Taikhar Rock – Battsengel, Mongolia - Atlas Obscura

Taikhar Rock

Battsengel, Mongolia

People have been scribbling on this massive chunk of granite for more than 1,500 years. 


Taikhar Chuluu (Taikhar Rock) is a 66-foot high granite block set in the middle of a huge expanse of flatland and rolling hills. Strangely, its shape and unusual location aren’t its most fascinating features.

The rock has 150 writings etched all over its surface. The scrawled sentiments cover the rock from top to bottom. The most ancient of these writings are in Turkic languages and date back to the 6th century AD.

You’ll find words jotted down in other languages, too, like Mongolian, Tibetan, and Chinese. The inscriptions are proof that Taikhar Rock has been an important site for more than 1,500 years.

Adding new writings is a tradition that continues to this day, though most of the current inscriptions seem to mainly be about political slogans or declarations of eternal love. An oovo (a heap of sacred stones) was placed on top to reassert the religious significance of this site.

There are two radically different explanations for the rock’s unusual appearance—one mystical, one scientific. According to one account, a mythical giant named Bukhbilegt used this looming chunk of granite to plug a hole in the ground once frequented by a gargantuan snake. But according to a more plausible theory, Taikhar Rock is the result of the nearby river eroding the granite mountains and flooding the area over millions of years.

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