Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mongolian History - Conclusion

In a previous post, we already mentioned the Buddhist monastery that we found at the back of the box canyon here at Turtle Rock, it being one of the few which escaped destruction by the Russian communists. We did go visit that monastery before we left.

We drove to the back of the canyon on some very 'interesting' terrain. But then it was quite a climb up the side of the hill/mountain to get up to it, to say nothing of the hanging

bridge just a swayin’ in the breeeze that we had to cross(way to go Sister Caldwell!) and the 108 steps taking us the rest of the way to the monastery itself.

This monastery is hundreds of years old and is still used for prayer, occasionally, by the few Monks still in the area. The monasteries we have visited are always quite colorful and fun to see, with many symbolic representations, inside and out (too many to include here). We thought we might include this one of a picture of (guess what?) the Tree of Life.

We’ve also include a panorama I stitched together showing the view from the front of the monastery. As you can see, it was quite a nice view and we took some time to enjoy it! Not too surprising that the monks would choose such a place to build a monastery.

There was much to see in this canyon and, we were told, much took place here in early Mongolian history, but our time was limited as is our space for this post. We look forward to sharing more when we return.

Before we left Turtle Rock, we stopped inside one of the gers nearby. It was all fitted out with ancient style furnishings and costumes. And we just couldn’t resist, so we dressed up in a couple of those costumes and took a couple of pictures – for a price, of course! Don’t we look regal!

But, time was passing quickly and we finally headed further into the mountains. Our guide explained a few things along the way, but we finally drove down into a river bottom area, using what would best be described as a dirt path heading down a pretty steep embankment. It is amazing where you can drive a mini-van when you want to!

The area was gorgeous, as you can see. A family which lived there (what we would give for a home in such a place!) fixed us a lunch of traditional noodles and meat. Then we went for a little horseback ride. The Terelj River runs through here, spreading out in several fingers or branches. We crossed several of those branches on our ride, some of which were deep enough that we had to lift our feet to keep from getting them wet.

Unfortunately, we had meetings we needed to attend that night and all too soon it was necessary to head back to ‘the big city’! You know what they say, all good things must come to an end!

If any of you would like to pay us a visit over here, we would be happy to show you around!