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- This article is about a location, for the episode, see The Southern Air Temple
The Southern Air Temple was one of the four temples of the Air Nomads, and one of the two, the other being the Northern Air Temple, exclusively housing male Airbenders. Its population was however wiped out at the beginning of The War during the Air Nomad Genocide. The temple is notable for being the childhood home of the current Avatar, Aang.
Located in the remote Patola Mountain Range (Air Nomad Territory), the Southern, Jongmu Air Temple, supposedly only accessible via Flying Bison, was the boyhood home of the current Avatar, Aang, and his father-like mentor, Monk Gyatso.
The Temple was raided early in the war during Fire Lord Sozin's genocide on the Air Nomads. The sole known survivor of the massacre was the very person the Fire Nation sought to kill in its quest for supremacy: the twelve-year-old Airbender and Avatar, Aang, who had run away from the Southern Air Temple shortly before the war began and became trapped in suspended animation. He has since revived and begun a quest to restore balance and peace to the warring nations.
The temple is large and peaceful, has an Air Ball arena, and is also where the "Air Scooter" was first invented by Aang. It also has an Air Temple Sanctuary in which reside numerous statues of past Avatars. It is unknown whether this is unique to the Southern Air Temple. The temple itself primarily served as a training ground for Airbender students. Once inhabited by Flying Bison and Winged-Lemurs in the days of the monks, it is now barren and abandoned by humans and animals alike. As a result of being built for and by the monks, several of the temples' doors and mechanisms are operable only through means of airbending. A statue of Monk Gyatso stands at the entrance to the temple. Unlike the other three temples, the Southern Temple's spires are blue, instead of green.
While other nations possess royalty and are run by monarchies, the Air Nomads are led by the monks of the Air Temples, i.e. by a theocracy.
The Air Nomads are the only nation comprised entirely of benders, due to the highly spiritual nature of their lives. It is said that meditation was an important part of the Airbenders' daily routines, as it helped them to focus their energies and understand the potency of their element.
It has been mentioned that they have a good sense of humor, a fact shown when Monk Gyatso employed a unique teaching method when tutoring Aang with his Airbending skills — accurately blowing fruit pies onto other monks' heads.
The arrow on an Airbender's head signifies that he or she has mastered Airbending. This is an emulation of the natural arrows on the heads of Flying Bison, animals revered by the Air Nomads who can naturally Airbend and are believed to be the inspiration for the first Airbenders. As seen in the episode "The Storm," apprentice Airbenders have no tattoos. In order to receive the tattoos as well as the title of a master, an Airbender must pass the thirty-six levels of airbending along with engendering a new technique. In actuality, Aang had only reached the thirty-fifth level before he left the Jongmu Temple, his invention of the Air Scooter earned him the tattoos prematurely, making him the youngest airbending master in history.
Natural resources and foodsEdit
As could be determined, air is the main and most significant power source and natural resource of the Nomads, as without it they would be rendered powerless. With the power of air channeled under their control, the Airbenders were enabled to defend and protect their homes and way of life and travel across the globe.
The Air Nomads were a tranquil and environmentally friendly race of people and did their best not to leave a mark on the land. Any industry that they engendered, such as farming and gardening, were powered naturally. They also produced their own food.
Air Nomads are also vegetarians, as are the modern monks of Tibet. This is suggested by Aang's words when he said he didn't eat meat in "The King of Omashu," as well as other various episodes.