Another stop on our trip to see Amarbayasgalant was a short stop at Eej Mod (aka Mother Tree), not too far south of the northern border town of Sukhbaatar. The tree was impressive and lovely, especially in a country with few trees, and we went at a time when the light was perfect. Well worth the drive off the main road. We learned about it through Lonely Planet: “Locals frequently come here to pray to the spirits that inhabit the trees; a rite that predates Buddhism. According to shamanic beliefs, the spirits have the power to grant wishes (on the condition that the devotee visits three times).” As Tom said, it’s the opposite of a genie in a bottle, so we’ll have to go back two more times.
When we got to the site, there was an enclosed area where people were walking along the circular fence and offering (sprinkling) milk as they went. It looked like there was a space in the middle where you can give offerings as well. Then, a little behind that was the Eej Mod, draped in fabric and with her own separate fence enclosure. I have never seen so many dogs just hanging out though. There were puppies too. So cute. I’m not sure, but I’m thinking they benefit from the offerings — I did see one guy pour his extra milk into a bowl. Also, a new thing I saw: the fences were completely lined with blocks of tea. It was like it was a tea wall instead of a wood fence.