Temples, Stupas and Sacred Places
About this collection
In the pre-revolutionary period there were many Buddhist temples that served the needs of Kalmyk clans and settlements. However, during the anti-religious purges of the 1930s, all of them were destroyed, except for the Khosheutovskiy temple, which survived partly. It was not until 1989 that the first prayer house was opened on Gerasimenko street in Elista following the establishment of a Buddhist community. The first Buddhist temple Geden Sheddup Choikorling (locally known as Sakyusn Sume) was opened in 1996 on the outskirts of Elista, which marked the beginning of a period of active construction of religious buildings across Kalmykia. In 2005 Burkhan Bagshin Altan Sume (known as Central Khurul), the biggest temple not only in Kalmykia but in Europe, was opened in the centre of the capital city. Today Buddhist structures such as temples, prayer houses and stupas can be found in all settlements across Kalmykia. Among them, stupas present an interesting case. Not only are they built in large numbers in villages and around temples, but they also mark the places of destroyed temples and other sacred locations. The construction of stupas is usually initiated by Kalmyk clans and lineages (in such cases stupas are built in ancestral places in memory of ancestors) or representatives of Buddhist communities (in memory of famous lamas, legendary rulers, destroyed temples or notable historical events).
This video collection hosts stories about religious buildings of the past and the present.