MONGOL NAADAM - FESTIVAL
Organizer: Mongolian Government
Date: 20th-23th of July, every year Local Naadam festival will be opened officially by the governor of the area and will continue according to scheduled plan of the event
Since 1206, for the establishment of Great Mongolian Empire, by the order of Chinggis khan, Naadam Festival, the biggest festival in Mongolia has been annually held in Mongolia. Highlights are horse racing, archery, and wrestling. The word “Naadam” means game or competition in Mongolian. The opening ceremony kicks off with parade of athletes, artists, soldiers, musicians, and Mongolians warrior dressed.
Wrestling: One of the most important parts of the festival, wrestling competition usually consists of 512 wrestlers. Importances of participants are: there is no weight division, no time limits. The rule: the loser is the wrestler who falls first, except hands or feet.
Archery: The most important power of Mongolian warriors was archery. In the 13th century, there was a law that every family had to have arrow and bow beside horse headed fiddle. In the history, Esungen, the grandson of Chinggis khan shot the furthest 520m or 330 fathoms. Every man had arrow and bow even women used to shoot. It was originated in Mesolithic period and became on part of the festival since Bogd Khan Mongolia. The competition is divided into 3 parts: men, women and teenagers.
Horse Racing: Around 2400 horses race by division of 6 ages in Ulaanbaatar city. For the whole country approximately 26000 horses race at the same time every year. The greatest thing of horse racing is that 100 to 500horses race up to 25 km depending on their ages with children at the same time.
20 July Day 1: Ulaanbaatar
Arrive in Ulaanbaatar the capital city of Mongolia. Transfer to your hotel. Evening enjoy traditional art performance and Welcome dinner. Stay overnight in the hotel. (D)
21 July Day 2: Khuu Doloon Khudag and Khustai National Park
Travel to Khuu Doloon Khudag for 35kms to the west of Ulaanbaatar. There we will see hundreds of Gers of nomads who gathered in this area from all parts of the country as far as from 50kms to 1000kms in order to attend Naadam Festival’s horse races with their fast horses. We will visit fast horse trainers and see their unique tradition and nomad heritage to train fast horses for the races. Afternoon travel to Khustai National Park for 70kms, the area of 50620ha reserve protects wild Mongolian horses famed as Takhi (Przewalski’s Horse). Visit the park to see wild horses. Stay overnight in Ger camp.(B/L/D)
22 July Day 3: Kharakhorum
Travel to Kharakhorum for 270kms. We will visit Erdene Zuu monastery, the largest and first Mongolian Buddhist temple complex built on the remains of Kharakhorum city. Visit a local cooperative to attend a workshop for making small felt products. Stay overnight in Ger camp. (B/L/D)
23-24 Jul Day 4-5: Naadam Festival Days!
The Naadam Festival, celebrated each summer, originated many centuries ago as a test of courage, strength, daring, horsemanship, marksmanship, all skills necessary for nomadic people and warriors. Three manly sports of Mongols: wrestling, horseracing and archery competition make up the core program of the Naadam Festival.
Local Naadam festival will be opened officially by the governor of the area and will continue according to scheduled plan of the event. For these days you will enjoy and experience the local Naadam Festival and its wonderful atmosphere of celebration with nomads. Also you will visit the Erdene Zuu monastery, the first and largest Buddhist temple complex in Mongolia and a newly opened Local Museum. Special dinner of “Khorkhog”, truly Mongolian barbeque, grilled with hot stones. Stay overnights in Ger camp. (B/L/D)
25 July Day 6: Orkhon Valley and making a “Ger”
Travel to Orkhon valley for 120kms, is known as the cradle of Mongolian civilization as many of Mongolia’s ancient monuments lie within its borders. Enjoy trekking to deer stone for 7-8kms. Afternoon you will enjoy activities for dismantling and putting a Ger. You can learn how to put a Ger and same time find out deep meanings, symbols and customs related to “Mongolian Ger” in nomadic culture. Stay overnight in Ger camp. (B/L/D)
26 July Day 7: Tuvkhun temple
Travel to Tuvkhun temple for 50kms, is high in the mountain, marking the north side of the Orkhon valley. Visit the site where Mongolian first religious leader saint Zanabazar founded in 1653 and lived, worked and meditated for over 30 years. Several pilgrimage sites have grown up around the temple and hermit’s caves, including one that is said to be Zanabazar’s boot imprint. Afternoon you will travel for 70kms about 2hours to Tsenkher hot spring. Stay overnight in Ger camp. (B/L/D)
27 July Day 8: Tsenkher hot spring
Enjoy exploring around Tsenker hot spring. With water issuing at a scalding of +86.5 degree C with the stench of hydrogen sulphide, the hot spring is very popular in the area. Surrounding area is green and forested. Enjoy hot spring bath. Stay overnight in Ger camp. BLD
28 July Day 9: Ugii lake
Travel to Ugii Lake for 150kms. The fresh water lake which surfaces area of 25 sq.kms is abundant with water birds and fishes. Walk along the lake shore for viewing bird species and taking interesting photos. Stay overnight in Ger camp. (B/L/D)
29 July Day 10: Nomad community
Travel to Gurvanbulag community for 60km. There you also would have probably the best experience to challenge you with exotic nomadic life. The hostess of the family will show and teach you how to produce tasty and nutritious dairy products including “aaruul” dried curds, “byaslag” Mongolian cheese. You can talk with nomad people and get more familiar with their nature loved unique lifestyle. Stay overnight in nomad community based Ger camp. (B/L/D)
30 July Day 11: Experiencing horse based culture
Today you will watch how Mongolian skillful cowboys catch horses by “uurga” – traditional wooden lasso. Milking mares and you may participate by holding the foals next to their mothers and churning airag, fermented mare’s milk. You would see blending process of Mongolian traditional vodka called “Shimiin arkhi”. No doubt, you’ll be invited to try that vodka, but please not too much. Enjoy horse riding around area. In the evening you will involve the preparation of dinner and enjoy learning how to make Mongolian dish. Stay overnight in nomad community based Ger camp. (B/L/D)
31 July Day 12: Khognokhaan & camel riding
Travel to Khognokhaan Natural Reserve for 70kms, the area is protected since 1997, covers 46900ha of beautiful granite mountain of Paleozoic age and its surroundings. Optional visit to Erdenekhamba, local Buddhist temple and old remain of Uvgun Monastery is available. Enjoy camel riding trek along small sand dunes for 2hours. Stay overnight in Ger camp. (B/L/D)
01 Aug Day 13: Ulaanbaatar
Today we will travel for 280kms to Ulaanbaatar. Transfer to your hotel. Shopping. Farewell dinner. Stay overnight in hotel. (B/L/D)
02 Aug Day 14: Departure
After breakfast transfer to airport for departure. (B)