Duniart – Photography and Blog by Toine IJsseldijk

Ongiin Khiid

Mongolia, June – July 2019

Day 7 – 27 Jun: Bayan-Zag – Ongiin Khiid

Today’s destination was Ongiin Khiid, once a place of devotion and Buddhist scholarship and housing the largest and most important ruins in the Gobi. Founded in 1660, Ongiin Khiid was one of the largest monasteries in Mongolia, with 28 Buddhist temples and four universities, housing over 1000 monks at its height. All that changed when socialism arrived in the 1930s. Soon after, soldiers showed up to massacre 200 lamas and destroy the entire complex, leaving behind just some ruins.
At Ongiin Khiid we had our first little rain shower. Nothing special, but enough to cut our visit short. The weather soon cleared up and made for some spectacular skies. Nothing could prepare us for what happened when we arrived at our next host though, who had just moved to the middle of a vast steppe. Behind his recently erected ger the horizon slowly started to colour turquoise green. We had initially no idea what was happening. Purple and orange followed, and slowly a rainbow raise up from behind the horizon, creating an unbelievable sky.
After this awesome spectacle in the sky our host welcomed us in his ger, for the usual warm customary welcome, serving some traditional snacks, goat milk and traditional Mongolian sniff tobacco…
Next stop, the Orkhon Valley !
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