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!
Our host (on the right) making arrangements for us for the next day to visit this nomadic family
Turtle Rock – the symbol of the park
Monogolian restaurant next to Turtle Rock
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
Fresh yak milk tea
My delicious khuushuur – or fried dumplings. The most delicious thing I ate while in Mongolia!
View of Turtle Rock from the restaurant
Entrance to the Ariyabal Meditation Temple
First of 180 thoughts to reflect on
Buddhas Sculpted on the Rock
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.
You spin to see which of the 180 written thoughts on the boards you should meditate
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.
My board #139; didn’t make sense to me nor to my guide who read the Mongolian version
About to cross the Bridge of Heaven
About to reach the 180 stairs
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.
The Main Temple of Aryapala