This past weekend I went on a work retreat with the Nuclear Research Center folks. Last year, our retreat was at a ger camp near Tsojin Boldog, but this year we ventured much farther. We explored Khamariin Khiid, which is near Sainshand, Dornogovi located in the eastern Gobi.
We started our journey in the evening at the Ulaanbaatar train station and took a train on the Trans-Mongolian railway.
We arrived early the next morning – so early, one might call it still the previous night – in Sainshand. We took about an hour long ride to the entrance of Khamariin Khiid. Khamariin Khiid is a Buddhist temple founded by Danzanravjaa – a famous Mongolian Buddhist Monk. We got there just in time to see the sunrise, and women were already there offering milk to the skies.
The entrance area has a shrine dedicated to women (it is in the shape of a woman’s breasts). We (the ladies) walked around, tossing spoonful of milk on to it, tying on khadakh‘s, and sprinkling rice.
After stopping at this shrine, we set out stuff down at our accommodations, and went for a hike to go play on some nearby dunes.
We then went to Khamariin Khiid. When Mongolia became a satellite state of the former Soviet Union, many monasteries, including Khamariin Khiid, were burned down in the 1930′s. The monastery has been largely rebuilt, and this is what you see today:
We also visited Shambala – the energy center – discovered by Danzanravjaa.
That night, we had a wonderful dinner of khorkhog (fresh steamed mutton), salad, oranges, and many libations. It was a great way to end the day. The next day we did some more exploring in the area before taking the evening train back from Sainshand back to Ulaanbaatar. Just as I felt last year, it was such a different work retreat vibe than is typical of ones in the U.S. It was not formal or stuffy; it was more relaxed, FUN and a true adventure. I’m looking forward to the next year with the NRC folks. Thanks for including me and Joe on this trip!