Mongolian High Saint and first Bogd Zanabazar was smitten by the beautiful and unique nature of this place in 1648 when he was 14 years old. In 1651, he built a stone-walled small house to practice meditation and named it Dubkhan or House for Creation. Through time this word became Tuvkhun.
Tuvkhun Monastery is located on the rocky mountain Shiree Ulaan in Khangai Mountain Range. The monastery is 80 km from Kharkhorin. And it can only be reached by foot or horse, due to the isolation. Shiree Ulaan mountain sits at 2600m above sea level. It takes around 2 hours of hiking through the dense forest to Tuvkhun Monastery.
While Saint Zanabazar was residing there, he created the Soyombo script in 1686 and many of his artistic works. Nowadays, visitors can see his passion for creating art by visiting the Tuvkhun Monastery.
In the northwest of the monastery, there is a cave that was used for working on his art. And the cave located in the east was used as a library. On the northwest part of the rocky mountain, you can find a footprint (38cm) of the Bogdan Zanabazar.
There is a ovoo, a sacred cairn, on the north from the temples which offers spectacular view of Khangai Mountain range. But, keep in mind that women are not allowed to go by the ovoo for religious reasons.
Destruction of Tuvkhun monaster
Tuvkhun Monastery was destroyed twice in history and taken under the protection of the state since 1992. In 2001, four temples, two stupas, and the front gate were restored to its first appearance. Now the monastery includes 14 temples such as Spiritual Practice Temple, Ochirdari, Gombogur Gods Temple, Creation Temple, Forever Flaming Butter Lamp Temple, two stupas and Tibetan Prayer Wheels.
If you decide to visit Tuvkhun monastery, be prepared for hiking. Or you can rent a horse from local people and wrangler will accompany you. Weather can often be rainy during the summer.