Mongolia – From 2015 to 2016 – Our Review

Winter Postcards From Mongolia – Part Two – (Christmas) Gift Ideas
December 13, 2015
New Year, New Travel Experiences!
January 6, 2016

As we face ahead to a new year, what better way to say goodbye to the old one than with a review of a few of our 2015 Mongolian adventures and achievements (accompanied by photos taken by our the EL team and our guests.). 

Celebration Of The Year – Two Of Our Guests Getting Married In The Remote Altai

As part of their Scott Davis and Cheeseman Ecology Safaris trip arranged by Eternal Landscapes, two guests were married during a traditional Kazakh ceremony. This took place at the home of Janatkhan – one of the Kazakh eagle hunters we work with.  The landscapes of his autumn home in the small community of Bugat in Bayan Ulgii provided the incredible backdrop.

Janatkhan’s autumn home. You can see his Golden Eagle as a small dot in the foreground! Image by Therese Faller

Image by Therese Faller

The below image was taken after the  bet ashar (uncovering the face) part of the ceremony. Beshtar is always accompanied by the traditional Kazakh zhyr-song and this was provided by the Kazakh officiant on his dombra (a traditional Kazakh instrument). 
The happy couple accompanied by Janatkhan. Image by Therese Faller
Traditional Mongolian wedding rings. Image by Therese Faller

  The man’s wedding ring is a design of two interlocking circles called Khatan Suik – or Queen’s Carriage. The women’s wedding ring is a design of two interlocking triangles called Khaan Buguivich – or King’s Bracelet. 

On each ring there’s four connected dots on the outside of the design. These are interconnected and mean that the couple will be together forever in soul and life.
The wedding party! Image by Therese Faller

The fox around the groom’s neck is a Corsac Fox caught by the Golden Eagle belonging to Janatkhan. It was given as a gift to the married couple. 

And, as with all good weddings, there was a celebration between the bride and groom, their Kazakh hosts and the EL team. Image by Therese Faller

Event Of The Year – Tsagaan Sar  – Mongolian Lunar New Year – 2015

For our 2015 Tsagaan Sar Insight trip, we were joined by guest Ross Briggs. Here he is with Turuu, both dressed in their Tsagaan Sar dels (traditional Mongolian coats). 

For sunrise on New Year’s Day (Shiniin Negen), Ross and the EL team rose in the early morning dark to observe sunrise at Tsagaan Suvraga in the middle Gobi. They then spent the rest of the day observing the traditions of Tsagaan Sar at the home of the Zorgio family who are primarily camel herders.

What did Ross have to say about his experience?

‘I have enjoyed this trip immensely. Turuu and Enkhee have taught me so much. I have a greater understanding of Mongolia and the people.  I have observed the closeness and strength of families and see the strength of Mongolia.’

Sunrise over Tsagaan Suvraga on New Year’s Day

Proudest Moment Of 2015 – Our Terkhiin Tsaagan Nuur Rubbish Community Clean Up

The 2015 Start Line – together with national park rangers, community members and the EL team

Unfortunately in Mongolia (as with elsewhere in the world), there has been a noticable increase in the amount of rubbish that is discarded. A majority of our clients commented on it so I decided to do something about it…..and make it part of our Responsible Travel philosophy and a feature of the EL calendar.

For the past two years, Turuu and I have arranged for members of the EL team and local community members of the Tariat community in Arkhangai Provicne to spend two days clearing the north-shore (and surrounding area) of Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park. During our two-day clean up in 2015,  much had been achieved. Camp grounds, shore lines and surrounding steppe and forest land had been cleared of rubbish.

We picked Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur due to the strength of our contacts there. We wanted a community involvement and Jargaa and Batbold (our hosts at Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur and owners of Surtiin Tulga Eco Camp) are at the centre of their local community. 

Find out more about our 2015 event. Even better, why not consider joining us in 2016?  Make the most of an opportunity to take experiential travel to a new level by contributing  with time and effort to a good environmental cause? (We will cover the costs of the days spent on the rubbish collection itself).

The 2015 finish line!

Wildlife Spot Of The Year – Khulan – Mongolian Wild Ass

The Mongolian Khulan (Equus hemionus hemionus) is one of the 5 recognized sub-species of the Asiatic Wild Ass and represents the largest population of this species in the world. As a result, Mongolia is an important place for the conservation of this species. The Mongolian Khulan is legally protected and listed as Rare in the Mongolian Red Book and Endangered in the ICUN Red List of Threatened Species

We spotted this beautiful pair in the southern Gobi Desert, close to the Khongoryn Els sand dunes. 

It’s quite a serendipitous happening as we are working with Associaiton Goviin Khulan in 2015 and 2016 – offering a Conservation and Research Expedition to Mongolia’s eastern Gobi Desert. 

Community Event Of The Year – Asral NGO Fundraiser

On September 4th, Asral NGO held a fundraising event in Ulaanbaatar. All EL team members that were in UB went along (16 of us including family and friends)  paid for by me as a thank you for their hard work and also as a way of helping to support the work of Asral. 

Asral is the Mongolian word for ‘care’ and was founded by High Tibetan Lama, Ven. Panchen Ötrul Rinpoche. In 1994 Rinpoche was invited by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to assist with the plight of Mongolian people after the collapse of the Soviet Union and thus Asral NGO was created.

I was invited to the Asral and Kunchab Jampaling Buddhist Centre in UB to have lunch with the Ven. Panchen Ötrul Rinpoche during his visit to Asral NGO in Mongolia. Why? As an acknowledgement of our continued support for the work of Asral. Over an informal lunch we spoke of his work around the world, the work of Eternal Landscapes, the changes and challenges that the local people of Mongolia have and continue to experience since democracy, the positive and negative impacts of tourism in Mongolia  and of our joint love for tea. There must always be tea!

The concert event was supported by Mongolian rock group Хурд (Khurd). Formed in 1987 Khurd is considered ‘veterans’ of the Mongolian pop rock scene and have a huge following. They are considered to have greatly contributed to its diversification and encouraged the emergence of many new rock acts.

Picnic Of The Year

When? December 20th 2015. Temperature? Roughy -22 degrees. Location? Khustain Nuruu National Park. Although a majority of our competitors do close for the winter months, we don’t. We still offer adventures to the adventurous few who find themselves coming to Mongolia. Eternal Landscapes is a family as much as a team and we arrange events throughout the year  that bring the ‘EL family’ together.

If you quite like the idea of a picnic in -22 degree temperatures, then get in touch.  To promote out of season travel to Mongolia, all my Mongolia winter tours between January to the end of March have a 15% discount pp. Find out more here.

Looking Ahead to 2016

If you like what we do and Mongolia is on your list, then why not pop across to the EL website and see what we’re offering fro 2016. Even better, all of my Mongolia small group tours from April onwards currently have a 10% discount.  This is as well as our 15% winter discount.

Still not sure?

Image by our guest Kairi Aun

Шинэ жилийн мэнд хүргэе! Wherever 2016 takes you, Sain Yavaarai – Journey Well. Jess

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