Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan

[jeng-gis kahn or, often, geng-]
Genghis Khan: see Jenghiz Khan.
The Mausoleum of Genghis Khan (成吉思汗陵) is located along a river in Kandehuo Enclosure, Xinjie Town, Ejen Khoruu Banner, Ordos Prefecture-Level City (formerly Yeke Juu league) (鄂尔多斯市伊金霍洛旗新街鎮甘德爾敖包), Inner Mongolia, People's Republic of China. The Mausoleum is not the real burial place of the Khan, which has never been discovered; it is a cenotaph, where the coffin contains no body, but only headdresses and accessories. It was built between 1954 to 1956 by the government of the PRC in the traditional Mongol style. The mausoleum is 115 kilometers (62 miles) north of Yulin, and 55 kilometers (30 miles) south of Dongsheng. There is a new interchange on highway 210 leading directly to the site.


After Genghis Khan died around Gansu, his coffin was carried to central Mongolia. According to his will, he was buried without any markings. The burial place still remains a mystery.

Instead of the real tomb, portable mausoleums called naiman tsagaan ger (найман цагаан гэр; eight white yurts) enshrined him. They were originally palaces where Genghis Khan lived, but were altered to mausoleums by Ögedei Khan. They settled at the base of the Khentii Mountains. The site, located in Delgerkhaan Sum, Khantii Aimag, Mongolia, is called the Avraga site.

Those who served to the mausoleums were called the Darkhad. Their leader chosen from the Borjigin clan was called Jinong since first Jinong Kamala was appointed as the King of Jin. They lived on the Kherlen River but later moved to Ordos. The name of Ordos was derived from a plural form of the word ordon (palace), which sometimes replaces the ger (yurt) in the designation of the portable mausoleums.

In the mausoleums, various ceremonies were conducted and pilgrims visited. Coronation ceremonies of Mongol Khans were also held there.

The mausoleums were protected by the Manchu Qing Empire, but the chaos of the Warlord era, World War II, and the Chinese Civil War that followed the fall of the Qing Dynasty brought disruption to the Ordus. The influx of Han Chinese immigrants and the agarian lifestyle destroyed the pastoral economy of the Ordus. During and after World War II the mausoleum was moved away from the front and came to stay for several years in Gansu and Qinghai.

The mausoleums were singled out as the symbol of the Mongol nation by some Mongol nationalists. The Buryat Mongolian scholar Jamtsarano recommended the Darkhad to move to Northern Mongolia around 1910. In 1949 Prince Demchugdongrub, founder of Mengjiang, met the mausoleums in Bayankhota of Alashan. This symbolic event deeply impressed the prince and his subjects.

The new mausoleum was constructed by the government of Inner Mongolia from 1954 to 1956, despite Ordos opposition. The government abolished the traditional portable mausoleums and moved their historic relics to the new mausoleum. It also dismissed 500 family Darkhad so that only seven or eight Darkhad served the mausoleum. During the Cultural Revolution, Red Guards destroyed the mausoleum together with countless other cultural sites all across China, and valuable treasures were lost. It was rebuilt later, but replicas had to be made for the treasures that were irretrievably lost.

The mausoleum was constructed and is maintained according to the ideology of Zhonghua minzu, according to which, the Mongols are considered part of the Chinese nation and Genghis Khan is considered to be a Chinese national hero. In contrast, the PRC represses Pan-Mongolism.

There are other non-portable mausoleums of Genghis Khan. In 1864 Prince Toghtakhutörü (To Vang) built a mausoleum in Setsen Khan Aimag with assistance from the Darkhad. The ambitious prince seems to have demonstrated his legitimacy by enshrining Chinggis Khan. As part of purge of Buddhism, it was destroyed in 1937.

There is another non-portable mausoleum of Genghis Khan in Ulan Hot. It was built by Colonel Kanagawa Kosaku of the Imperial Japanese Army in 1942 to arouse nationalistic sentiment among the Mongols. It was also destroyed by Red Guards in the Cultural Revolution, but was rebuilt later.


The Mausoleum is in a rectangular (15 × 30 km) cemetery. Within the mausoleum, which appears like three Mongolian yurts externally, there are four chambers and two halls:

  • Main Palace (正殿): 26-metre high; octagonal
  • Resting Palace (寢宮) or Inner Palace (後殿): 20-m high
    • 7 coffins:
      • Genghis Khan
      • 3 khan-consorts
      • Tolui (托雷), Genghis Khan's fourth son.
      • Tolui's wife
  • East Palace (東殿): 20-m high
  • West Palace (西殿): 23-m high
    • 9 banners of the 9 generals
  • East Hall (東廊): 20-m high
  • West Hall: 20-m high


The mausoleum is guarded by the Darkhad (達爾哈特), meaning "the privileged ones".

Mongols gather four times annually:

  1. March 21: most important
  2. May 15
  3. September 21
  4. October 3

They follow traditional ceremonies, such as offering flowers and food to the Heaven. After the ceremonies, there are competitions, like wrestling, horse-riding, archery, and singing.

External links

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