The Buddhist Temple Complex that was formerly known as Tsongolsky Temple Complex was founded in 1738, according to some sources, and to others, in 1741. Whatever it was, the historians unanimously call the Murochinsky Temple Complex the oldest Buddhist sanctuary in the western Trans-Baikal region.
At first it was a yurt made of felt, and in 1758 a wooden Tsongolsky Temple Complex was built in its place - the temple complex which included six small temples (Sume) and the main temple Tsokuli-dugan. Their construction involved both the Buryat masters in the art of religious painting and the Russian craftsmen.
The temple acquired another four Sume temples in early 1800s. A monastery settlement where llamas were preparing their students (khuvaraks) to become priests rose around the complex. It has a library with a large archive of Buddhist works.
By the beginning of XIX century the number of small temples on the territory of the complex reached 11, a system of water supply with wooden pipes was laid.
The temple was destroyed in 1830, its restoration began in the 1990s and is still underway. The main temple is currently fully restored, inside the temple there is a stupa (a Buddhist burial structure), three small dugan temples are open to the public. A curative spring (Arshan) and the dugan (the temple) of Aryabala where services are held are located not far from the religious complex.
The temple complex is located in the holy area of Ranzhur near the eponymous rock where the mantra text was discovered more than 200 years ago. It is believed that Buddha himself gave this prayer to the believers; the second place of this kind is located in Nepal. Every day Buddhist monks perform meditation sessions here. The Mountain of Ranzhur is a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists from all over the world. The year of establishment of the Murochinsky Temple Complex is considered the year of the emergence of Tibetan Buddhism in Buryatia. The 250th anniversary of Buddhism in Buryatia was solemnly celebrated in 1991.
When you visit the temple complex, it is recommended to observe several simple rules. You should enter the territory of the complex through the left gate wing and then move through the complex from left to right – following the movement of the sun. When inside the temple, don’t turn your back to the statue of Buddha or the stupa which is usually located in the centre of the building.
Author: Anna Dorozhkina