Born approximately 1822, in Kutetuev ulus, Transbaikal Oblast; died 1855, in Irkutsk. The first Buriat scholar and orientalist. Born into the family of a Buriat Cossack.
In 1846, Banzarov graduated from Kazan University, where he was a pupil of O. M. Kovalevskii. In 1847 and 1848 he lived in St. Petersburg, where he did scientific research at the Asiatic Museum. From 1850 to 1855 he served as an official of special missions under the governor-general of Eastern Siberia. During his journeys through Siberia he struck up an acquaintance with the Decembrists. N. A. Bestuzhev painted his portrait. Banzarov’s contributions to science are primarily in the area of philological research. Banzarov’s chief work was Black Belief, or Shamanism Among the Mongols (1846), the first scientific work on shamanism. The Buriat Pedagogical Institute in Ulan-Ude was named after Banzarov (1947).