Friday, June 04, 2004

Don't try this at home! (That's the Prime Minister of Mongolia on the right, looking particularly transfixed.)
As you are probably aware June 3, the day of the full moon, was also Saga Dawa on the Tibeto-Mongolian calendar. This is the day on which the Buddha’s birth, Enlightenment, and Paranirvana are celebrated. For more information see Saga Dawa.

Janraisig Temple at Gandan

Several thousand people turned up at Gandan Monastery in Ulaan Baatar, certainly the biggest crowd I have ever seen there. The Prime Minister, the head of Gandan Monastery, Lama Zopa, the head of the world-wide Buddhist organization FPMT, and hosts of other dignitaries were present.

Dignitaries speechifying

Scale model of a new 40 foot high statue planned for a hilltop near Gandan

Close-up the proposed statue. This will be the new highlight of the UB skyline.

Of course no event in Mongolia is complete without a contortionist:

In Mongolia as elsewhere it isn’t over until the abundantly endowed lady sings . . . Lama Zopa, middle, in the background, looks especially pleased with the view.