Khugnu Khaan National Park & Uvgun Monastery Ruin

Khugnu Tarna National Park (Khugnu Khaan Mountain and Tarnii River) is located at 250 kilometres (155 miles) from Ulaanbaatar, on the road to Kharkhorin. Covering an area of 47000 hectares, this park contains many historical monuments, forests of silver birches and poplar trees, and sources. The ecosystem of this park is particularly interesting because the steppe and the taiga together exist here.


We can find a fauna and a flora that are characteristic of these two ecosystems, and also some wonderful landscapes, with the granite formations of Khugnu Khaan Mountain. Created in 1997 as a natural reserve, it became in 2003 a National Park, that is to say an area protected by the State for its educative, historical, cultural or environmental value.

The sacred mountain of Khugnu Khaan is a venerated mountain located along the edge of the borders of Uvurkhangai, Bulgan and Tuv provinces.

Venerating the mountains is a tradition that comes from prehistoric times. Today, the mountains are venerated during national or local ceremonies. Anyone visiting a sacred mountain must bring something as an offering and will probably make a wish for the attention of the Spirit of the Mountain. We can’t climb a sacred mountain without any precise and important aim.

The 17th century monastery ruin of Uvgun Monastery in located in the middle of the mountain, where we have to hike almost two hours. 


On the base of the Mount Khugnu Khaan, there are ruins of temples.  These temples are as well-known among the history of Mongolian Buddhist Monasteries and Monks as a name Erdenekhamba Khiid. The Mount Khugnu Khan is a magnificent mountain area in Mongolia, illustrating a unique and beautiful natural scenery encompassing a mixture of mountainous and fertile pastures, plain steppe and Gobi desert, where located ancient mythical and greatly significant two monasteries and ancient crave mound.

Initially in year 842 an atheist, named Landram, became the Khan of Tibet and started to destroy monasteries and massively murdered monks throughout the region. According to the ancient legend, a monk called Lhalambaldorj, who was worshiping in mountains managed to escape from the massacre using his own wisdom and special ways and then he came to and settled in a meditating monastery located in Khugnu Khan Mountain.

 In 1612 a Mongolian monk, Erdenetsorj, had built an additional main temple which was 10 meter high and resembling the structure of the 64-room Yamanda monastery, which resulted the creation of meditation monastery with 13 temples, deifying the red deity known as Jamsran Buddha in current Uvgun monastery. But 1688 during the Khalkha and Oirad (majority and western Mongols) war, the monastery was completely destroyed and all the monks were killed. In 1700 the monastery was relocated in a different place with 4 sanctuaries and 3 temples with 200 monks. In 1937, because of communist regime, the monastery was destroyed again and about 20 high ranking monks were executed. Fortunately, today there are two small temples and the "Five Khan" monastery walls on the mountain remain undestroyed.

Today there are only the ruins. Erdene Khamba Monastery had two sections: the lower one called the Zaluu Khiid, and the upper one called the Uvgun Khiid. The Erdene Khamba Monastery was destroyed during Middle Age feuds between Western and Eastern Mongolians (Dzungaria and Khalkh Mongolia) after the collapse of the Mongol Empire. The armies of Dzungarian leader Galdan Boshigt noticed the golden roofs of the temples in the Mountain and massacred the partisan-monks of the rival Zanabazar in 1640, killing them by tying their necks with a rope (the Mongolian verb for the action is khugnokh) as if they were goats and sheep. The name of the Mountain given after the huge killing.