Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Wonders of the Winter Palace of the Last Bogd Khan


Mongolia is predominantly a Buddhist country and Ulaan Baatar has some lovely Buddhist temples. Recently a friend from Australia came for a visit and I had the opportunity to visit one that has become my favourite. 

 The Winter Palace of the last Bogd Khan...
the last Emperor of Mongolia ( so to speak).
Sounds very "Indiana Jones" doesn't it?  Kind of felt that way too.

It is truly amazing and has one of the coolest museums I've ever been to.  But first...the monastery...



I love the snow on the adoring deer.  Some day I will even find out why every Buddhist temple has these deer gazing adoringly at the wheel.  I am sure there is a lovely explanation....I just don't have it at the moment. And, if you have been paying attention you will have noticed that I am seriously far behind in my blog posting, so I am not taking the chance on getting distracted by looking it up.  One of you guys help me out, look it up and let me know.. ok?
I have to confess to being a fan of this style of door handles.  All of the monasteries have them, but not usually this big!

Really lovely architecture.  

How can I be a good guard lion if you guys won't clean the snow off my eyes!!


Inside the residence ( read "palace") of the last Bogd Khan were where all the real treasures were to be found...
The throne has one cushion for each of the 25 regions he ruled over...I really really really wanted to put a pea at the bottom...
And being an Emperor requires, of course, golden clothes...
No, I mean it... GOLD clothes!  I was assured by the curator of this wing ( or maybe it was just some guy wearing an official-looking outfit) that this fabric really is gold...

Wild.
This was the actual "throne" for official business.  It looks very impressive...but when you get up close, maybe not that comfortable!


And guess what this is??  No, really.  Guess.


I couldn't figure it out either at first...now have a look at the whole outfit this brass detail is from ...
Still no ideas?  Maybe this will help....

It turns out the Bogd Khan had an elephant that he liked to ride in parades and at other state functions.  And , well, elephants in parades need decorations and hats too...that's what the previous pictures was -  Mongolian elephant bling.  I love this museum!!




Just for a little more random detail, the museum also has a very varied collection of stuffed birds, animals, snakes, fish ..etc. etc..all from around the turn of the century.  The 20th century that is.. ie. 1901.


Yes, this is me with a collection of very long since dead animals...in a variety of forms.  Including the dome shaped dead animals....

My favourite thing in the museum.  A leopard skin ger.  Seriously.  150 animals gave their lives for this and I just had to have a feel.  Very soft and velvety.  I think this would definitely win if there was ever a reality show entitled Pimp My Ger!!


Well, that was about it for the museum.  

One more quick paddle around the adjoining Monastery and into some of the "museum" rooms in the various wings... lovely stuff.  Lots of it.  Here's a few of my favourites.






Everywhere inside of the monastery the ceilings were these amazing painted squares...

...and then it was on to the Chojin Lama Temple and museum...
....but that's another blog post.