NOMADICO CASHMERE GOES TO KYARGAS LAKE
Our driver Gana who has been quiet the whole day suddenly suggested to stop at Erdene Zuu Monastery and all of us agreed with no hesitation. The monastery itself was built in the 16th century on the ruins of the ancient capital of the Mongol empire and is considered the most important monastery in the country. It features 108 stupas, three compound temples, many artefacts such as statues, wall paintings, tsam masks, thangkas etc. You can also witness the prayers performed by the monks inside the temples. This spot has simply become the must-stop for travelers who are headed to the western and northern regions. Outside the main wall, it is a quite a different matter as there is generally a herd of travelers mostly tourists who are seen either riding horses, camels, holding golden eagles or in busy food tents, souvenir shops and traditional custom rentals. But not this time. The country has been in quarantine for the last nine months due to Covid-19 without in or out flights and it seems only us this time.
We reached a camp near Khorgo which is a volcanic field in the Tariat sum of Arkhangai Province after 10+ hours on the road. The staff was very welcoming and provided us with warm gers, food and communal bathrooms. The latter is quite scarce and is considered a luxury, in fact, one should be prepared for no bathroom and no showers when it comes to travelling to the remote parts of Mongolia. The next morning, we woke up and were surrounded by the most beautiful misty mountains. Local herders’ gers and their yaks can be seen in distance. Breakfast was rather comforting and full of surprises with its locally grown organic ingredients in the land where meat (especially mutton) dominates the cuisine, stars being the rhubarb jam, apple pie and all sorts of homemade pastries along with yak milk.