Ivolginsky Datsan

Image of Ivolginsky Datsan

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Location: 23 km (14 mi) South-west from Ulan Ude along highway A165, Buryatia   Map

Open: daily

Admission: free (25 rubles- $0.80 for camera)

Official site


Description of Ivolginsky Datsan

Ivolginsky Datsan is a Buddhist Temple opened in 1945 in the region of Buryatia, 23 km from Ulan Ude. Interestingly enough it was constructed during Soviet anti- religious campaign. Ivolginsky Datsan is one of the best known and most visited datsan in Buryatia (center of the Russian Buddhism) as well as Asia. The site of Ivolginsky Datsan is located close to Verkhnyaya Ivolga (Верхняя Иволга) village. The name of destination comes from a name for a bird "ivolga" or Golden Oriole and "datsan" a term used to describe monasteries that often contains an university. Buddhist university "Gandan Dashi Choinkhorlina" (Tibetan for "monastery Wheel Teachings, bringing joy and perfect hapiness") was opened in 1991 on the grounds of Ivolginsky Datsan.



The Buddhist tradition in the USSR was completely destroyed in the 1930s. At the end of the Great Patriotic War, temples, churches, mosques, and datsans began to open in the country. The Decree of the Council of People's Commissars of the Buryat-Mongolian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic dated May 2, 1945 No. 186-zh “On the opening of the Buddhist temple“ Khambinskoye Sume ”in the Srednyaya Ivolga ulus” allowed the construction of a new datsan. The Buddhist community began collecting money and religious utensils. With the funds raised in the Ivolginskaya Valley in the area of Oshor-Bulag, a wooden house was built, which was given the appearance of a dugan. According to legend, the place of the temple was indicated by a white horse, which itself came to this place.

Believers, having learned about the opening of the temple, began to take an active part in the construction work.

On December 12, 1945, the first open service "Sahyusan Khural" was held, led by gebshi Galsan Haidub. In February 1946, New Year's services - "Sagaalganai Khural" - were held in compliance with all religious and ritual canons. The first Tsogchen-dugan was erected in 1948, with the construction of the second Tsogchen, it became the Choira-dugan of the Faculty of Philosophy.

In 1951, the authorities officially allocated land for the monastery complex. Residential houses for lamas, household and service buildings were built. Most of the datsan temples were built in the 1970s. In 1970, the second eight-walled Tsogchen-dugan was built, with the construction of the third (modern) cathedral temple in 1976, transformed into Devazhin Sume.

In 1991, the Buddhist University “Dashi Choynhorlin named after A.I. Darzha Zayaev Dam.

In the fall of 2002, the Ivolginsky datsan acquired the imperishable body of Khambo Lama Itigelov. In January 2003, a decision was made to build a temple-palace to store the sacred relic. The temple was built according to the design of the unpreserved Devazhin-dugan of the Yangazhinsky datsan, designed and built by Itigelov himself back in 1906. On October 31, 2008, the consecration ceremony of the Blessed Palace of Khambo Lama Itigelov was held. The imperishable body of the Teacher was solemnly conveyed to the temple.

Currently, khural services are held in the datsan dedicated to the most important events of Buddhist history, daily rituals in honor of the protectors and keepers of the teachings - Sahyusans and other rites that help and protect believers from various negative forces.

Image of Dasha-Dorzho Itigilov   Image of Dasha-Dorzho Itigilov

Dasha-Dorzho Itigilov


Temples-dugans of datsan

The monastery complex includes:
Tsogchen-dugan - the main cathedral temple (built in November 1976);
Choira-dugan - the temple of the Faculty of Philosophy Choira - the first Tsogchen-dugan (built in 1947-1948);
Devazhin-sume - the Pure Country of Buddha Amitabha - the second Tsogchen-dugan, an eight-walled adobe two-story building (built in 1970);
Temple - the palace of Khambo Lama Itigelov - the place of storage of the sacred relic - the imperishable body of the great Teacher;
Dugan of the Green Tara (bur. Nogoon Dara Ekhyn sume) is a temple dedicated to the female bodhisattva Green Tara;
Zhud-dugan - tantric temple;
Maanin-dugan - the temple[4] of the bodhisattva of compassion Avalokiteshvara (Aryaa-Baala);
Gunrik-dugan - the temple of the Buddha Vairochana;
Maidarin-sume - a small wooden temple of Maitreya Buddha (built in the 1970s);
Sahyusan-sume - a square-shaped wooden dugan dedicated to the dharmapalas - the defenders of the Teaching (built in 1986);
Greenhouse for the sacred Bodhi tree.
In addition, on the territory of the monastery there is the residence of the Khambo Lama, the library building, the educational buildings of the Buddhist University "Dashi Choynhorlin", a summer hotel, a museum of Buddhist art monuments, sacred stupas-suburgans, various office premises and houses of lamas, an aviary for roe deer.

At the datsan there is a visitor-information center where you can find out information about the schedule of khurals, accommodation in guest houses and other information. At the left entrance on the territory of the datsan there are souvenir rows where you can find various Buddhist attributes.

Behind the fence of the monastery on the south side there is a small stadium where competitions in traditional Buryat sports are held - wrestling, archery. To the east of the datsan there is a hippodrome.


Buddhist University

Buddhist University "Dashi Choynhorlin" began work in 1991, having received a license of a higher educational institution. The university is a non-state institution of higher religious education. In 2003, it was renamed in honor of the first Pandito Khambo Lama to the Buddhist University "Dashi Choynhorlin named after. Darzha Zayaev Dam. Currently, more than 200 huvarak students are studying at four faculties: philosophical, tantric, iconographic and medical.


Museum of the History of Ivolginsky Datsan

On September 17, 2019, the museum of the history of the center of traditional Russian Buddhism was solemnly opened in the building of the Buddhist University in Ivolginsky Datsan. The appearance of the museum became possible thanks to funds received from the Presidential Grants Fund for the joint project with the National Museum of Buryatia "Preservation of the historical monument Ivolginsky datsan" Khambyn Khuree ". The museum presents unique historical exhibits that were previously inaccessible due to the lack of specially equipped premises.



5 km south of the monastery is the federal highway A340 Ulan-Ude - Kyakhta. From Ulan-Ude there is a bus with a transfer in the village of Ivolginsk.