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Schlagwort: Monastery

Mongolia 2017 – Ulaanbaatar Part III

Buddha statue in Ulaanbaatar, near the Zaisan MemorialFor years now we have been travelling in central Asia and have gathered many impressions. Ulaanbaatar might not be a very big capital but it was extremely interesting for us as the Mongolian culture and tradition flows into the everyday life of the city’s inhabitants.

Our journey has started in a good way but we still weren’t sure about one thing: how our 8-year old daughter would cope with the trip. First of all it is a really long flight for a child at her age and furthermore we were visiting a country where she would have a language barrier. Spinning Buddhist Prayer Drums Monastery, Girar TamboresGood thing is that we have a friend living in Mongolia who used to live in Germany and so we could communicate with Khangai and his family in German and in English. This helped to increase our daughter’s interest in the trip and she could join all activities with curiosity and joy. We sadly noticed that there were no other tourist-children to be seen anywhere even though Mongolia is such a child-friendly country. It might have to do with the quite expensive flight costs that parents decide not to take their children with them. Because besides that there is no other reason not to take your child with you as there might not be another country as tranquil and peaceful as Mongolia. A trip to Mongolia is for a child a cultural enrichment on one hand and a healthy withdrawal from hi-tech and computer games on the other. Parents could give their children the chance to experience and enjoy the solitude in nature. Life of nomad Mongolian children, playing in friendshipFrom a visit at a nomadic camp the children would learn how well people can get along with only a minimum of food diversity and technological facilities compared to our overfilled lives. Language barriers are no actual obstacle for children to quickly make friends with the locals. You parents will be surprised to see how creative the children can be together in coming up with games using only a few and simple things given to them in order to have fun.

Hunting with eagles, falconry in Mongolia, Golden Eagles FestivalUlaanbaatar is a rapidly growing city and it will soon be a metropolis. In my opinion it is good that Mongolia is working its way towards economical independence even if the nomadic life is being inhibited this way. You can see this in the fact that half of the Mongolian people live in the capital and the rest is scattered throughout the land living as nomads. This is one more reason that makes Mongolia such an extraordinary travel destination: the population living all over this vast country hardly reaches the number of people living in Berlin. Here you can be sure that if you are not in the capital or a couple other bigger towns you will not cross path with anyone else on your journey. Thus an exciting time expects you and your travel companion, with indescribable nature, endless horizons and many animals. Concerning animals, Mongolia is a paradise for birds of prey as you can see as many as stray cats in Turkey.

Mongolia 2017 – Ulaanbaatar Part II

Temple of Boddhisattva Avalokiteshvara at Gandantegchinlen MonasteryUpon our arrival, we were picked up directly at the airport by the Hunnu Mongolia Shuttle Service and were driven to the apartment. In the capital Ulaanbaatar everything meets European standards. You can see no signs of nomadic life here but people have running hot water, electricity stoves, radiators or even air conditioning. Thus you will not have to miss anything you are used to from home.

Gandantegchinlen, Migjid Janraisig - Mongolian Buddhist monastery in the Mongolian capital of UlaanbaatarDepending on your flight connection and your time of arrival, you have to expect to have a jetlag on the first day and surely you cannot ignore the time zone difference. It would be good to sleep as much as possible on the plane so you don’t have to spend your first day necessarily in bed as the city has so much to offer. As exotic trips are usually planed under a tight schedule und one does want to see as much as possible, it is important to do a good preliminary planning. This way you will be able to invest precious time in actual sightseeing than wandering or haphazardly hang around.

Buddhism in Mongolia derives much of its recent characteristics from Tibetan Buddhism of the Gelug and Kagyu lineages, but is distinct and presents its own unique characteristicsAfter a short rest we directly drove to the city using the Hunnu Mongolia Taxi Service. Our first stop was the Gandan Monastery (Gandantengchinlen), were our friend Lama D. Sukhbold works.

Sükhbaatar Square previously known as Chinggis SquareNot so far from there is the parliament that stands directly in the Sukhbaatar park and is a tourist attraction. The vast statues of Chinggis Khaan, Ögedei Khan and Kubilay Khaan alone are an eye-catcher. We had the luck that day to see local visitor groups from the outer provinces (aimags) of Mongolia shooting photos in front of the parliament building wearing traditional garments. I believe that most of us living in the western world think that time in Mongolia passes by really slowly or has even stopped und that Mongolian people walk around in their traditional garments like they did a hundred years ago. This is of course not the case as Mongols are using the advantages of modern life, especially in the capital. Nevertheless we were able to observe that, despite the infiltration of modern life, there are fortunately some traditional elements kept alive by the nomadic families.

Kumis, kumiss, koumiss, kumys, qymyz or airag is a fermented dairy product traditionally made from mare's milkIf this is a good thing or not it is up to the Mongols to decide. For us tourists it might be a bit disappointing not to see what was hoped for, as for example Mongols living persistent to their tradition, using no technology whatsoever and even light fires in a survival-way style. That might be a wishful thinking and it might even be found in small minorities as a tourist attraction, but reality shows that these people also have the right to make their hard lives a little bit more comfortable. We westerners can consider ourselves lucky if we are invited and allowed to take part in the hospitality of the native inhabitants of Mongolia.

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