The simple secret of Die – Hard Nomads

Mongolian’s seemingly simple nomadic lifestyle is enriched by the philosophy of loving in harmony with the natural environment. Each and every symbolic act of nomads – be it a greeting, paying respect, telling a legend or singing an epic, – inevitably has deep symbolism and meaning. Add to that the melodic double tone coming from human vocal cords and the steppes filled with distinct long songs that will send shivers down your spine. Mongolia in the 21st century is a rare and unique land existing in a modern world while managing to a preserver a harmonious relationship between man and nature.

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Origins of Mongolians

horsemenIf you asked a Mongolian, “Are you a descendant of Burte Chono and Gua Maral?” They would probably agree with a nod and a vague smile. Of course, they know they are agreeing with a mythological belief, but these ideas have been inherited from their ancestors. To most Mongolians, a wolf is not just another animal, but a spirit of nature and men. The deer is an aesthetic expression of beauty and has strong ties to early shamanism beliefs. The historical roots of Mongolians are best explained in the 1204 AD text The Secret History of Mongols:

“The ancestors of Chinggis Khaan – Burte Chono”(meaning grey wolf) and his wife Gua Maral (meaning a beautiful deer), came sailing across the ocean and settled in Mount Burkhan Haldun, at the spring of the Onon river and gave birth to a boy named Battsagaan.” 

Thousands of years later, the existence of Mongolian nomads is as complicated to understand as the myths surroundings their origin.

These longstanding beliefs can be seen on deer stones that date back to the Bronze Age and still standing today in Mongolia. On many Mongolian and Southern Baikal (an area that includes east Russia) style deer stones, the deer are portrayed as a heavenly messenger flying up to the sky. This style of carving stands out with its intricate detail and vivid fantasy. There are about 700 deer stones in the world. About 600 of those are in Mongolia and are easily accessible to tourists.


Origins of Mongolians Mongolians & the Nomadic lifestyle

dairy products of MongoliaThere are many stories of tourist being overwhelmed by the unreserved and openhearted hospitality of the people who are maybe best known for once dominating half of the world. However, if you look deeper into their spirit, you will witness how strong, stern nomadic men can be moved to tears by their race horses rushing to finish line. How they sing and play music for a mother camel that has rejected her calf until she accepts it once more. How women sing to their domestic animals to calm them while milking them.

It is astounding how the tough, rustic Mongolian nomads – who survive such harsh climates – show tender care towards animals, plants, and each other. Have you heard of any other people who have designed their boots with soft, wide, curved soles to avoid hunting seedlings? These are secrets hidden deep inside the simplicity of their lives.


Source: Mongolia brochure by Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism of Mongolia

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