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6 November 2017 / leggypeggy

Enjoying the views from a Mongolian temple

Mongolian landscape

The sweeping view from Aryapala meditation temple

Aryapala meditation temple

Inside the temple

Many of you have commented on how flat and barren the Mongolian landscape is, so I thought I’d share a different view.

On the way to our homestay, we drove along Turtle Rock Road to visit the beautiful and peaceful Aryapala meditation temple, in the Terelj National Park northeast of Ulaanbaatar. This temple is perched on a mountainside at the end of a picturesque valley, which is probably even more scenic in spring and summer.

The Buddhist temple is open to anyone who wants to mediate while being free from outside distractions. The long path up to the actual temple is bordered by 100s of signs with topics for mediation that give food for thought. You’ll probably agree that many of the sayings seem especially relevant these days. Click to enlarge images.

There are also signs and monuments relating to other aspects of Buddhism, such as ‘The Elder White’ or ‘White Grandpa’. In Mongolia, he is the protector deity of the nature that oversees Mother Earth.

There is also the Great Prayer Wheel of Kangyur. This prayer wheel is filled with a complete Kangyur (printed in Tibetan), the 108 volumes of works spoken by the Buddha himself.

When you reach the temple (after a long uphill trudge and a very rickety bridge), it’s not immediately obvious that the outline of the complex is supposed to resemble an elephant. The main building is the head, the 116 steps of staircase are the trunk and the walkways at the sides represent the ears.

Aryapala meditation temple

Poor John on the rickety bridge to the temple

Path to Aryapala meditation temple

Path to the temple

Great Prayer Wheel of Kangyur

Great Prayer Wheel of Kangyur. The painting to the left is of ‘The Elder White’

There’s also a cave there with a statue and footprints of the Buddha inside. Whenever I see that, I am reminded of my mother’s comment years ago in Burma. She had flat feet and when she saw the Buddha’s footprints she said, No wonder he sat down all the time. He had flat feet.

The inside of the temple is stunningly beautiful and colourfully decorated. I was especially grateful that we were allowed to take pictures—something not always permitted. There’s a mantra—Om Mani Padme Hum—that is supposed to be repeated 108 times at the temple, and our guide, Nasaa, did exactly that.

While we were there Poor John walked all the way around the temple, but the rest of us decided it was too wet and icy. No need to break an arm.

But we wouldn’t have missed the view for anything. Fortunately we were there on a reasonably clear day and could see far into the distance.

We also enjoyed sharing the space with a group of school children. The young boy standing at the very back of the pic was wearing a set of Dracula teeth and having great fun growling as everyone.

I liked the Little Miss we saw by the exit. I think she’d had a great time.

P.S. Do you have a favourite from the topics for meditation?

Aryapala view


Leave a Comment
  1. Lynne Favinger / Nov 7 2017 12:03 am

    Peggy, I just want you to know that your blogs are fantastic and I look forward to receiving them! It is a big world out there and you are building bridges of understanding and opening doorways to peace with your experiences, and how beautifully you write about them. Thank you very much! Lynne

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 7 2017 9:41 am

      Oh Lynne, thanks so very much for such a lovely comment. It means a lot to me. I do hope my posts help people understand the world out there just a bit better.


  2. Dymoon / Nov 7 2017 12:20 am

    Thank you Peggy, perfect read and pictures for the start of my day.. huge hug to you..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Osyth / Nov 7 2017 1:11 am

    In absolute truth, all of the meditations speak to me thought today I would probably choose the last. I am not a practicing Buddhist but was married to one and embrace the teachings of the Buddha in my life . What a tremendous place to be at one with the philosophy – I do see the Elephant instantly but then I’m apt to see elephants in all sorts of odd places – the interior decoration, those Tankas are breathtaking as is the location. I wish you namaste, my friend and I thank you for sharing this sacred and stunning place

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 7 2017 9:23 am

      I’m so glad you can see the elephant. I thought it was most obvious in the pic from the rickety bridge. Namaste to you, too, dear friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. beetleypete / Nov 7 2017 1:32 am

    Such a colourful place, and standing out well from the surroundings too. The kids look so happy, which goes to show you don’t need all the trappings of western society to have fun.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 7 2017 9:24 am

      The kids were having a great time. The wearer of Dracula’s teeth was the biggest character.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Irregular Theosophist / Nov 7 2017 2:55 am

    A sparse and panoramic landscape is great for clearing the mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mike / Nov 7 2017 4:17 am

    Okay, did I miss the Story of the Starving Cat? From the deceit board. PS: Wonderful pics and writing as usual.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 7 2017 9:24 am

      I missed the starving cat story too. I guess we could make up a story. 🙂


      • Mike / Nov 7 2017 11:58 am

        You know that damned starving cat story would change our lives! Going to google it and do some research. Safe travels my friend.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Nov 7 2017 5:42 pm

        Thanks Mike. Hope you find something that saves us all. 🙂 I’ll be waiting for news.


  7. almeidadepaulo / Nov 7 2017 8:14 am

    So wonderful!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Julie Manley / Nov 7 2017 8:24 am

    All beautiful, especially the ceiling, and outside the trees in late Autumn.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. gerard oosterman / Nov 7 2017 8:25 am

    Great part of your journey, Peggy. We can certainly do with more enlightenment. Did you and poor John enjoy a meal while at the temple?
    I always get good enlightenment after a nice lunch at a Buddhist temple of which the largest in The Southern Hemisphere is right here in Wollongong. It also includes a large bell.
    Thank you for the lovely and colourful photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 7 2017 9:27 am

      No meals at the temple. The only person there was the caretaker. He was sweeping, but not cooking. 🙂 We’ll have to get to Wollongong one of these days to see the temple there.


  10. Curt Mekemson / Nov 7 2017 12:03 pm

    It is beautiful, Peggy. My kind of country and my kind of thoughts. And yes, I can think of a certain someone who would benefit from the wisdom, although I doubt he would listen. Thanks. –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Brian Lageose / Nov 8 2017 8:31 am

    It would take me forever to get up the hill, not from the exertion but from my insistence that I read and study every single sign. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Steph McCoy / Nov 8 2017 11:24 am

    Hi Peggy. Stunning photos. Prior to reading about the signs I was wondering what they were. My favorite would be the one about grudges. I just had a conversation with my son about this very topic before coming home to finish my comment on your post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 9 2017 8:52 pm

      Grudges are so unproductive. They only make you feel worse for longer—not better.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Steph McCoy / Nov 10 2017 5:39 am

        Yes, and not to mention, it’s handing control to the other person with whom you have the grudge against.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Nov 10 2017 7:42 am

        Yep, so very true.


  13. Sartenada / Nov 8 2017 9:56 pm

    Wonderful photos. When looking at them, I thought that they are from another planet.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Sharon Bonin-Pratt / Nov 9 2017 2:56 am

    Oh the places I will never go, yet I get to see them through your lens. Thank you for sharing your trip with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. annabelletroy / Nov 9 2017 1:02 pm

    Love the detail about the boy wearing Dracula teeth! Seems reassuring that kids are all the same all over the world!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Sangeeta Pradhan RD, CDE / Nov 9 2017 2:21 pm

    Wow! Amazing, thank you for sharing:))

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 9 2017 8:56 pm

      My pleasure. Thanks for stopping by and for commenting.


  17. Brenda / Nov 10 2017 11:22 pm

    The signs remind me of the interstate billboards approaching South of the Border in South Carolina. Except the billboard texts, “You Never Sausage a Place!” and “Chili Today, Hot Tamale,” are not as profound! These meditations are particularly apt right now. Perhaps they could be placed near the entries to the White House and Congress. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 11 2017 4:17 am

      I like your idea for placing the signs. Brilliant.


  18. Forestwoodfolk / Nov 12 2017 6:59 pm

    Gorgeous detailed artwork on the temple. They are always so colourful. So joyous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 12 2017 7:57 pm

      Very joyous. It’s like walking into a rainbow! 🙂


  19. tailoredbymtaylor / Nov 13 2017 3:22 am love it!!! really good read xx i’ve recently started a blog, would be lush if you gave it a read and let me know what you think! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Green Global Trek / Nov 13 2017 8:03 pm

    Beautifully written and lovely photos. I just love all the bright vivid colors that are used in the temple.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 13 2017 8:36 pm

      I love the temple colours too. Like walking through a rainbow.


  21. jeanleesworld / Nov 21 2017 2:03 am

    I should hope none of us wish to be as an uncontrolled elephant. 🙂 And there’s something of a story in the idea of a little Dracula determined to go after everyone in a Mongolian temple…

    Liked by 1 person


  1. Enjoying the views from a Mongolian temple — Where to next? – Suman Freelancer

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