This past weekend I visited KharKhorin with several of my site mates. The oldest monastery in the country, Erdene Zuu is located here, as well as the infamous phallic rock (both old and new ones) and our wonderful PCV friend Marisa. Many reasons to visit this lovely little town only a three and a half hour meeker ride from Arvikheer. The ride is always an adventure! Allison and I were the only non Mongolians on our way there. The paved road to UB is where we started, and followed it for at least an hour before turning off onto the rutted, dirt path that is the road for the next two hours. The half way point stop is an ovoo where many of us walked around clockwise three times, tossing a stone with each turn; and this is primarily a toilet stop. Our friend Babs (who speaks the best Mongolian among us) found and arranged the meeker for us. It cost us 8,000T each (around $6.) Babs and Joyce ended up on this same meeker the next day and it was the one we all rode back home together on Sunday.
We got to experience the lams chanting at the monastery and it was thrilling, peaceful, spiritual, and uplifting. It is a beautiful and serene place I would like to see again, even though dear Marisa will be back in the USA this summer, having finished her PC stint.
My photos cannot do justice to the serene view from the monastery grounds and the panorama of sky, mountains and intricate buildings. I found this place, just like my response to most monastery's, calming.
It blows my mind to think that the ancient capital of this magnificent country was once here, in the time of Chinngis Khan! The more I learn about the history of this beautiful land and it's warm and welcoming people the closer to my heart it becomes.