Under a cloudless, turquoise-blue sky in radiant winter weather we resumed our journey to the north-east and E. N. E. over the open country with its shallow undulations. We drove past flocks of white sheep, and herds of high-spirited horses that galloped after us until they were tired. Here and there one also saw cattle browsing, but camels were rare.
Through a sharp-cut valley one hundred meters in breadth we swept over the sand-bound ground to the little temple Arban-tabune-sume. Fifty lamas live here, though only twenty were at home. The temple has been erected in the Chinese style, it has a bell and three big prayer-wheels and a rather characteristic hall supported by six carved and painted columns. It was well provided with everything belonging to a complete temple. We took photographs and made notes, afterwards driving on, still to the north-east, past a couple of small villages with the indispensable heaps of dried manure that is used as fuel. We stopped only on finding ourselves before the main entrance to another temple.
Boro-tologoin-sume, The Temple of the Grey Hill, comprises a main temple and smaller side-pavilions grouped around a stone-paved courtyard, which seems to be the usual arrangement for temples here. It is built in the Chinese style with a tastefully arched tile-roof on which are the wheel of doctrine and the two gazelle figures. The main hall, Choksum-dugun, boasted forty-eight magnificent, round, red-lacquered pillars, elegantly carved with winding dragons. Between them stood eight rows of low divans, covered with beautiful little square mats, on which the lamas recline during the reading of the mass. Every row comprised twenty seats.
Behind and before the altar-table and between the pillars hung numerous old draperies of silk in the form of long, narrow, parti-coloured strips and triangles, while at the sides one saw the decorative musical instruments — the great trumpets of copper and twenty-five enormous drums.
A nearby brook, the Gongrokin-gol, has been named after one of the gods of the left side-pavilion, Gongrok. In the lodge sit the usual four spirit-kings or guardians, who with terrifying weapons in their hands protect the sacred rooms from evil spirits and other dangers.
Boro-tologoin-sume was the temple that appealed most strongly to us for our purpose. It was something of this sort that I had had in mind to give the Christian