Datsans and temples of Ulan-Ude

Ulan-Ude is a city of many nationalities and religions. You can find a datsan and an Orthodox church literally on the same street. People of all religions coexist peacefully and respect each other’s faith. We invite you to join us on a trip to the datsans and temples of the capital of Buryatia.

Rinpoche Bagsha Datsan is visible from almost all viewing points of the city. Local residents call it Datsan on Bald Mountain due to its location. Translated from Tibetan, "Rinpoche" means "precious", and "Bagsha" in Buryat means "Teacher". It is named after its founder, Yeshe Loda Rinpoche. This datsan was built in 2004 and became a place of pilgrimage for believers from all over Russia, along with its "older brother" — Ivolginsky Datsan. The datsan houses the largest statue of the Golden Buddha in Russia, and the Bell of the Four Seals is considered the largest Buddhist bell in the country. The viewing deck offers stunning views of Ulan-Ude and the Selenga River, while you can see a monument to buuz in front of the temple— a national Buryat dish of meat wrapped in dough and steamed. A walking trail runs around the complex — the road of long life, decorated with figures of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac calendar and teachings of Buddhism.

On Verkhnyaya Berezovka, not far from the Ethnographic Museum of the Peoples of Transbaikalia, there is another large Buddhist temple complex of Ulan-Ude — Khambyn Khure. The datsan was founded in 2014 by Pandito Khambo Lama Damba Ayusheev and became his second residence after the Ivolginsky datsan. There are several temples on the territory. Traditional Buddhist services are held at Tsogchen Dugan that is the main temple. In Duinhor datsan, the Kalachakra Temple, there is a faculty where monks study the art of creating a mandala. Divazhin Dugan is notable for the fact that more than 30 thousand people took part in its construction. Everyone could contribute by buying a brick and writing their name on it.

There is only one datsan in Russia where all the lamas are women, and it is located in Ulan-Ude. Zungon Darjaling is translated from Tibetan as "prosperous and noble monastery". The creation of the datsan began after the visit of the 14th Dalai Lama to Buryatia, who in 1992 advised to construct a women’s datsan to contribute to the friendship of the peoples living on the Buryat land. Lama astrologers, emchis (healers) and baryaashans (chiropractors) receive receptions here. The datsan doors are open to everyone of any gender and age.

Orthodox churches

The St. Odigitrievsky Cathedral is located in the very center of the city, on the bank of the Uda River. It became the first stone building in Ulan-Ude. A street was built from it — initially it was called Bolshaya, and now it is called Lenin Street. The cathedral is considered a Siberian Baroque architectural monument. Its construction began in 1741 and lasted for 44 years.

In the City Garden, among the spreading poplars, there is a monument of Russian architecture of the late XVIII century — the Holy Trinity Church. The church was originally located in the center of a large cemetery and until the 1930s only funeral services were held here. After all the temples in the city were closed, traditional sacred services began to be held here. In Soviet period, the purpose of churches changed. Thus, courses for construction personnel, and the Anti-Religious Museum, and later the Museum of Local Lore were located in the St. Odigitrievsky Cathedral. In the 40s, a film distribution warehouse was placed in the building of the Trinity Church, and the City Garden was laid out instead of a cemetery. For a long time, the Church of the Ascension was the only functioning church. It is located on the other bank of the Uda River, in the historical district called Zadinskaya Sloboda. Now all churches have been transferred to the Russian Orthodox Church and are open to the public.

Tengrian temple

Adherence to shamanism in Buryatia is as strong as to other religions. It is a common practice here to go to a shaman to find out the answer to a difficult question or to ask a higher power for help. Shamanism was once the main religion of the indigenous population, and shamans are still considered intermediaries between the worlds of the living and the dead. The first shamanic temple in Russia, Tengeriin Ordon, the Palace of Heaven, appeared in 2019, in Ulan-Ude, on the territory of the Tengeri Shaman Center. According to the traditions of nomadic peoples, the temple was built in the form of an octagonal yurt with a sky-colored dome. And this is no coincidence: tengeri is translated from Buryat as "sky, heavenly spirit" — it was the sky in traditional beliefs that was considered the highest representative of all the natural forces.

There are a Muslim mosque and a Catholic church in Ulan-Ude — the Sacred Heart Parish, which not only serve as a place for believers to pray, but also engage in educational activities, revive and study traditions. Until the 1930s, there was also a synagogue in the city. Now the educational building of the East Siberia State University of Technology and Management is located in the Jewish assembly house.