rural-naadam-winning-horse

Yokhor Naadam Festival

Introduction

The very colorful Yokhor Naadam in Batshireet features horse races, national wrestling and the Buryatian style of archery. It is one of unique events of the of the Buryat nation.  Buryat people will arrive from the Russian part. The Buryats ancestral lands is across the border on the eastern lakeside of Lake Baikal and the Sayan Mountains. Buryats remain in Russia, around Lake Baikal, while some migrated into Mongolia during the Stalinist years in the 1930s.  Since then, the living cultural heritage of the Burayts remains more intact in Mongolia compared to Russia.

The objective of the Yokhor festival is to keep and protect the Buryat culture, traditional customs and transfer these to the next generation. Yokhor is a Buryatian dance. Chorus singers move faster and faster and then the round dance transforms into a jump. The participants of the festival compete with their dance, songs, and their national clothes which show the unique feature of the Buryat nation.

Trip Details
Yokhor Naadam Festival
6 Days / 5 Nights

Trip Details

Itinerary

1/ Monday 17 July: To Rashaant Khad

Drive for a full day northeast out from Ulaanbaatar. For 200 km on a tarmac road crossing the Herlen River, after which we enter the Khentii province.  Picnic lunch will be provided on the way. You might see lots of cranes and some Great Bustards on the way. There are 6 different species of cranes in Mongolia. The Demoiselle Crane is the smallest and most common. The Great Bustard is the heaviest flying bird in the world. It is large and heavy like a Border Collie. It is rare.  We will visit to Rashaant Khad which is a giant boulder. There are petroglyphs here dating back 40 000 years ago. I.e. early Stone Age. While most of the archaeological findings remains are underground, these are found on the giant boulders. The spring emits drops out from the bolder, hence its name Rashaant Khad, the rock of the spring in Mongolian. It is in traditional medicine believed to heal eye disorders, for which locals visit still today.  From ancient time the nomads have been worshipping this place.  Rashaant Khad is only one place where mammoth was depicted on the stone in vertical position.  You will spend your first night at mobile camp.

2/ Tuesday 18 July: To Batshireet via Öglögch Wall

We will start by paying our respects at Binder Ovoo, a sacred cairn. We will continue to Öglögch Wall. This wall is also known as ancestor’s Almsgivers Wall.  The length of the wall is 3 km.  Some scholars dates it back to Hunnu times, which is possibly until 200 BC. The wall is 3 meters high, and 2½ meters of width. It is made completely of round stones. The Russian archaeologist Kondratiev excavated the site in 1926. Some archaeologists suppose that this wall may be a burial place of Great kings, such as Genghis Khan or Khubilai Khan. Between 2003-2005, Mongolian-American joint expedition team “Genghis Khan” discovered around 60 tombs near the wall. We will enjoy our lunch here. After lunch we will drive to Batshireet located at the Eg River, a tributary of the larger Onon River. Batshireet is a Buryat village with log cabin houses similar to the Siberian ancient style. 2500 people live in this community.

3-4/ 19/20 July: Yokhor Naadam at Batshireet

The Opening Ceremony of the “Yokhor” festival will take place at the small square of Batshireet. We will spend the full two days on the festival.  There will be Mongolian wrestling, horse races and competition in Buryatian style of archery. Local games. In one of the afternoons there will be a school kids horse race on 2 year old horses, as well as children’s wrestling. In the evenings there will be music and dance performances. This festival is mainly a local Buryat festival, but it will likely have Buryats coming from the Russian side as well. There will also be ankle bone shooting.

5/ Friday 21 July: To Hangal Lake via Baldan Bereeven

We will now drive 150km back southwest towards Ulaanbaatar, and today spend time at the dramatic location of the Baldan Bereeven Monastery. It is a Gelugpa /Yellow Hat/ Buddhist monastery, located in the Baruun Jargalant River Valley.  The foundation of the monastery was made by Tseveendorj lama in 1654. The monastery grew to become one of the largest in Mongolia. There was up to 8000 monks in th3e 19th century. Architecturally, resembling the famous Utai Gumben monastery in Tibet. By 1850 when the main temple was remodeled, Baldan Bereeven reached its peak as a teaching monastery. It contained four separate colleges and more than twenty temples.

Nowadays Baldan Bereeven Monastery has three restored temples and nearly 50 temple ruins, stupas and other religious structures. There are also many rock paintings, stone carvings with different images of Buddhist gods, inscriptions of religious mantras. Our camp support crew will have gone ahead and set up camp by the pristine small Hangal Lake, where we will overnight.

6/ Saturday 22 July: To Ulaanbaatar

Our mobile camp is now packed up and we will drive for 5 hours back to Ulaanbaatar. We will eventually come to the eastern trunk road and drive west until the Chinggis Khan Monument, the largest equestrian statue in the world.  Genghis was born in the land of the Buryats, either at Binder or Dadal. Arrive at your hotel.

yokhor-naadam-festival-map
Gallery
Prices

PRICE 2018 ex Ulaanbaatar:

USD 1850 per person (2/6 members)

Single Supplement: USD 200 per person

Includes:

Local guide, all meals outside Ulaanbaatar, all overnights in Tentipi tents. All surface transport and entrance fees.

Excludes:

Imported drinks. Transfers, meals and hotel nights in Ulaanbaatar are excluded, and may be added to our services.

Practicalities

Practicalities:

Transport:

This journey is supported by a jeep or minibus. There is tarmac road two thirds of the distance.  The rest is on dirt road tracks.

Staff:

A Mongolian English-speaking local guide will accompany you at all times. Driver and cook.

Meals:

The meals will be provided by our cook who bring out all the provisions for this trip.

Overnights:

Overnights are in double occupancy Tentipi tents. WC and showers are in tents.

Options:

It is possible to upgrade tentipi tents to Mongolian gers. Please enquire!

What our guests say

We appreciate your feedback about our tours and services.

  • Living the mongolian way

    Great place to stay and experience mongolian way of living, no tv, wifi, phone. Just nature and great company of the staff and livestocks of mongolia. The toilet is a hole in the ground covered by a shed. It is clean, but can be smelly to those used to city life. Not hot water supply, inform the staff that you like to hot water half an hour earlier so that they can boil it over camel dung 🙂

    5 star rating

    joycel
  • Living the mongolian way

    Great place to stay and experience mongolian way of living, no tv, wifi, phone. Just nature and great company of the staff and livestocks of mongolia. The toilet is a hole in the ground covered by a shed. It is clean, but can be smelly to those used to city life. Not hot water supply, inform the staff that you like to hot water half an hour earlier so that they can boil it over camel dung 🙂

    5 star rating

    joycel

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