Mongolian Golden Eagle Festival and Eagle Hunters
Golden Eagle Festival is a cultural and adventurous attraction for both local and foreign travelers and photographers. It is not just a festivity, but also is an ancient hunting tradition and unique cultural heritage of Kazakh minority of Mongolia. One of the must see events in Asia, especially in Mongolia.
What to see at The Golden Eagle Festival?
This fascinating festival is held in Western part of Mongolia by local Kazakh minority to bring and promote their heritage to their next generation and to the world. Local Kazakhs show their eagle hunting culture and their unique traditions. It starts with the opening parade with well dressed hunters and is about authentic competitions of eagle training skills and hunting with golden eagles. Specially trained eagles catch small stuffed animals such as foxes and hares. In addition, some uncommon cultural events and small competitions are organized including,traditional coin grabbing game while riding on horseback, Uriankhai archery competition. After enjoying the festival you can visit the local theatre to enjoy folk performance in the Ulgii town.
How to get there?
The festival takes place in Bayan-Ulgii the westernmost province near the borders of Russia, China and Mongolia. You can get there by domestic plane and 4*4 vehicle. You should book the local flight ticket and it would be the better the earlier. Or you can hire local driver with car.
What to eat?
There are several temporary ger-restaurants around the festival which offer traditional Kazakh, Mongolian and western style meals. You should eat in the ger-restaurant because the temperature may drop to 0 Celsius degree and weather is unpredictable so it is better to eat in comfort and warm place.
Where to sleep?
The festival is held about 7km far from the Ulgii town, so it is possible to stay in town hotels and tourist ger camps. Or you can pitch your tent near the festival, but note that the temperature in the high mountainous area.
For advising you; you should book the PACKAGE TRIP to the Golden Eagle Festival which organized by professional and experienced local tour operator. They can arrange all trip arrangements including accommodation, transportation, meals and tour guide.
We provide some facts related to the golden eagle and hunters on Mongolia steppe.
The Golden Eagle
• Golden Eagles (Aquila Chrysacty) are born for hunting; they have incredible speed, great eye sight and powerful feet with sharp talons.
• The second fastest bird for hunting on earth.
• They have an average lifespan of between 15-20 years.
• They can live in many different types of climate; from the fringe of the Arctic zone to hot desert and do not migrate.
• The average male weight is 3.6kilograms (8 pounds) and for females is 5 kilograms (11pounds)
• Wingspan ranges from around 1.8 meters (6 feet) to nearly 2.5 meters (8 feet)
• Their diet is mainly small animals such as foxes, hares and mice
Relationship between Hunters and Eagles
It can’t be imagined that the Kazakh men without eagles because the eagle hunting has become a tradition from some 6000 years. There are many tales and stories about eagle’s power and eye among the Kazakhs.
About the eagle training: Men bring the female eagle at its young age from her nest for training to hunt because female eagle is stronger and bigger than the male. After bringing it, all elders garter and then they name their eagle and make some rituals. After 6 or 7 years of hunting the eagle must be back to the wild. Hunters give a whole mutton to the eagle when send them /eagle/ to the wild nature and there have to be held the farewell rituals. This is so tragic moment for both hunter and the eagle.
Hunting season starts from the beginning of October to 15th of March.
Teenage Film Star-Aishol Pan
According to the history of eagle hunting in Mongolia, there was no huntress use eagles. But in 2014, Aishol-Pan-the teenage huntress participated and won the eagle hunting competition during the annual Golden Eagle Festival in Western Mongolia. She is now a well known film star in the world.
Portraits of Kazakh Nomads
If you are a photographer or portrait photography lover this is the must-visit festival to shoot strange and unique faces.
We are sharing with you some of the photos which are taken by Batzaya Choijiljav who is one of the leading photographers of Mongolia.
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