It’s six o’clock and we are already in the car, rushing and cutting corners. We have to reach Amarbayasgalant Khiid by 10.00. It is the biggest Buddhist temple in Mongolia, their architecture main achievement. And on this very day (14th and 15th of August), there is the biggest Buddhist gathering in Mongolia going on. Lonely Planet describes it as Buddhist Woodstock.
“Well, lets look at this festival” we said to ourselves few day ago and today we drive like crazy to reach our destination. We optimize our drivingstyle to maximum and we make it to the temple. We drove literally the worst off-road terrain we had ever been to. 35km of ups and downs, across hills and through narrow valleys. We arrive two minutes to ten and walk inside. It was suspicious at the parking lot, because we were almost alone there, but then we find out that there is only nine of us, tourists. Well, 5 toursts and 4-members of one family. Soon, four kids enter the room and start to run around, speak-and sing loudly. They pray and we are looking at each other; “Is this for real?” We look around the colourful temple and find few buildings, but everything is so poorly maintained. The biggest temple in the country is falling apart, a shelter for thousands of pidgeons.
We do exercises for our shape and walk to stupas at the hill, like huge groups of tourist would do in the festival. Yeah, right.
Few kilometers ahead we find shelter in the shade under the trees, grab lunch and decide it is time for “me time”. We read and write blog, and hop in the car late afternoon. After an hour, we drive into a meadow and set our camp in the sunset.
In the middle of the night, we are awaken by thunder and wind. We implement a technique called ‘Pack everything in one minute’, nailed it and continued our hibernation in our car.