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DUNDGOBI PROVINCE

Dundgobi is one of the 21 aimags of Mongolia. It was established in 1941. It is famous for its beautiful destinations and it is one of the three aimags which lies on Gobi. Its capital is Mandalgobi. Travel destinations which locate at Dundgobi province follow as:

Bagagazriin chuluu

It is situated 230 km away from Ulaanbaatar. Surrounded by flat plain, the granite area is located 1768m above sea level covering 300 sq km area. The highest point is 1768 m Takhilgiin Khavtsal. From the area, you can view the surrounding beautiful areas and see a number of ancient graves, khirigsuurs, petroglyphs and monuments. There are a lot of places including Ger Chuluu, Sudutyn Am, Jargalant Am, Springs of Eyesight, Takhilgiin Khavtsal and Hunnu Graves.

Travel tips:

  • Here you may stay at Mongolian ger. Mongolian ger’s door can be short for tall people. When you enter into ger, be careful with totgo \the top side of door\. You may need to bow preventing hitting your head on the top of door.
  • According to Mongolian custom, men sit on the right side and women sit on the east side of ger. But guests can sit on the right side.
  • It is prohibited to sit like squatting, cross legged, arms crossed and leg crossed and bouncing in ger
  • Don’t take and give anything between pillars.
  • The first thing that will happen is you’ll be offered food and drink, most likely dairy products (dried curds), salty tea or airag. As gastronomically unfamiliar as this may be to you, never refuse. Even if you touch the tea to your lips and take a tiny bite of the curds, do try something as flatly refusing will cause your hosts offence.
  • If you are male, you may well be offered the snuff box by your host. If you want some, empty a little bit onto your hand and inhale. Even if you don’t want the snuff, just say yes and go through the actions of taking and inhaling some. Occasionally, the snuffbox may be empty. In this case, pretend there is some and again, go through the motions of taking some and look appreciative. Snuff boxes are carried by almost all Mongolian males in the countryside.
  • Every ger will have an altar at the back. Don’t sit with your back or feet towards it.
  • If you have sleeves, keep them rolled down so as not to expose your wrists, particularly when shaking hands or taking food or drink. If you have short sleeves, pretend to pull them down as a symbol of respect.
  • Always accept food or drink with your right hand (or with both if the dish or cup is heavy), with the left hand supporting the right elbow.
  • Take off your gloves when shaking hands.
  • If you accidentally kick a Mongolian’s feet, immediately shake their hand. This is not refined to gers – you should do this even if you are walking down the street in Mongolia.
  • When offered some vodka, dip the ring finger of your right hand into the glass, and lightly flick a drop (not too much – vodka is also sacred) once towards the sky (for Tengri, the god of the sky), once in the air (to the wind), and once to the ground, for Gadzer, god of the earth. If you don’t want any vodka, go through the customs anyway, put the same finger to your forehead, say thanks, and return the glass to the table.
  • Don’t lean against a support column or wall of the ger as they represent stability. You might also confuse a column for the stove pipe, which will burn you terribly if you lean on it.
  • Don’t whistle inside a ger.
  • Don’t stand on or lean over the ger threshold.
  • Fire is sacred to Mongolians so don’t throw rubbish or water on it.
  • It’s disrespectful to walk in front of an older person, so try and avoid doing this.
  • Neither touch other people’s hats nor leave your hat on the floor.
  • Every family will have anurga, a long wooden lasso pole. It’s very bad luck to walk over one of these when they are lying on the ground.
  • Milk is also sacred to the Mongols, so endeavor not to spill any.
  • Don’t touch people (including children) on the head or hold their shoulder, it’s believed to take away that person’s good luck.
  • However, if you do spill milk, walk over an urga and pat the children on the head, your hosts will understand you’re foreign and won’t throw you out in disgust. But a little perceived effort to respect the nomad’s customs will get you a long way and make for an even more fabulous stay on the steppe.

 

Tsagaan suvarga \White stupa\

This beautiful destination is located in the south west of Dundgobi province. From east side, it looks like ancient ruins but from west side, we will see nothing special until we near it. It looks flat plain from west side. Its height is about 60 meter and width is about 400 meter.

Ongi Monastery

Ongi Monastery is the collective name for the ruins of two monasteries that face each other across the Ongi River in Saikhan-Ovoo district of Dundgovi Province, in south-central Mongolia. The Barlim Monastery is located on the north bank of the river while the Khutagt Monastery sits on the south bank. The older southern complex consisted of various administrative buildings as well as 11 temples. The northern complex, built in the 18th century, consisted of 17 temples – among them one of the largest temples in all of Mongolia. The grounds housed also 4 Buddhist universities. Founded in 1660, it was one of the largest monasteries in Mongolia and housed over 1000 monks at its height. The ruins are situated about 18 km south of the town of Saikhan Ovoo.

Both complexes of Ongi Monastery were completely destroyed in 1939 during anti-religious purges carried out under Choibalsan Khorloo, the leader of the Communist Party of Mongolia. Over 200 monks were killed, and many surviving monks were imprisoned or forcibly laicized and conscripted into the Communist controlled army.

A large number of ruins including a tall stupa can be seen on the river and on the surrounding hills. In the 1990s, it was decided to rebuild the monastery. The first temple was inaugurated in 2004. There is a small museum in a ger in front of it. One of the stupas has just been reconstructed as well. It has a commemorative plaque indicating the names of the monks who were killed in 1939.

Travel tips:

  • When you enter into monasteries, you need to take off your hat
  • In some monasteries, you may take off your shoes
  • It is prohibited to eat and laugh loudly in monasteries
  • Be respectful in monasteries
  • Inside and outside temples and monasteries, Mongolians go around in clockwise direction
  • Speaking too aloud and talking on mobile phone in temples and monasteries seem disrespectful