanperenlei, the Zaya Pandita.

Luvsanperenlei was born in 1642, the Water Male Horse Year of the 11th Rabjung according to the Tibetan Calendar, at a place called Mukhar Khujirt in what is now Arkhangai Aimag. According to local legend, he was the son of an extremely poor herdsman. Some written accounts give the name of his parents as Suntar (or Suntor) and Orkhidai and note that he was the second of five children. Other historical accounts, however, maintain that he was the son of Tsesjav Khöndlön, himself the son of the nobleman Tümenkhen Sain Noyon mentioned above. If this is the case he would have been, according to the written sources, a member of the so-called Altan Urag (Golden Clan) of Chinggis Khan himself. 

Whatever his origins, it was soon apparent that he was an extremely gifted child. According to legend, local lamas recognised him at the age of three as a khuvilgaan, or reincarnation, although it would be many years before he would be recognized as the Zaya Pandita. According to written sources, at the age of three he also received his preliminar y ordinations from a lama known as Lodoijamts Khutagt who had studied in Tibet. By the age of five Luvsanperenlei was learning to read and write Tibetan and Mongolian and was also tr ying his hand at poetr y, painting, and sculpture.

Local informants claim that Luvsanperenlei initially went to Tibet with Zanabazar on the latter’s first trip there in 1649. If so, he would have been only seven or eight at the time. This trip seems unlikely, and may have been later accreted to his legend by followers who wanted to burnish his reputation. Historical sources indicate that he first met Zanabazar in 1653 at Erdene Zuu Monastery, where the Bogd Gegeen was hosting a convocation of Mongolian nobility. At this time Zanabazar accepted the eleven-year old boy as his student.

In 1660, when he was eighteen years old, Luvsanperenlei finally did go to Tibet, where he would stay for the next nineteen years. He received his getsel (novice) ordination from the 5th Dalai Lama in Lhasa and later traveled to Tashilhunpo Monaster y in Shigatse where he met with the 4th Panchen Lama. In 1778 the Dalai Lama recognized him as an incarnation of the Zaya Pandita and instructed him to return to Mongolia and spread Buddhism in the North. He returned home in 1779.

According to tradition, the first Zaya Pandita (Sanskrit jaya = “victory”; pandita = “great scholar”) was a disciple of the Sakyamuni Buddha (c. 560-480 b.c.). Four more incarnations appeared in India and then three in Tibet. Some historical sources state that the first Zaya Pandita to appear in Mongolia was Sain Noyon Khöndlön Tsökhür (1558-1640). He was the son of Onokh Üizen Noyon, who claimed to be a 29th generation descendant of Chinggis Khan. Onokh Üizen Noyon was an important personage who oversaw religious affairs in the seven Khalkh banners. He made a pilgrimage to Tibet and met with both the Third Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama. His son would have been well-placed to assume the role of Zaya Pandita in Mongolia. However, Sain Noyon Khöndlön Tsökhür is not accepted as the First Zaya Pandita by ever yone. Perhaps the fact that he was not a monk disqualified him in the eyes of some. Other accounts of the lineage leave him out altogether and name Luvsanperenlei as the ninth Zaya Pandita in the lineage and the first Zaya Pandita in Mongolia.

Upon his return to Mongolia Luvsanperenlei, now the Zaya Pandita, was enthroned as the head of Zayain Khüree, which by that time had five temples and 200 monks in attendance. He oversaw the construction of more temples and introduced many of the practices he had learned at Tashilhunpo Monaster y in Tibet. Then in 1688 the Oirat chieftain Galdan Bolshigt invaded Khalkh Mongolia. The First Bogd Gegeen Zanabazar, other important lamas, and much of the Khalkh nobility along with many of their followers were forced to flee to Inner Mongolia. The record is unclear, but apparently the Zaya Pandita left his monaster y and accompanied this mass migration. We do know that the Zaya Pandita was with Zanabazar at Doloonnuur in Inner Mongolia in 1691, when the Bogd Gegeen met with the Qing emperor Kangxi, and that he took part in the discussions which led to the Khalkh Mongols accepting the suzerainty of the Qing Dynasty. Zanabazar eventually moved to Beijing, where he waited on the Qing Emperor Kangxi. The Zaya Pandita’s movements at this time are uncertain, but apparently he stayed at monasteries in Doloonnuur for the next several years.

After the defeat of the Oirat Mongols in 1696 the Khalkh Mongols who had fled to Inner Mongolia returned to their native land. According to one account the Zaya Pandita was back at Zayain Khüree by 1696. Soon after his arrival he started construction of the Güden Süm, which would become his personal residence. (Local monks insist that the Güden Süm was built in the early 1680s. If this is the case, the temple may be just been enlarged or remodeled in 1696). In 1699 the Zaya Pandita traveled to Khökhkhot (Hohhot) in Inner Mongolia and founded a temple known as Buyaniig Iltgegch. He soon returned and resumed his role as leader of Zayain Khüree, a position he held until his death in 1715. His mummified remains, sitting in the Lotus position, were entombed in a stupa which can still be seen in the Güden Süm.

Zaya Pandita was a prolific writer. At the age of seventeen he composed a book called Bogdiin Zalbiral (Prayer of the Bogd) and he wrote another book while in Tibet. He went on to write numerous other works, including incense- offering texts and prayers to the local deities of several prominent mountains, including Otgontenger in present day Zavkhan Aimag. Perhaps his most famous work was the Clear Mirror. He reportedly began the Clear Mirror in 1682 while living at Zayain Khüree. He continued to work on it during his exile in Doloonnuur and didn’t finish it until 1702, after he had returned to Zayain Khüree. He originally wrote it in Tibetan, but during his lifetime his student Vro Rabjamba Gungaajamts, translated it into Mongolian and transcribed it using Mongolian vertical script. (See Sample Pages of the Original Manuscript) The current version of the Clear Mirror presented here in Cyrillic is a transliteration of the Mongolian vertical script version. The transliterator, P. Nyam-Ochir, has also examined the Tibetan language version. He notes that the Zaya Pandita worked with Vro Rabjamba Gungaajamts on the translation and that the Mongolian text contains addenda and elaborations to the Tibetan version which he believes were added by the Zaya Pandita himself. The Mongolian version is in eleven parts. The first five parts appear here. Hopefully the latter six parts will appear in due course. 

I first heard about Zaya Pandita’s Clear Mirror when I visited Zayain Khüree in 1999. One monk there said it was the Zaya Pandita’s greatest written work and one of the great works of Mongolian Buddhism. I asked if it had been translated into English. The monk laughed and said that not even a Cyrillic Mongolian version existed, making it difficult if not impossible for most Mongolians to read Zaya Pandita’s magnum opus. When G. Nyam-Ochir, a colleague of P. Nyam-Ochir’s, approached me about publishing the first five parts of the Clear Mirror in modern Mongolian I was only too happy to rectify this situation. I must thank G. Nyam-Ochir and P. Nyam-Ochir for giving me this opportunity to honor the memory of the First (or second) Khalkh Zaya Pandita by publishing his Clear Mirror
The front of the Monastery with Altan Bulgan Uul behind 
The front of the Monastery with Altan Bulgan Uul behind 
Güden Süm 
Another view of Güden Süm 
Another view of Güden Süm
Another view of Güden Süm with Altan Bulgan Uul behind
Winter Semchin Temple, directly in front of the Güden Süm
A portrait of the first Zaya Pandita painted in 1995 but said to be based on an original done in 1680
Clothes of the first Zaya Pandita
The stupa containing the sharil, or mummified body, of the first Zaya Pandita
Musical instruments from the time of the first Zaya Pandita
Togs Bayasgalant Buyaniig Delgeruulekh Khid, one of the temples now active
Unrestored ruins of temple
New stupa just to the west of the main part of the monastery
Galdan Zuu Temple of the hill behind the monastery
Wall painting in the Galdan Zuu Temple
Dalai Lama Spring
Just under half a mile to the northeast of the main museum and temple complex, along the bank of a small stream, is the so-called Dalai Lama Spring. Local monks insist rather adamantly that the Fourth Dalai Lama visited this small spring and lived for awhile in a ger set up next to it. The Fourth Dalai Lama, great-grandson of Altan Khan, was the only Mongolian Dalai Lama, but he was born and spent his early childhood in what is probably now Qinghai Province of China. After he was recognized as the Dalai Lama he went to Lhasa to study and apparently he spent the rest of his life in Tibet. He died in 1617, at the age of twenty-eight. There is no record of him coming to Mongolia, and since no temples existed at Tsetserleg before 1631 there would have been little reason for him to come to this area. The informants may have somehow confused the Fourth Dalai Lama with the Thirteenth Dalai Lama, who did in fact spend some time in the Zayain Khüree area while in exile from Tibet following the 1904 Younghusband Invasion. In any case, this spring does seem to be connected with the Dalai Lamas, since the 14th and current Dalai Lama, when he visited Mongolia in 1995, came to Tsetserleg and made a point of visiting this spring, or so claim the local monks.
The sixth Zaya Pandita and wife
Arkhangai Aimag, and particularly its monasteries, were reportedly a hotbed of anti-revolutionary fervor, and Zayain Khüree soon attracted the attention of the communist government. The Sixth Zaya Pandita was murdered by the communists in 1932 and eventually most of monastery, with the exception of the Guden Temple, the Semchin Temples, and some other small temples were leveled. The Guden Temple at one point served as a fire station but it was later converted into a small museum.

The seventh Zaya Pandita currently lives in Ulaanbaatar.