Next we will catch a train to the deepest part of the Gobi desert to discover a life full of mysteries, philosophy and humility because of the massiveness and immenseness of the drylands. Recharge your energy in the land of Shambala – one of many spiritual places for Mongolian pilgrimages.
Ulaanbaatar – Sainshand (10h by train) We will begin our journey by taking a train from Ulaanbaatar station to Sainshand, the capital of Dornogovi province. We will spend the whole day on the train so we will have some time to laze around enjoying the passing landscape through our windows, or getting to know each other and other passengers. Sainshand, meaning “good source”, has a population of around 25,000 inhabitants. The peculiarity of this city lies in its division into two parts: one to the north, facing the railway station; and south, facing the main administrative institutions of the region. We will eat lunch in the train; dinner and spend the night at a local hotel.
Sainshand – Khamariin khiid (40km, 1h) We start our spiritual tour from the Danzanravjaa’s museum (1803-1856). Danzanravjaa was a famous Mongolian educator and literary figure in 19th century and was the founder of the Khamariin monastery. Writer, poet, playwright and … traditional doctor, Danzanravjaa was an influential figure, politically and artistically. In this museum, we find over 1,500 varied works (books, gods …), thanks to Tudev and his heirs, who secretly hid over a hundred boxes of art work from the communist authorities. Then we go to Khamariin monastery, a Buddhist architectural pearl in the tradition of the Tovkhon hermitage – or small monasteries in remote places, they become popular pilgrimage sites for Mongolians. A special feature: unlike the majority of monasteries and temples in Mongolia that belong to the sect of the “Yellow Hats,” it belongs to the sect of “Red Hats”. The latter has incorporated many esoteric practices (magic, divination, sacrifice) and the rules are less stringent than the Yellow Hats, although both are related to Tantric Buddhism. The Khamariin monastery has two “sisters”: Ulgii monastery and Demchig monastery, both are also in the Gobi region. On the same site, we finally reach one of the most important and sacred places of Buddhist mythology Shambhala, a gateway to the kingdoms of the Righteous. A Very popular place for pilgrimage, it attracts many believers who come here to relax or heal through particular magnetic energy that emanates from the Earth. In Tibetan mythology, Shambhala is the name given to a legendary kingdom of Central Asia, but the precise location remains unknown; meaning a heaven of peace, where all people live in joy and harmony, a kind of Garden of Eden. Other interpretations, however, attribute Shambhala to being more spiritual and abstract in nature and do not see it as a real physical place in the strict sense. We will have a lunch and dinner in the steppe; and spend the night in a local hotel.
Khamariin khiid – Khar uul – Sainshand (60km, 1h) We enjoy the rest of the day deepening our exploration about Buddhism and visiting the surrounding areas that are full of treasures: – Meditation caves, – “Sakura” trees – Dinosaur bones (considered sacred because “dragon bones”), fossilized wood. Then we go to Khar uul or “Black Mountain”, a sacred mountain known for its granting wishes! Write your vows on small pieces of paper before burning them in a votive stupa, and then go shout out in the wind on the flank of the mountain! Finally, we hit the road to Sainshand and take the train to Ulaanbaatar in the evening. We will have a lunch and dinner in the steppe; and spend the night in the train.
Arrive in Ulaanbaatar at 7h30 ; transfer to your accommodation. End of trip