Terelj National Park

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Terelj National Park was top of my list for places to visit in Mongolia – and it didn’t disappoint. I took this photo standing on the steps leading up to a tiny monastery in the side of a mountain. To reach the steps, you first had to hike through the valley, and then cross a rickety wooden bridge that was like something out of an Indiana Jones movie.

On the way to Terelj we stopped at this – an ‘ovoo’.

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Saruul instructed me to pick up some stones. We walked around the ovoo three times in a clockwise direction, as is the tradition, throwing the stones onto the pile, and yellow rice into the air. If you drive past an ovoo and can’t stop, you’re supposed to beep your horn three times instead.

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What I found the most interesting when we got to Terelj was the coloured writing and pictures on the sides of some of the mountains. Like here for example:

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The monastery was similarly colourful, both outside…

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…and inside.

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In here, we had to take off our shoes and stand in a line. There was a lady in front of us wearing a gold robe, and she led a kind of prayer ceremony. I self-consciously joined in with the ‘ummmmms’ but couldn’t last as long as the Mongolians. 25 seconds and I almost passed out.

All around the outside of the monastery were brightly coloured prayer wheels. We walked right around the building, turning each wheel with our right hands.

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On the way out of the park, we stopped at one of Terelj’s famous rock formations – ‘Turtle Rock’.

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