Footprints in MONGOLIAN GOBI
The clay from the former shores, hills, and soil of the Cretaceous period look like they are on fire during sunrise and sunset. You may feel like you’re one different planet. Really through, you’re in the Mongolian Gobi desert. Dinosaur fossils from millions of years ago still remain here. Most are small and often hidden by Saxual forests, which are ubiquitous with the Gobi, so you may pass them by without noticing. Desert plants dry but capable of coming to life in an overnight rain, are also unique to the Gobi. Though the golden sand won’t remember your steps once the wind blows, the footprint of the Gobi desert will stay in your heart forever.
Riding a Bactrian camel, also called as “the ship of the sand dunes” and “living dinosaurs,” is a must–do in the Gobi. Also, the Gobi offers some fun activities like surfing the sand dunes and searching for dinosaur fossils and eggs.
Land of Sky Worshipers NORTHERN MONGOLIA
Northern Mongolia it is a home to the tall mountains of Khangai and Sayan, Khuvsgul lake that shimmers like a border-less blue pearl, Darkhad Tsenkher depression (a huge valley of rivers flowing from high mountains), and deer stones. The Taiga’s nomads, reindeer herders by trade, live here. In the deep forests of the mountains they worship the sky and nature. The Khotgoid ethnic group whose pride is their fast-flowing Tes river, Khalkh people who worship their picturesque mountains, and the hard working Darkhad people all live in this area.
The Blue Pearl of the north – LAKE HUVSGUL
Mongolia is part of the Amur river basin that contains more than 300 rivers and 26 large lakes. The seemingly boundless Khuvsgul lake, which Mongolians call “Mother Sea”, has a secret trail that you can walk along. The lake is 2 million years old and makes up 0.4 % of the world’s fresh water reserve. Its deepest point is 262 meters. During sunset, the lake looks like a clear mirror. When the sun rises the lake sparkles like the colors of the rainbow. Khuvsgul is the deepest and largest fresh water lake in Mongolia.
Taiga Nomads – Reindeer Herders: Tsaatan people or Reindeer riders who have unique traditions and lifestyles live in the northern boundary of Mongolia, in the basin of the Tengis, Sharga, and Shishged rivers and in the mountains of the Jams and Ulaan Taiga. They are far away from civilization and the progress of the modern world, herding their reindeer in deep forests, where it’s +27’C in summer and -55’C to -60’C in winter. They originated from Uighurs, who lived in the great Tagna and Soyon taiga. Over the generations, they created this nomadic lifestyle. One of authentic heritages of their culture is the “urts”, their traditional dwelling, made of larch wood, covered by reindeer skin and bark.
Cradle of Mongol Empire – CENTRAL MONGOLIA
Central Mongolia was the heart of the Great Mongol Empire. The vast grasslands of Central Mongolia is where the first official capital, Karakorum, was founded in the 13th century. This place was home to ancient people who engraved rocks and deer stones to document their lifestyle.
There are many beautiful places to visit and attractions to see including Erdene-Zuu monastery from 15th century with its 108 stupas in Karakorum, Khorgo volcano – a wonder of volcano, Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake – heaven of birds, Hustai national park – home to wild Przewalski horse Takhi, Tsenkher Hot springs – natural spa, Bichigtiin Khad rock – ancient gallery of art, Orkhon valley – natural heritage of humanity & UNESCO world heritages site which consists of ruins of Karakorum city, Khushuu Tsaidam monument – stone statue with inscriptions dedicated to Bilge Khan of the ancient Turkic empire, ruin of Khar ancient city – capital of ancient Uigar Empire, Tuvkhun monastery – majesty in solicitude, Ulaan Tsugtgalan waterfall and many more ancient crave mounds, deer stones, rock drawings.
Diversity in Harmony WESTERN MONGOLIA
Western Mongolia has a unique combination of desert, steppe, taiga, tundra and mountains. This land is home to many ethnic groups that have lived together in harmony since ancient times. Diverse in wildlife and people, Western Mongolia has a rich history of traditional dances (biyelgee), throat singing (Khoomei), and tsuur (flute – like instrument) inherited from ancestors.
Roof of Mongolia – Altai Tavan Bogd Mountain
Altai TAban Bogd mountain of the Altai mountain range is located on the western edge of Mongolia and is the highest peak in the country. Mongolians call it “the roof of the country”. Altai Tavan Bogd has five peaks (tavan means five in Mongolian), which have three large interconnected glaciers. The largest is the Potanin Glacier, which is 14 km long. This area’s climate is extremely unpredictable. You may observe four seasons in one day: the sun will shine, but then it may snow or rain. In 1996, this area officially became protected Natural Park. Since 2012, the mountain range has been nationally sacred.
Home to Gobi Bear – Eej (Mother) Khairkhan Mountain
Eej Khairkhan is a unique formation located in Tsogt soum of Gobi – Altai province. The area has rich wildlife and rare birds such as partridges, Mongolian ground jays, and Great Bustards. The blue mountain of the desert is also home to the “never seen” Gobi bear-Mazaalai (officially registered as 14th species of bear in the world), wild Bactrian camel, drought-resistant saxual trees that absorb sunshine and thermal energy.
Primeval footprints of Khoid Tsenkheriin Cave
The walls and ceiling of Khoid Tsenheriin (Northern Blue), 25 km from Mankhan soum in Khovd province, is home to paintings by Central Asian tribes during the Palaeolithic Age. Large birds, camels, mammals, buffalo, and trees are painted with deer red and beige pigment. These animals inhabited Mongolian territory in ancient times, but are now extinct. The paintings’ content and composition make them an important part of Palaeolithic history and culture studies.
Cherished and loved tradition – Golden Eagles and Hunters
National Geographic photographer David Edwards dubbed golden eagles “dinosaurs with feathers”. This bird is special to the Kazakhs who live in the western boundaries of Mongolia. When you enter a Kazakh family’s house you first greet the Golden Eagle, also a member of the family, who will be sitting inside the house. When spotting prey, a Kazakh hunter takes the hood off golden Eagle and lets it fly. It’s amazing to see how the golden eagle and lets it fly.
Photo by Kevin A Pepper
Land of the Rising sun EASTERN MONGOLIA
Since ancient times, the endless steppe of the East has been home to the Khalkha, Buryat, Zakhchin, Barga and Uzemchin ethnic groups. They are proud of their land on the DAriganga Plateau, home of the legendary Chinggis Khaan. Delve and appreciate the beauty of Mongolia by watching the sun rise from the horizon – with horses breaking the silence of the morning with their neighs and the thundering sound of hundreds of gazelles galloping in the background Chinggis Khaan would visit this area after each if his war victories. It’s wonderful to imagine how by staring at the distant horizon, embracing the vast land with his eyes, he channelled power, wisdom, patience, and courage. The eastern Mongolian steppes are endless wit swaying, feathery grass. The reason why generations of nomadic Mongols have preserved and protected this untouched, virgin land future generations are perhaps because of their nomadic philosophy and understanding of nature. You could claim this is the wisdom of winning by waiting, not winning by forging ahead. These endless grasslands are a true treasure kept by nomads for humanity.
source: Mongolia brochure by Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism of Mongolia
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