Mausoleum of Genghis Khan

From Academic Kids

The Mausoleum of Genghis Khan (成吉思汗陵) is located along a river in Kandehuo Enclosure, Xinjie Township, 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 and not in the traditional Mongol style.



After Chinggis 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 chaghaan odru (eight white palaces) enshrined him. They were originally palaces where Chinggis Khan lived, but were altered to mausoleums by Ögedei Khan. They settled at the base of the Hentiy Mountains. The site, located in Delgerhaan sum, Hentiy aymag, 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 Kerülen River but later moved to Ordos. The name of Ordos was derived from their mausoleums (the plural of Ordo (palace)).

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 Warlords 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 Buriyat Mongolian scholar Jamtsarano recommended the Darkhad to move to Northern Mongolia around 1910. In 1949 Prince Demchugdongrub, the leader of the Mongol independence movement in Southern Mongolia, met the mausoleums in Bayankhota of Alashan Banner. 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 contructed and is maintained according to the ideology of Zhonghua minzu, according to which, the Mongols are considered part of the Chinese nation and Chinggis Khan is considered to be a Chinese national hero. In contrast, the PRC represses Pan-Mongolism.

There are other non-portable mausoleums of Chinggis Khan. In 1864 Prince Toghtakhutörü (To Vang) built a mausoleum in Chechen Han Aymagh 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 Chinggis Khan in Ulaankhota. 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 tents 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
      • Tuolei (托雷), the Khan's youngest, and fourth, son.
      • Tuolei'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 sacred 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.

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