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    Posted April 19, 2013 by
    JuleeK
    Location
    Erdene Zuu, Mongolia
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Travel photo of the day

    More from JuleeK

    Erdene Zuu Monastery

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     JuleeK hopes her photos of various scenes from the Erdene Zuu monastery inspire others to learn more about Mongolia -- a country she considers herself fortunate to have visited. Her last image was featured as CNN's Travel Photo of the Day for June 26, 2013.
    - alexislai, CNN iReport producer

    As part of a tour to Mongolia, I got the chance to visit Erdene Zuu, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located near the town of Kharkhorin. Buddhist monasteries are far and few between in Mongolia so getting to visit one is a privilege. I had already been to a couple of other Tibetan Buddhist monasteries but Erdene Zuu was the largest and most well known of them all. It was also where I got to listen to monks chanting!

     


    During the Communist regime in Mongolia, which didn’t end until 1990, hundreds of monasteries were destroyed and thousands of monks were killed. Devout Buddhists could only pray in private. Monasteries that survived destruction were left in varying states of disrepair and that neglect is still evident today.

     

    As I walked around the expansive complex of Erdene Zuu, I was saddened to see the poor exterior conditions of the temples and other structures though you could make out every inch of the distinctive and beautiful Tibetan Buddhist architecture. Every façade looked like it could have done with a bit spackling and painting. In contrast, it was obvious that the interior rooms of Erdene Zuu and decorations (murals, religious icons) had been well taken care of. The best part is that the monks and pilgrims have returned to the monasteries and Erdene Zuu was bustling with religious activity.

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