Ulan Bator: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the first Indian prime minister to visit Mongolia, on Sunday visited the ancient Gandan Monastery in the Mongolian capital and also presented a sapling of the revered Bodhi tree to the chief abbot of the Buddhist temple.
Modi also lighted incense at the monastery, also known as the Gandantegchinlen Monastery.
He was accorded a ceremonial welcome by the chief abbot, Hamba Lama, who gifted him a blue silken scarf and a token.
Modi met 150 monks at the monastery and also saw the Buddhist relics at the museum.
He took a round of the monastery. He also went to the Janraisag Monastery, inside the Gandan monastery complex. The Janraisag monastery houses a 26-metre tall statue of Janraisag Buddha.
The Gandantegchinlen Monastery was established in 1835 by the Fifth Jebtsundamba, the highest reincarnated lama of Mongolia.
The monastery has three colleges of Buddhist philosophy: a medical and astrological college, a Kalachakra temple, a Jud Tantric College and an the Migjid Janraisig temple which houses the Avalokiteshvara statue.
Most Buddhist monasteries in Mongolia were destroyed during the communist regime, which lasted until 1990. The only one to survive was the Gandan Monastery.