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Damoko is a ruin of a Buddhist temple in the middle of a semidesert 2,5 hours drive east of Hutan. It is said to be the world’s smallest temple only 4,5 square meters. Here are two pictures showing what is left from the temple.
It is about 1500 years old, but has been buried in sand most of the time. It was found by a man who was looking for firewood. Living in a semidesert means that firewood is a scarce resource. He saw this root sticking out of the sand and a root is a firstclass material for fire. You can see the root on the wall behind the temple on the picture to the right. He started to dig and soon came down to walls with decorations. He realized that this was more than firewood so he told the authorities and they made this small museum in 2008.
Here are some of the wall paintings. All the interior walls were decorated and the style was typical Indian. Her you can see the halo around some of the holy men’s head. Some of us wondered if that was an influence from Christianity, but it is the other way around. The first found halos are from Scythian graves several hundred years BC. From there or from Persia who depicted the god Mithra with a halo, the Bhuddists picked it up and then the Christians in the fourth century. Another non-silk result from the Silk Road.
I was actually quite surprised how this tiny temple moved me. It was touching to see. I wondered why so small, was it only for one person, for one family or what? And the decorations, so many hours and why? Somehow this is the one place I remember best from the whole trip, it made a bigger impression than all the mosques we saw. I still wonder why.