return to Altai Village

If I had thought that crossing over a frozen river on a 900 pound horse was scary, what about a 3,000 pound Scooby-doo van?  Yeah, we crossed over 3 or 4 rivers and streams, each time the ice groaned and cracked under our weight.  My guides were experienced at crossing frozen rivers, so I took some comfort in that but it just seemed so unnatural to hear the ice creak and crack and groan as it did…

Back in Altai Village, we (again) had chai with goat (or horse) milk, some bread and said our goodbyes to Dalaihan and Alpamys.  I took some photos from the front seat of the car of Dalaihan, his mother, daughter, and brother.  Altai Village is wired into the electical grid so we were also able to recharge our cellular phones and camera batteries.

As we drove through the village, I saw some locals dressed in the traditional Kazakh clothing and captured their photos.  I really enjoyed seeing the traditional costume dress, the clothes were culturally unique and seemed to be quite warm as well.


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leaving the hunting lodge


Before we departed the hunting lodge I wanted to get some photos of Dalaihan’s family and in-laws.  In the evening before our last day and on the morning that we departed, I shot these photos.  The family was so warm and welcoming; they really made me feel at home.  I would highly recommend an eagle hunt to anyone who is visiting Mongolia in the winter time.  Pictured above are Dalaihan’s nephews Jargal and Jankhai, their aunt, and their mother Khashy.  In the photo below, my guide Baatar, our driver Khavlet, and the same boys in the top photo.


Here is another shot of Jargal & Jankhai:

I also took a shot of the solar power panel that provided us with light each evening.  It was amazing that a little 14” panel could charge a 12 volt car battery and provide light all night long.


One of my favorite photo subjects on this trip was Dalaihan and his eagle.  The bird was massive and majestic and I could stare at it for hours.


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Turk burial mounds

Chenggis Khan and his Mongolian armies came out of Mongolia and made the largest empire the world had ever seen.  But, before the Mongolians came the Huns best known for their greatest leader Atilla who conquered all the way to (and including parts of) Europe.  The Huns were a Turkic people, the same group who eventually conquered Turkey, most of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Khergistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan), and parts of Russia to include the Tatars (who came from the Bulgar branch of the Turks; some went to Tatarstan in current Russia, others went to Bulgaria and were latter assimilated into the Balkan populations).

When Mongolia opened the western province to settlement and the Kazakh tribes accepted, it was really, in essence, a homecoming for them.  All throughout Bayan Ulgi, there are thousands of Turkic burial mounds, monuments, and grave markers like this one here.  This marker dates to the 6th or 7th century AD making it about 1300 years old.  The detail was extraordinary; this warrior’s face, hands, weapon, and clothing details can be made out in the carving on the grave marker.  Baatar tells me that this man was likely a tribe leader, great warrior, or other nobleman as more common people had simple markers.  In the following photo, you can see a row of lesser markers in line with this beautiful stone monument.

Just across the river I could see a more current Buddhist oovo, or stone prayer mound.  The Buddhists come to pray at these rock mounds and follow a precise set of rites or rituals.  On the way to the mound, they bring a rock, artifact, food, money, or something of (personal) value; I often saw lighters and cigarettes left on the mounds – no doubt a great sacrifice to a nicotine addicted, yet pious Buddhist.  Approaching the mound, the practicing Buddhist walks around the mound from left to right (clockwise) mirroring the movement of the sun across the sky (in the northern hemisphere).  The rock or artifact is placed on the mound and the pilgrim says his prayers.  I would come across many of these mounds as I traveled all over Mongolia.


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Stories, posts, reports, photos, videos and all other content on this site is copyright protected © and is the property of Scott Traveler unless otherwise indicated, all rights reserved. Content on this site may not be reproduced without permission from Scott Traveler. My contact information can be found on the home page.

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