Main Buddhist temple Tsechenlingv in Kyzyl

The magnificent Nothingness at the Tsechenling Buddhist Temple of Emptiness

Temple architecture is always an occasion for amazement and Kyzyl Tsetchenling Buddhist Temple is an occasion for an immersion into Nirvana.

Russia is a secular state. The rich history of the country and its subjects has served as a base for the development of a variety of cultural and religious traditions. Of particular interest from this point of view is the Siberian republic of Tuva, where Tibetan Buddhism combined with elements of ancient shamanism is still the basis of beliefs. The Techenling Temple, located in the Tuva capital, is the republic’s religious treasure.


The Republic of Tuva is part of the Siberian Federal District, a Russian-Mongolian “border guard.” In addition to Mongolia, the subject borders on Altai, Khakassia and Buryatia, as well as the Irkutsk Region and Krasnoyarsk Territory.

The shrine is located in the heart of the republic – the capital Kyzyl, in the center of the city (near Victory Square). The exact address is 2 Shchetinkina-Kravchenko Street.

The convenient location of the sight will allow you to appreciate not only the uniqueness of the Buddhist shrine, but also other picturesque places of Kyzyl. There are a lot of stores and hotels nearby.

Let’s present possible route options.

How to get to the temple

A peculiarity of the Republic of Tuva is the lack of a functioning railroad: the transport hub is still under construction. Also Tuva does not yet have an official transport connection outside of Siberia. However, you can get to Kyzyl in the following ways:

  1. By air. Kyzyl regional airport is located 6 kilometers southwest of the city, from where you can get to the capital itself by shuttle buses 1 and 1a. However, Kyzyl air service is also not developed: all year round planes run only between the capital and some regional cities of Tuva, as well as Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk. If you are not a Siberian, you will have to make your way with connections.
  2. By bus. Bus station is located very close to the center of the capital, on Druzhba Street, 55. Traffic is also available only with Siberian cities. Average travel time is 7.5 hours.
  3. By car. For the owners of personal transport and non-Siberian location the trip by car will be the most optimal way. However, you are advised to be prepared in advance and, if possible, to find a companion with a driving license: the distance to Kyzyl from, for example, Moscow is 4,750 kilometers, so you will have to spend on average almost 3 days (without major stops).

The above options are the only possible ways to get to Kyzyl directly. For connecting flights you can use:

  • blah-blah-car: a hitchhiker search service will help those wishing to get to the same Siberian cities that provide direct transport links to Kyzyl, as well as to Abakan. The main disadvantage is the high cost of travel (often on a par with the cost of a rail ticket, and sometimes even higher);
  • by train: the railroad is actively developed both in Siberia (thanks to which you can get to the above mentioned Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk or Irkutsk), and in Khakassia (there is the most famous route Moscow – Abakan, on the way capturing almost half of Russia).

History of Tuvan Buddhism: all about Nothing

Tsechenling is a unique monument to the Buddhist heritage of Tuva. The temple was built relatively recently, and in record time: the first stone was solemnly laid by the president of Tuva in February 1998, and less than 2 years later, in October 1999, it was consecrated by His Holiness Jampel Namdrol Chokyi Gyaltsen, the head Buddhist leader of Mongolia at that time (the so-called Bogdo gegen). The project was designed by Fang Cheng Yir, the chief architect of Kyzyl.

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Buddhism came to the lands of modern Tuva in the IX century. The first temples date back to four centuries later, when the Tuvan lands were part of the Mongol Empire. The locals call the Buddhist temples khuree.

The religious hierarchy in Tuvinian perceptions is closely related to the Mongolian canons, which have been adopted virtually unchanged. The Tuvinian worldview itself is unique, because long ago the basis of the clergy of these lands was shamans, whose influence could not be overruled. The two traditions have intertwined over time: the Buddhist Tsam mystery, an annual solemn service, which absorbed features of shamanic rites, is especially beloved by Tuvans. Tibetan medicine is also widespread in the republic.

Cechenling – the Buddhist “phoenix” of Tuva, a symbol of the revival of the cult. In times of repression any temple buildings were actively destroyed, including khurees. The construction of such an extraordinary temple, though not very large, was a bright event in the spiritual life of the republic.

Tsechenling Buddhist temple today

The main religious building in Tuva looks neat and modest, as if embodying true Buddhist humility. The building serves as a center for spiritual education, as visitors can join such classes:

  • Interacting with lamas. On the first floor is the reception room of His Holiness the Dalai Lama XIV, with whom all are welcome to talk;
  • yoga and meditation. In Eastern culture equal development of soul and body, as well as their successful interaction is the key to harmony. Practical classes are also held daily for all comers;
  • Tibetan language classes;
  • Lessons in Buddhist philosophy.

The building consists of two floors: the first floor is the reception room of His Holiness, the second floor is the prayer room. The temple is open to visitors every day from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

To conclude

Touching another culture is one of the highlights of a curious person’s life. Tsechenling Temple gives you an opportunity to study the Eastern philosophy not only from books, but also practically, talking with the clergy directly and participating in unique practices.

Now you know how to come to Enlightenment by the most comfortable way and in just a couple of hours.

Kyzyl. Tsechenling Temple


“Center of Asia” is not the only attraction in Kyzyl. In the central part of the city stands the main Buddhist temple of Tuva, Tsechenling. In translation, its name means “the abode of boundless compassion”.

It is always crowded here, buses with tourists often arrive, so the narrow street is jammed with people and cars. Go around the temple three times clockwise, spinning the prayer drums and thinking about what you want.

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