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China and Mongolia Land of Dynasties

Terelj National Park

Terelj National Park

The   third   largest   protected   area   in   Mongolia,   it   covers   an   area   of 2,864   square   kilometres,   and   is   characterised   by   undulating   hills, interesting   rock   formations,   a   network   of   streams   and   rivers,   and lush   valleys   inhabited   by   nomadic   families.   It   is   relatively   close   to Ulaanbaatar (about 80km) so is a busy tourist area.

Turtle Rock

The   symbol   of   the   park,   ‘Melkhii   Khad’   is   a   80   ft.   tall   granite   forma - tion that is passed on the way to Aryabal Meditation Temple.

Aryabal Meditation Temple

Aryabal   Meditation   Temple   was   built   in   1998-2004,   because   of   its ‘Natural   Energy’.   It   is   located   on   a   steep   hill.   The   shape   of   temple   is an    elephants    head    and    the    set    of    108    stairs    leading    up    to    the temple   symbolize   the   elephant’s   elongated   trunk.   Taking   the   path to   reach   the   temple   you   pass   signs   of   108   translated   works   spoken by   the   Buddha,,   cross   the   ‘Bridge   of   Heaven’   up   the   108   stone   stairs to   the   main   temple   where   you   see   108   small   stupas   and   the   108 prayer wheels placed around the temple.

Chinggis Statue

We   drove   to   the   remarkable   Chinggis   statue   at   Tsonjin   Boldog near   Erdene,   54km   east   of   Ulaanbaator.   We   went   in   a   lift   and then   climbed   up   inside   and   along   the   exterior   staircase   which runs   up   the   mane   of   the   horse   to   a   viewpoint   overlooking   the Tuul River, Terelj & the hills of Khan Khentii - Chinggis' homeland.  It   is   on   top   of   a   visitor   centre,   itself   10   metres   (33   ft)   tall,   with   36 columns    representing    the    36    khans    from    Genghis    to    Ligdan Khan.   In   the   main   hall   is   a   huge   replica   of   Chinggis   Khan’s   boot   the same size as the stainless steel boots on Chinggis’s feet. Built   in   2008,   for   the   800th   anniversary   of   the   founding   of   the Mongol   Empire,   the   Chinggis   Khan   Statue   is   built   out   of   250   tons of   stainless   steel,   it   is   40m   tall   (including   the   base)   and   depicts the    renowned    Mongolian    leader    on    horseback,    at    the    point where   -   according   to   legend   -   he   found   a   golden   whip   and   took   it to   mean   that   he   was   destined   to   become   a   great   leader.   The statue   is   symbolically   pointed   east   towards   his   birthplace.   It   is currently the largest equestrial statue in the world.

Chinggis Kahn - Founder of the Mongolian Empire

At   his   birth   in   1162,   the   land   of   Tumüjin’s   (Chinggis’s   childhood name)    childhood    was    occupied    by    numerous,    often    warring nomadic   tribes.   Part   of   Chinggis’s   legacy   is   uniting   these   tribes under   one   rule   and   in   the   process   creating   a   national   identity   for the Mongolian people. Chinggis   Kahn   proclaimed   himself   ruler   of   all   who   live   in   the   cir - cular,   felt-covered   tents   called   gers   that   were   the   homes   of   these nomadic   people,   he   was   laying   claim   to   the   largest   contiguous land   mass   ever   to   fall   under   one   empire.   At   its   height   the   Mon - golian   Empire   stretched   from   eastern   Europe   through   much   of China   and   Southeast   Asia   all   the   way   to   the   shores   of   the   Pacific Ocean.   It   was   one   of   the   largest   Empires   in   history.   Chinggis Khan died at the age of 65 in August, 1227.