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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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