Source: The Los Angeles Times
In the crimson-painted interior of a monastery in central Mongolia, boys as young as 6 face one another cross-legged on benches and chant Tibetan Buddhist prayers that they barely understand.
Some fidget and get up every now and then to ladle bowls of fermented horse milk from a large metal vat. Their teachers occasionally call out directions.
The boys are at a three-month religious camp at the monastery, Shand Khiid. The oldest monk in residence is 97. A visiting sage from Tibet relaxes in a back room, watching sports on television.
According to a monk who showed a group of visitors around one recent day, the monastery guarded Genghis Khan's black flag of conquest until it was moved to Mongolia's National Museum of History in 1994. Four years earlier, the collapse of Soviet-bloc communism had led to the ouster of Mongolia's Communist Party.