Baikal Irkutsk Trans Siberian

Ivolginsky Datsan 

Most Buryats (local Siberian nationality) living on the eastern side of Lake Baikal practice Buddhism as their main religion. One of the main Buddhist temples is located in about 30 km from Ulan-Ude. It is called Ivolginsky Datsan or rather Ivolginsky Buddhism monastery complex since it comprises several religious buildings. There is the main temple that dates back to 1976, two smaller wooden temples, one of a square form, a greenhouse with a sacred Bodhi tree, a palace with incorruptible relics of Dashi-Dorzho Itigelov, lama of the yearly XX-th century. There is also a library, a small hotel, a museum of Buddhistic art memorials, stupas (mound-like structures containing Buddhist relics), service rooms and lama houses on the territory of the datsan.

Institute of Buddhism established in 1991 is also found nearby. About 100 students who came to the decision to become lamas study at four different departments of philosophy, tantric Buddhism, iconography and medicine.

Ivolginsky datsan was the first Buddhism temple opened shortly after the World War II. Religion, no matter if it was Christianity or Buddhism, had not been welcomed during the Soviet era: churches and temples were closed, most of the religious buildings were destroyed, churchmen were persecuted, and believers were derogated from their religious rights. Nowadays, the situation changes, though it takes some time to bring people back to religion.

Irrespective of all the varieties of fortune, Ivolginsky datsan remains the main Buddhism center of Russia where thousands of pilgrims and common tourists are drawn to see the religious shrine. Local monks give advice, cure worshipers with the help of Tibetan medicine and compose astrological prognoses.

The immortal body of once alive lama kept in a special sarcophagus also contributes to the fame of the datsan. As they say, lama Itigelov was a miracle-worker and since 1927 he is in the state of deep meditation. Those who wish can see his untouched body at one of nine special days of a year.

Ivolginsky Datsan can be accessed by scheduled buses coming daily from Ulan-Ude. Visitors also have an opportunity to find a hotel or a homestay in the immediate vicinity of the temple. While in Ulan-Ude, we bring our guests to Ivolginsky Datsan during a daytime fully-guided excursion tour.

Ivolginsky Datsan

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