Öndör Gongor

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Öndör Gongor

Öndör Gongor (Mongolian: Өндөр Гонгор, "Tall Gongor", c. 1880/85 – c. 1925/30) was a very tall man in early-20th century Mongolia. He was measured 2.36 m (7 ft 9 in) high by Roy Chapman Andrews,[1] but some other sources even give 2.45 m (8 ft). He is known all over Mongolia, and also mentioned or pictured in some accounts of contemporary western travellers.[2][3]

According to an interview with his daughter G. Budkhand, published in 1997, Gongor was the third child of a herder named Pürev, who lived in the Dalai Choinkhor wangiin khoshuu, or what is today Jargalant sum of Khövsgöl aimag. He was not particularly big as child, only had long fingers. Because he always ate a lot, he became a bit unpopular with his parents, and eventually was sent to Ikh Khüree. One day, he was summoned to the Bogd Khan, given fresh clothes, and after a while he was even made to marry a woman who worked as one of the Bogd Khan's seamstresses, on the grounds that according to a horoscope by the Bogd Khan, their fates were connected.[1]

The accounts are a bit at odds about what Gongor's occupation at the Bogd Khan's court was: accountant and keeper of the Bogd Khan's elephant,[1] the Bogd Khan's bodyguard,[3] or wrestler.[2] In 1913, he travelled to Russia with a delegation headed by Sain Noyon Khan Namnansüren. Later, he is said to have worked at the toll office.[1]

Gongor had four children. He died in his home area in the late 1920s, before reaching the age of 50.[1] His corpse is said to have been stolen during the funeral - at that time, the deceased were laid out in the steppe to be devoured by birds and other animals. It is now on display in a US museum[citation needed].

One of Gongor's grandsons, D. Davaanyam, is a well-known children's author in Mongolia.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f M.Nyamaa, Khövsgöl aimgiin lavlakh toli, Ulaanbaatar 2001, p. 49f
  2. ^ a b Frans August Larson, Duke of Mongolia, Boston 1930, p.129f
  3. ^ a b Ladislaus Forbath/Joseph Geleta, The New Mongolia, London 1936, pp. 247, 259

Picture at Jargalant Museum (Khövsgöl Province)
Öndör Gongor photos at the Jargalant Museum