August 02 - August 18, 2011
M  O  N  G  O  L  I  A
Gobi , Altay Mountains & Hovds Gull Tour
Group Journal Day 12
Submitted By  Kathy Kline
Aug. 13, 2011

Itinerary visit Gandan Monastery, visit school of contortionest, Overnight in Ulaan Baatar

Kathy’s Comments on Mongolia trip Saturday, August 13, 2011

After our normal good selection of breakfast food at the Edelweiss Hotel, we were taken to Gandantegchenling Monastery which was moved to its present location in Ulaanbaatar in 1838 by the 5th Bogd Jebzundamba. It was an important center for learning and practicing Buddha’s practices. In 1938, the communists suppressed religion and destroyed about 900 monasteries. Five temples in Gandan were destroyed. With independence, the temples were restored and now houses 900 monks. Individuals can pay and request certain chants to be sung. The rectangular old books, incense, prayer wheels, monks in burgundy robes and orange belts, hundreds of Buddha statues and one enormous gold one designed to bring good eye sight to the Bogd in 1911, good luck pigeons and tourists all made the experience memorable. The huge Buddha had 5 colorful 50 meter sashes: white for mother’s milk and kindness; blue for the sky and peace; yellow for the sun and development; green for nature; and red for blood and winning.


A real treat for lunch: a visit to the Mongolian Barbeque, a chain restaurant that offers many selections of uncooked and cooked food. You take your plate with uncooked food and your choice of sauce (I picked chili garlic which was yummy) to one of the two young men who stand near a large round grill. They toss your food and your raw egg if you selected one up in the air between two long sticks over and on the grill. We were served tri-colored ice-cream and a shot glass of vodka for desert.

Watching 3 nine year old girls with their teacher go through the practice exercises of contortionism was quite something? Their subtle bodies bent in unusual and to us impossible positions. This teacher has trained professionals who now entertain audiences worldwide.

With the rest of the afternoon free, some of us took naps; others went to the post office where there is a broad selection of postcards and stamps and maps; others went to museums. I bought post cards and thoroughly enjoyed the National Historical Museum of Mongolia with its exhibition on traditional cultures, a special section on Chinggis Khan, rooms devoted to different stages of Mongolia history and even a showcase of hats which are considered lucky and therefore not to be exchanged with another person.

Dinner at Hazara, a local Indian restaurant. We ate an assortment of dishes family style. Boloroo’s report on the expected weather in Huvsgul where we fly tomorrow made us think of packing every layer we had brought. It will be cold!

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