21-May-2004 -- Following our farm visit (work) we the team drove for three hours to see the famous (in Mongolia) Orkhon waterfalls. As it turned out – they were dry! – three hours back again! 47N 104E lies just 15km from the main road from Kharkhorin to Ulaanbaatar so we had to take the opportunity! Most of the way was along good dirt roads but then we had a dilemma of how to cross a flat area of salt marsh – very lumpy and maybe an uncrossable river in the middle. We diverted to the nearest ger (also known on our travels as “mobile information centres”) and asked for advice. We were told to follow the road to the east of the marsh and indeed it led us all the way to the CP. The area is typical steppe – lots of grass – mostly brown – some small fresh water streams and a lot of salty marsh (but quite dry). There are many animals – sheep, goats and horses are most common throughout Mongolia while cattle, camels (2 humps) and yaks are more regional. The horses picture is taken later the same day.
Nearby the CP is a Buddhist monastery. Mongolia was strongly Buddhist before the revolution but in the 1930’s many thousands of monks were killed and monasteries destroyed. Some of the old monks must have terrible stories to tell of 70 years ago.
The monastery at Shankh was kept going in secret until the end of the socialist times (1990) and is now flourishing again.