Explore Kharkhorin, the formerly great capital city of the Mongol Empire, which was built by Ugudei Khaan in 1235. The city was strategically located at the crossroads of traditional routes, creating a staging post for migrating nomads and merchants caravans. Foreign envoys and prominent clerics traveled to this city for an audience with Mongol khan.
Far after when the Hubilai Khaan moved t the capital to Beijing in 1264, Kharkhorin was raised to the ground by Manchu soldiers. However the bricks and stones from the ruins of this ancient city were used to build the Erdene Zuu Monastery nearby, so in that way, the old city lives on till today.
Erdene Zuu Monastery: The first Buddhist monastery in Mongolia, Erdene Zuu was established on the ruin of ancient Kharkhorin city in 1586 by Avtai Sain khan, probably the most ancient surviving Buddhist monastery in Mongolia. The monastery located in Kharkhorin sum, Uvurkhangai province. It is surrounded by a fortress wall-sized 420m on each side, with 108 stupas. In 1792, it housed 62 temples, Mongolian lords tried to have their own named temple inside of the wall of the monastery because it means they have a high reputation. Also in 1658, the biggest ger consists of 35 walls, 1700 long pole and could contain 200 people, was built up at the middle space of the monastery wall.
Three main temples are named west zuu, middle zuu, and east zuu. Zuu means the respectful name of Buddha. So we can see Buddha’s different images such as past time Buddha, future time Buddha, present time Buddha, his child image, adult image, old aged image, and his sapient pupils in these temples. These temples have double-wall, to encapsulate warmth and cool and kind of praying named “Goroo”. Today this monastery could become an active monastery again and open for local believers and visitors. This is one of the places where we can learn more about the religious and cultural traditions of Mongolia.
- Erdene Zuu Monastery
- Nomadic Family
- Horse Riding
Transfer to the hotel and relax. City tour including the Gandan Monastery, the National Museum of Mongolia, which represents Mongolian Culture starting from the Stone Age to the 21st century, and Buddhism, Sukhbaatar Square (also known as Chingis Khaan Square). In Gandan Monastery, you can take local prayers, monks, the biggest standing indoor Buddha statue, and temples' own figure. (L/D)
Drive to Kharkhorin - the ancient capital of the Mongol Empire was destroyed by invading Chinese forces in the 15th century. We will have a lunch stop in the middle of the distance, which is 370 km between UB - Kharkhorin.
You can see the turtle rock guarding the walls of the lost city, also visit the largest and first Mongolian Buddhist temple - Erdene Zuu monastery, which is surrounded by a brick wall with 108 stupas. Although most of the monastery buildings were destroyed during the communist repression of 1937, major buildings are survived. (B/L/D)
Today we will visit a local family, exploring their nomadic lifestyle, and animal farming. Taste Mongolian dairy products like aaruul, fresh milk, cheese, butter, and tea with milk. Horse riding experience is available. (B/L/D)
Drive to Elsen Tasarkhai Sand Dunes, 90 km from the Kharkhorin. It is a magnificent place to create portraits of wildlife landscape photography. Further, explore the lovely sand dunes named Elsen Tasarkhai and hike in the beautiful mountains surrounding this place. No matter the time of day, the beautiful and ever-changing scene of this majestic sand dune Elsen Tasarkhai will be full of wildlife, energy, and motion. (B/L/D)
Drive back to Ulaanbaatar after breakfast. Have lunch at a roadside restaurant on the way. When we arrive in Ulaanbaatar, have farewell together. (B/L/D)
Transfer to Chinggis Khaan International Airport or Train station and depart Mongolia. (B)
Prices & Inclusions
Accommodation: Hotel****,* ger camp
Guiding and interpreting service
Full board meals
Transport: 4x4 vehicle or minivan
Entrance fees to protected areas and national parks
Museums and cultural performance
Optional activity cost
Excess baggage charges
Single room supplement
The extra cost for photography in museums
Tip for a tour guide, driver, etc