The Tamgaly Tas, which translated from the Kazakh language “stones with signs”, is located in Kazakhstan 170 km from Almaty city on the Ili River. Rocks of the natural boundary preserved a lot of petroglyphs, images of mysterious deities as well as late Buddhist inscriptions. The most famous are the images of Buddha. Despite drawings date back to the XIV–XVI centuries, it was also found the delicate Tibetan inscriptions. In total, there are eighteen rocks with signs. If you want to visit this Buddhist sanctuary in the open air, rent a car and explore it with flexibility and comfort.
There are many legends about the origin of Buddhist drawings, and one of them says that the Buddhist mission left the pictures in the X century after a strong earthquake. A large piece of rock fell to the ground forming a kind of river crossing. This phenomenon was regarded as sign of bless from Gods and they return to India leaving three images of Buddha on the broken off peace of rock.
On the central rock of the Tamgaly the image of Arya Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva is depicted, to which one of the most famous Buddhist mantras "Om Mani Padme Hum" is dedicated. There is an inscription meaning in translation: "I worship St. Avalokiteshvara." To the right to it, at a height of four meters there is an image of Shakyamuni Buddha and next to it is another inscription – “Bow to Shakyamuni Buddha” and to the left – a carved image of Mangla Burhan – deities of healing.
No matter have you tour for self-drive or prepared tour by tour operator in order to get Tamgaly complex of Kazakhstan you need to pass by car for rent the Kapshagai reservoir, the river bed of which goes through a rocky canyon up to 300 m deep in some places. A steppe extends along the left bank of Ili, passing south into the Moyynkum desert.
The most favorable time for including Tamgaly-Tas in your tour is spring and autumn, when it is already warm, but not so hot. In addition, in March–April and October–November there are no annoying mosquitoes.