Mongolia: Gorkhi-Terelj National Park and Ariyabal Meditation Temple

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Entering Gorkhi-Terelj National Park

Although the snow and the cold temperatures made us cancel our trip into the mountains of northern Mongolia, we chose instead to explore Gorkhi-Terelj National Park and hike up to the Ariyabal Meditation Temple, where we crossed the “Bridge of Heaven” and climbed 108 stone stairs that lead to the main temple with 108 small stupas and 108 prayer wheels around the temple.

Although not sticking to the ground, it was freezing and snowing the entire time. Luckily we did a lot of walking and climbing to warm up!

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Our host (on the right) making arrangements for us for the next day to visit this nomadic family

 

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Turtle Rock – the symbol of the park

 

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Monogolian restaurant next to Turtle Rock

 

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Here I am freezing – it was also so cold and snowed so much the night before that there was no electricity in the restaurant, so everything was cooked over fire

 

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Fresh yak milk tea

 

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My delicious khuushuur – or fried dumplings. The most delicious thing I ate while in Mongolia!

 

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View of Turtle Rock from the restaurant

 

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Entrance to the Ariyabal Meditation Temple

 

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First of 180 thoughts to reflect on

 

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Buddhas Sculpted on the Rock

 

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Do you recognize this guy from the dance in my last post? “The Elder White” A benevolent deity of the land known as the “White Grandpa”. In Mongolia he is the protector deity of the nature that oversees the mother earth. He will protect anyone who worships him and guards them from any maladies that are caused by other fierce land deities and natural disasters.

 

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Meditation wheel

 

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You spin to see which of the 180 written thoughts on the boards you should meditate

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Shakyamuni Buddha

 

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The Sacred Cairn – Offering food is one of the oldest and most common rituals of Buddhism. Here at this cairn, food and incense is ritually offered to tantric deities of this land so that he will grant safety of your presence in the area.

 

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My board #139; didn’t make sense to me nor to my guide who read the Mongolian version

 

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About to cross the Bridge of Heaven

 

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About to reach the 180 stairs

 

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The Mantra of Aryapala: “Om mani padme hum”, a mantra of Aryapala (Avalokitesvara) sculpted on the rock is the biggest of its kind in Mongolia. He who comes here shall read the mantra 180 times.

 

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The Main Temple of Aryapala

 

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