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A guest of Eternal Landscapes taking a walk in the immensity of the landscapes of western Mongolia.
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Khentii Province – Eastern Mongolia

If you’re looking for solitude then Khentii Province in eastern Mongolia should come towards the top of your list. Due to the lack of a ‘touchable’ history is it easy to be persuaded that Mongolia is actually short on history. It is definitely not – Mongolia is an ancient land and has a rich and varied history. In a country that only offers a hint at the flow of peoples and the cultures that have preceded modern Mongolia, Khentii Province is the place to come to touch base with that history. 

The 3.2km Öglögchiin Kherem (Almsgiver’s Wall) in Khentii Province - Eastern Mongolia

The 3.2km Öglögchiin Kherem (Almsgiver’s Wall) – said to date from between the 8th to 10th centuries. The effort of the labour required to construct the wall suggests that it was an important site and excavations have unearthed around 60 graves thought to be a royal graveyard. There is a (so far unproven) theory that this may include the final resting place of Chinggis Khan although this remains hotly debated.

Khentii Province is named for the Khentii Mountains that dominate the north west of this north eastern province. Any journey through Khentii naturally focuses on  the history of Chinggis Khan as this is the region in which he was born and raised. Dadal is said to be the birthplace of Chinggis Khan. The Delguun Boldog monument / ovoo in Dadal was erected to commemorate the 750th anniversary of the writing of the Secret History of the Mongols and is said to be located at the birth spot of Chinggis – although this is debated. 

Buriat Community

Khentii Province is also home to one of Mongolia’s ethnic groups – the Buriats. Binder, Batshireet and Dadal occupy the territories of the culturally rich and traditional Buriat communities (whom also make their home in the areas to the east of Lake Baikal in Siberia). The Buriats typically live in log houses and this difference in architecture is what will strike you on entering the region. In all three communities you can purchase buriad bread and ‘khaliartai khuushuur’ – both (delicious!) specialities of the Buriat community.

Baldan Bereeven Khiid

The remote Baldan Bereeven Khiid Monastery in Khentii Province - eastern Mongolia.

The remote Baldan Bereeven Khiid Monastery in Khentii Province – eastern Mongolia. It is a tough drive to get here so don’t just come for an hour. Stay a day and make the most of the tranquillity.

Baldan Bereeven Khiid was one of Mongolia’s most influential monasteries until  destroyed in the Stalinist political purges of the 1930’s. This would have been the centre of local life for a population whose faith and devotion more than made up for the simplicity and the challenging remote life-style. This remote little visited monastery has a ‘kora’ – a circumambulation around the site that the resident monks prior to the purges used to take. It’s a type of pilgrimage and meditative practise in Tibetan Buddhism and this one takes you through peaceful woodland and has the option to include some incredible view points out over the surrounding countryside.

Onon-Balj National Park

 The Onon-Balj is located at the southern edge of Siberian boreal coniferous forest and stretches into the Daurian steppe. It became a national park in 2000 to protect the biodiversity of the region. The fragile ecosystem is home to a number of rare and endangered species in Mongolia and globally  including the white-naped crane. It is used locally by herders as grazing land for their livestock and also for autumn hay making. 

The Onon-Balj National Park in Khentii Province - eastern Mongolia.

Ditch your watch and head out to pastures new on a horse trek. The only way to explore this remarkable area with its wild wilderness spaces.

Our east trips take place from late August onwards. Why? The region typically gets a high level of rainfall during the summer months. You also get to experience the spectacular autumn colours.

Gorkhi-Terelj National Park on the border of Khentii Province - eastern Mongolia.

Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area in Khentii Province – eastern Mongolia – supports large areas of forest steppe and mountain steppe, with alpine habitats on higher peaks. The area is rich in rivers and streams, including the Terelj and Tuul and these water sources together with the rainfall in this mountainous region brings life to the pastureland – providing grazing for herding families.

For ideas on how you can travel to Khentii Province with us, why not look at the range of Mongolia Tours that we offer? 

Jess @Eternal Landscapes

Jessica Brooks
Jessica Brooks
I’m Jess Brooks. I have been based in Mongolia since 2006 and am the founder of Eternal Landscapes Mongolia - a registered Mongolian business and social travel enterprise that focuses on providing travellers with a real 21st Century insight into Mongolia that supports local communities. I'm also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society - awarded for my work in Mongolia and a published guidebook author - having worked together with World Adventure Guides to produce a digital interactive guide to Mongolia. http://www.jessbrooks.co.uk/
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