How did he manage to go there when you should have a flying bison to go there?

In the wiki page for Pathik they said:

Pathik took up residence in the Eastern Air Temple. Many years prior to Aang's liberation from the iceberg, he experienced a vision of one day helping the Avatar.

Guru Pathik himself said to Appa:

I have been expecting you and the young avatar for quite a long time. I had a vision many years a go of helping him. That's why I came to the Eastern air temple.

Second book episode sixteen

So that means he wasn't there all his time.

And Avatar Aang himself says:

You don't understand Katara. The only way to get to the Airbender temple is on Flying bison, and I doubt the Fire nation has any flying bison.

First book episode three

But they really didn't say how he can go there, in old time, he can go there with his friends on a flying bison but without one, how could he?

Did he have a power to levitate? But he is no Airbender. He knew how to do it BTW, he tried to learn Avatar Aang to let his attachment to get in avatar state. And Zaheer manage to get this power because he wanted it, did this make Guru Pathik have the same power because he wanted it?

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    Not familiar with the source, so not an answer.... but someone knowing (or thinking) there's only one way to get somewhere doesn't mean its true, and in real life, with a bit of equipment, people have climbed many difficult cliffs without flying bison.
    – Megha
    Commented Jan 25, 2018 at 3:26
  • @Megha +1 for the climbing idea, he might suffer to reach the temple but the gurus didn't care about suffering, thanks for the idea. Commented Jan 25, 2018 at 3:56
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    Maybe that's what aang assume as a kid or was told, maybe there are other pathways and so on. Commented May 27, 2018 at 12:54

3 Answers 3


You don't understand Katara. The only way to get to the Airbender temple is on Flying bison, and I doubt the Fire nation has any flying bison

And yet the Air Nomads were killed by the Fire Nation in 0 AG

However, its population was wiped out during the Air Nomad Genocide in 0 AG

Source: Eastern Air Temple

If I recall Aang's comment to Katara was his hopeful optimism that there had to be Air Benders left. Because he though that the only way into the Eastern Air Temple was by flying bison then the Air Nomads at the Eastern Air Temple, at the very least, were safe.

So how did Guru Pathik get there? We don't know for sure but we know the place is scaleable to non-Air Benders as shown in The Legend of Korra Book 2 - Spirits when Tenzen, Kya and Bumi are looking for Ikki after she runs away. While Tenzen is an Air Bender and Kya a Water Bender Bumi isn't a Bender and the 3 were going down the paths outside the main temple grounds long into the night as Ikki was found the following morning in a cave so it would suggest they were going down for a good while.

Also despite it being Aang's home neither he nor Tenzen knew about the Meditation circle:

The meditation circle is located some distance from the main temple. The area was not known by the Air Acolytes, and due to its neglect, there was an overgrowth of vegetation and reduced spiritual connections.

And in the Trivia's 3rd point:

Along with the other three ancient air temples, the Eastern Air Temple was restored to its former glory by Avatar Aang

Yet as quoted above the circle was neglected, needed cleansing and it took Jinora leading the group (who was being led by dragonfly bunny spirits) to find it as it would have been Tenzen's first choice of mediation spot when he was training Korra.

Also finally we see in a flashback the Eastern Air Temple in flames:

Burning Eastern Air Temple

And while not entirely clear I would say that the positions of where the fire is coming out from and the lack of smaller fires further down would suggest more that the Fire Nation got into the temple themselves.

Also as Ellesedil as pointed out in the comments, there is also the Northern Air Temple which during the events of The Last Airbender Book 1 Episode 17 "The Northern Air Temple" where a group of Non-Benders (particularly Earth Kingdom Refugees) who, without flying bison, was able to take up residence and even got into the Air temple sanctuary which was supposed to only be unlockable by a master Air Bender.

During the episode we also see the Fire Nation attacks the temple with a combination of foot soldiers and Tundra tanks1 and we see that the foot soldiers don't have too much of a problem climbing the slopes as such, just as Ellesedil said "Presumably, climbing is always an option"

This shows us that Aang's comment was just optimism as he doesn't know everything about the Western Air Temple and what happened there.

Also given the amount of time that passed between Aang first revisiting the temple in Book 1 to Appa appearing their after he was separated having been kidnapped by the Sand Benders, it's not out of the realm of possibility that Guru Pathik found some out of the way path that allowed him to scale the mountains into the temple, is not the same path used by the Fire Nation when they killed the Air Benders, if not having climbed himself.

1: The wikia page says the tanks were created in the late stages of the Hundred Year War. Since it was Air Nomad Genocide which actually sparked the War (it was this event which lead the Water Tribes and Earth Kingdom to declare war against the Fire Nation) we can assume that these tanks were never used to siege the Temples.

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    @MohammedAlhanafi it was my understanding that the Fire Nation Airships didn't come about until after the events at the Northern Air Temple in the series where The Mechanist invented the first airship which the Fire Nation recovered after it crashed and then shown to have been improved upon in Book 3
    – Memor-X
    Commented Jan 25, 2018 at 4:07
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    A more interesting reference would be the non-benders that took up residence in an air temple who utilized gliders to "fly" around, although I don't think we're told how they got into the temple then either. The Fire Nation invaded the air temples with heavy-duty grappling hooks mounted to miniature tanks. There were also ground troop formations climbing up the side of the mountain that Aang attacked by dropping banks of snow on to them and with various bombs dropped by the non-benders using their gliders. Presumably, climbing is always an option.
    – Ellesedil
    Commented Jan 25, 2018 at 4:32
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    For clarity, I'm referring to the events in Book One episode 17 "The Northern Air Temple", where we witness an actual Fire Nation attack on an air temple before they acquired airships.
    – Ellesedil
    Commented Jan 25, 2018 at 4:35
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    @MohammedAlhanafi: Unless you can cite a source for that claim, I'm not convinced. The temple was self-sufficient so there would be little need for the refugees living there to leave. Also, they had to get up there in the first place. And it will have needed to be relatively easy in order for an entire community to make the trip up.
    – Ellesedil
    Commented Jan 25, 2018 at 4:46
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    @Ellesedil well there was the Fire Nation as War Minister Qin had to enter and leave himself right (i seem to recall a steam lift)? but that's a moot anyway since anything built by the refugees for easier access to and from the temple came after they arrived and long after the Air Nomads were killed off
    – Memor-X
    Commented Jan 25, 2018 at 5:17

In the first Kyoshi novel (Avatar, The Last Airbender: The Rise Of Kyoshi) Avatar Kyoshi hikes up to one of the air temples with a group of non-benders that were about to take refuge at the temple. This show that there are trails up to the air temples accessible enough for just about anyone to enter.

Kyoshi had waited until her friends left before making her move, wanting to spare them of the chaos that would ensue after her unveiling. The Air Nomads often accepted pilgrims from the other nations, letting them stay at the monasteries and nunneries on a temporary basis. With Jianzhu no longer darkening her life, she simply joined a group of ragged travelers hiking up the mountain to the Southern Air Temple.

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    If true this does answer the question, but since it directly contradicts a quote in the question you should include this quote.
    – DavidW
    Commented Oct 3, 2020 at 4:28
  • I've taken the liberty of adding in the quote you were referring to (and a link to the precise book)
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 3, 2020 at 8:36

I would suggest the possibility that Aang was more thinking of in mass groups. If we think about this realistically, there is a huge difference between what one person can do with enough effort and a large group can do. The larger size of a group causes specific problems with getting people all at once so they might have required air bisons for that but as pointed out by other climbing and scalling could be done on a solo trip. To be hoenst as well compared with the other temples it also seems like the most easiest to get to so it is also no wonder both guru and the fire nationw were able to get to it especially when we compare it to ones like the literally upside down western temple

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. This seems speculative, and at best suggests how Guru Pathik might have gotten there, not how he did.
    – DavidW
    Commented Jul 6, 2020 at 3:31

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