CULTURAL EXPLORATIONS

Mongolian Art Expedition

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TRIP SUMMARY

Mongolia is a place with rich cultural and natural heritage. It is believed that Buddhism came to Mongolia three times, starting from the times of Silk Road and early nomadic states (Xiong-nu and Uighur states, 1st-8th centuries CE), through the times of the Great Mongol Empire and lastly during Qing period (1644-1912). In 1578 during the third wave it came from Tibet when Altan Khan has proclaimed Sonam Gyatso, a leader of a rising Gelug School, a Dalai Lama (“Oceanic Teacher”). In return he himself was recognized as a manifestation of Vajrapani, a wrathful protector of Tibetan Buddhism.

Since then Buddhist monasteries have sprung around Mongolia in many numbers and by the early 20th century have reached 4000 in number. During the 300 years of history, Mongolian artisans have created thousands of masterpieces, established own school of Buddhist art and have been recognized throughout the world as a Buddhist nation with its own distinct style, iconography and themes. Join Dr. Uranchimeg Tsultem on this eye opening expedition through central Mongolia and learn about different forms of Buddhist art and Mongolian content. Visit ruins of ancient cities and monasteries once towering the steppes of Mongolia and Ulaanbaatar city. Meet the modern day nomads roaming the vast steppes of Mongolia, whose lives essentially have not changed for over several millennia.

About Dr. Uranchimeg Tsultem

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Uranchimeg (Orna) Tsultemin is a renowned scholar of Mongolian art and culture. She was born and raised in Mongolia and obtained her Ph.D. degree in Art History from University of California, Berkeley, where she continues to teach courses in Mongolian and Tibetan arts. She also taught at two universities in Mongolia as well as South Korea’s prestigious Yonsei University. She has curated Mongolian art exhibitions internationally in Asia, Europe, and the US, with her most recent shows in Hong Kong and Venice, Italy.

Professor Uranchimeg’s publications include four books in Mongolia, and international exhibition catalog essays for the following museums: two museums in Finland, Moran Museum in South Korea, Japan’s Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, and Ethnography Museum in Warsaw, Poland. Her academic articles have been published internationally with recent ones in Japanese, Mongolian, and English in Orientations (Hong Kong), Mongolian Studies (Bloomington, Indiana) and Cross Currents (University of California). While she is completing her two book manuscripts on Mongolian Buddhist art, she also enjoys travelling the countryside, spending time with her family, and entertaining her guests with her home cooking. Another passion of hers is Tibetan art, which she continues to explore through her travels to Lhasa and beyond.

Brief Daily Itinerary

Day 1, July 1. Arrival in Ulaanbaatar

Upon arrival at Chinggis Khaan International Airport, meet your Mongolia Quest guide and transfer to a centrally located hotel in downtown Ulaanbaatar. Welcome dinner at a fine local restaurant. (Hotel Ulaanbaatar or similar; D)

Day 2, July 2. Ulaanbaatar

Visit to the Gandan, Mongolia’s largest Buddhist Monastery. After lunch, we will move to Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts with its excellent collection of Mongolia’s arts. In the evening, enjoy a cultural performance. (Hotel Ulaanbaatar or similar; B, L, D)

Day 3, July 3. Ovgon Monastery, Hogno Han mountains

Drive to Hogno Han Mountains visit the Ovgon monastery built in 1660 but later destroyed by the armies of Galdan Boshigt. Dinner and overnight in gers (Approx. 5 hours driving; Ger Camp; B, L, D)

Day 4, July 4. Kharakhorum / Erdenezuu monastery

Drive to Kharakhorin to the magnificent Erdene Zuu Monastery, one of Mongolia’s most beautiful Buddhist structures. This evening, enjoy a traditional Mongolian barbeque for dinner. (Ger Camp; B, L, D)

Day 5, July 5. Shankh monastery, nomadic encampment

In the morning visit Shankh Khiid, a monastery within a short driving distance of Erdene Zuu and Kharkhorin that was once frequented by Zanabazar, the renowned Buddhist artist and religious leader. Opportunity to visit a local herder family to learn about nomadic ways of lifestyle, sample some of the dairy products and help them with their daily chores. (Ger Camp; B, L, D)

Day 6, July 6. Tsetserleg, Buyandelgeruulekh Monastery

Today we drive to the capital of Arkhangai, a province considered one of the most beautiful in Mongolia, visit Buyandelgeruulekh Monastery, which was once home to almost 1,000 monks. Stay in a local ger camp. (Ger Camp; B, L, D)

Day 7, July 7. Tövkhön Monastery, Kharkhorin

Trip to Tövkhön monastery, built in mid 17th century for famous Buddhist ruler of Mongolia Zanabazar. The trip will involve 4 hour hike in the area through some grassy slopes. Packed lunch. Return to the ger camp for dinner and overnight.

​Day 8, July 8. Ulaanbaatar via Khar Balgas and Tsogt Taij Ruins

Our first stop is at the ruin of the large citadel of the Uyghur Empire capital, Khar Balgas. The next stop will be at the ruins of Prince Tsogt, a famous central Mongolian prince and patriot who fought for the independence of Mongolia in the 17th century. (Hotel Ulaanbaatar or similar; B, L, D)

Day 9, July 9. Ulaanbaatar, Dambadarjaalin and Dashchoilin monasteries

First we visit the obscure Dambadarjaalin Monastery, located in the north-east of Ulaanbaatar within so called ger districts, was built in 1761-1765 by a Manchu Emperor in memory of the Second Bogd Khan. After lunch on one of the centrally located restaurants we visit the Dashchoilin monastery, also known as the Züün Khüree, which was originally built in 1890. In the evening enjoy your dinner at a local restaurant. (Hotel Ulaanbaatar or similar; B, L, D)

Day 10, July 10. Ulaanbaatar

Today we explore the Choijin Lama museum, a gem of the historical and cultural heritage of the previous century. The monastery was active until 1938. After lunch continue explorations of the city by a visit to the Bogd Khan Winter Palace museum. Enjoy farewell dinner at a fine local restaurant. (Hotel Ulaanbaatar or similar; B, L, D)

Day 11, July 11. Departure

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your departure home.

DATES & PRICING

Trip Date:

July 1 – 11, 2019

Price:
6-9 travelers:

$3,865 per person, standard twin occupancy

10 and more travelers:

$3,355 per person, twin occupancy

Single supplement:

$490 per person

ACCOMMODATIONS & TRANSPORTATION

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Hotel Ulaanbaatar

Hotel Ulaanbaatar is conveniently located in downtown Ulaanbaatar and is a well established accommodation with its 20th century characte-ristics and friendly staff. All major attractions of UB are located within walking distance from the hotel.

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Ger camps

During the rest of the expedition in Mongolia, we will be staying at tourist class, cozy ger camps with western bathroom and restaurant facilities. Most visitors find staying in gers as one of the highlights of their trip to Mongolia.

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Land Transportation:

Land transportation is provided by Toyota Land Cruiser jeeps seating  3 passangers per vehicle. Some roads can be bumby and hard but our drivers are some of the most experienced and reliable in the country.