Hövsgöl - Local Heroes
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Local Heroes

Chingünjav

Chingünjav (1710-1757) was a Hotgoid noble, who in 1756 led an uprising against the Manchu. Although his uprising failed, Chingünjav is nowadays regarded as a fighter for Mongolia's freedom. Additionally, he is the subject of legends and folktales.

Chingünjav was born in 1710 on the shores of Sangiin Dalai nuur. In 1737, he inherited his father's position of the Hotgoid's banner prince. He also began a career in the Manchu military.

During the Manchu campaign against the Zungars in 1755, he and the Zungar Amarsanaa - whose restauration as Zungar chief had been the main objective of the campaign - plotted an anti-Manchu uprising. However, their plans were uncovered, Chingünjav was transferred elsewhere and Amarsanaa was summoned to Beijing. On the way, Amarsanaa managed to escape his escort. The Manchu emperor Qianlong suspected the leader of said escort, an important Mongolian noble and younger brother of the second Javzandamba Hutagt (the religious leader of Outer Mongolia at the time), to have been complicit in Amarsanaa's escape and had him put to death. This prompted Chingünjav to start his rebellion.

He left his post in the Manchu army and composed a letter to the emperor in which he declared his insubordination. He began to gather troops at the Zagzuu creek, and at the end of October his force supposedly numbered 1000 men. However, he failed to win meaningful support from other Mongol princes or the Javzandamba Hutagt. And although 1756 saw revolts and riots all over Mongolia, and Amarsanaa had begun open hostilities against the Manchu, Chingünjav's rebellion was not coordinated with any of these movements.

When troops loyal to the Manchu approached, Chingünjav evaded northwards. He crossed Öliin davaa and entered the Darhad valley. Along the way, his troops became fewer and fewer, mainly due to desertions. At the Shishged gol, he discharged his remaining troops except 50, with whom he wanted to reach Russia. Before he could cross the border, however, he was captured by the Manchu.

Chingünjav and most of his family, including his 80-year old mother and his infant daughters, were brought to Beijing and executed in March 1757. The Javzandamba Hutagt and several important Mongol nobles, whose attitude towards Chingünjav's rebellion had been too ambigous, "died" shortly afterwards. Amarsanaa was defeated in 1757 and the Zungars almost exterminated.

Some kilometers south of the Bürentogtoh soum center, west of the Zagzuu creek, there are visible remains of a rectangular wall with a small monument for Chingünjav. According to folktales, this is the site of a "Northern Beijing" that Chingünjav built. Mongolian historians, however, assume that the remains are much older.

Near the Arbulag soum center, there are 13 white ovoos under which Chingünjav is supposed to have buried his silver, his sword and his gun. At least his sword and his gun were really found during illicit excavations in 1948 and are now kept in the museum in Mörön.

The small hill at which Chingünjav was supposedly taken prisoner at dawn on January 16th, 1757, is situated about 10 kilometers from Hanh.

In front of the circus in Mörön, a monument for him was erected in 1992.

Davaadorj

L. Davaadorj was a soldier of the Mongolian People's Army, who in 1948 perished in a Chinese-Mongolian border incident. The monument on Mörön's main square is for him.

Davaadorj was born in 1926 on the northern slopes of Erchmiin nuruu, as son of a single poor mother. At the age of two, he was adopted by another local family, and he grew up on the banks of the Delgermörön. In 1946 he was drafted into the army, and began his service in the border troops in Hovd.

He was killed in action during a skirmish on the border between Hovd and China on July 7th, 1948, when he and his comrades prevented a group of about 40 Chinese soldiers from crossing into Mongolian territory.

Posthumously, Davaadorj was awarded the title of a "hero of the Mongolian People's Republic". In 1968, when Sino-Mongolian relations had hit another low do to the cultural revolution, Mörön's main square was renamed after Davaadorj, and a monument for him was erected.

Gelenhüü

Gelenhüü is the protagonist of a number of somewhat legendary adventures. His most famous deed is a flight attempt with a pair of self-made wings.

He was born in the late 1870s in the area of today's Jargalant soum. As a child, he spent several years in a local monastery and learnt to read. Afterwards, he returned to life as a layman, and lived from hunting and animal husbandry. Besides, he occupied himself with artisanal works for his neighbours, and with inventing things.

He also married. But after his wife had born him six daughters and no son, Gelenhüü left his family for the Darhad in the north, in order to ask their shamans for help in having a son. Two years later he returned, and not alone: he brought a female shaman with him. After a while she got pregnant, but she too had a daughter.

As Gelenhüü's neighbours were extremely suspicious about the shaman and fearful about her black magic, she eventually left Gelenhüü and returned home. To calm the neighbour's fears, to protect the neighbourhood from the shaman's evil magic, to atone for his sins and to pray for the birth of a son, Gelenhüü took a black yak with white forehead, collected stones and began to build a three meter high stupa.

In the late 1920s Gelenhüü finally adopted the son of a local woman.

During the armed uprising of 1932, Gelenhüü for the first time in his life saw an airplane. In order to make a pair of wings for himself, he killed an eagle and imitated the form of his wings with the help of sheep leather. Then he jumped down a 170 meter high cliff. He survived unharmed, but only because he had had his sheep driven to the foot of the cliff before jumping.

Gelenhüü died in 1938. His Stupa still stands on the road from Shine-Ider to Jargalant, not far from the bridge across the Ideriin gol. Unlike other stupas, this one opens to the north, probably in order to ward off evil magic from this direction. The cliff that Gelenhüü jumped down is nearby. In front of Mörön's airport building, there is a small Monument to him.

Öndör Gongor

Öndör ("tall") Gongor has become famous mainly due to his size of 2.36 meters.

Gongor was born in the early 1880s in what is now Jargalant soum. He was his father's third child. During childhood, he was not especially tall, only his hands and fingers were quite long.

After he developed an ever greater appetite, family life became ever more disharmonious, and finally Gongor left with a caravan headed to Ih Hüree, today's Ulaanbaatar. There officials of the Javzandamba Hutagt discovered him on the marketplace and enlistened him to the Hutagt's service. Later two lamas married him to seamstress, after the Hutagt had allegedly divined that their two fates were tied together.

Gongor supposedly worked as the keeper of the Jebtsundamba Hutagt's elephant, and as a customs official. In 1913 he accompanied prime minister Namnansüren's delegation to St. Petersburg. Later Gongor returned home and died there in the late 1920s.

According to the traditions of the time, he was buried in the open steppe. His bones were stolen, apparently right during the burial. Supposedly, they are now kept in a museum in the USA.

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One of Gongor's grandchildren is D. Davaanyam, a well-known children's author in Mongolia. One of Gongor's daughters, G. Budhand, many years worked in as a cook in one of Mörön's kindergardens. She had been married to a banner prince at the age of 15, as his second wife, but one night she fled to Mörön with her infant son, on an unsattled horse.

There she got to know her second husband Namdag, who just had finished four years in Mörön's first modern school and, as the best of his class, was made teacher. When Mörön's first kindergarden was founded in two yurts in the 1940s, she began to work there as a cook. Only after working on became impossible due to declining health, she retired 1994 at an age of over 70. G. Budhand died in 2000. Her youngest daughter is Uudraas mother.