We expected a quite, spiritual place tucked behind one of the golden hills. What we saw, was a giant phallic statue. ”Yes, it is, big penis statue. For the monks,” our guide Deegii informed us with a giddy smile on her face. Hu?
Apparently, the original statue (which is still standing, but is much more modest) was placed on the rolling hillside (said to resemble female genitalia) to remind the monks of Erdene Zuu to remain celibate.
What started as a less than conspicuous warning to the monks, morphed over the years to become a bastion for fertility. Ten years ago, the larger statue was constructed – “they need greater reminder these days.”
Today, Mongolians from all over the country, travel to the statue to increase fertility. Women, desiring to become pregnant, sit upon the old statue and pray before tying a blue prayer flag to a nearby Ovoo. Men, seeking to boost fertility, place their hands on the new statue while chanting quietly.
Though we were somewhat shell-shocked and confused by such an overt symbol of sexuality in what we had to come to find a very modest nation, it was clear that the intention was honest and good natured.