Khuvsgul Lake

The Blue Pearl of Mongolia, Khuvsgul Lake is the largest fresh water lake in Mongolia located in the northernmost province. Considered a younger sister of Lake Baikal, the largest fresh water lake by volume in the world located in southern Siberia, Khuvsgul Lake has small tributaries and only a single river flows out from the southern tip, Egiin Gol, which connects to the Selenge River that ultimately empties into Lake Baikal. Each of these lakes belongs in the world’s seventeen ancient lakes being more than 2 million years old. The water is so pure that it can be drunken straight away by locals. The transparency of the water reveals smooth, round rocks that lay beneath the surface near the shores, however, the deeper it gets towards the center the bluer the surface becomes. It truly is a magnificent sight blending in with its lush, pristine surroundings – coniferous trees fill the rugged mountains that nest the lake’s western, northern, and eastern edges.

Equally as interesting are the people who inhabit Darkhad Depression in northwest of Khuvsgul Lake. Tsaatans, which literally means reindeer herders, are a group of people whose way of life has not changed much for hundreds of years - centered around their precious animal, which they use for almost everything and even their migration depends on food availability for the reindeers. Reindeers are used for transportation; their milk is drunk and if it need be, their meat is consumed. Reindeer hide is used to make clothes, shoes, and teepee coverings.

The province is known for shamanistic practices and the Tsaatan community looks up to their shamans for healing and guidance. Having been practiced in different regions throughout the world, shamanism pre-dates organized religion. This belief system is centered on a shaman who had in the past received a calling from an ancestral spirit and had answered appropriately in order to become a medium between the physical world and the spiritual world. Also, the natural spirits of mountains, waters, fire, and the sky are revered.