Journalist A.Odontuya

2017-02-02 14:43 GMT+8

Winter is the best time to visit Mongolia for the annual Blue Pearl International Ice Festival and Tsagaan Sar. 

Blue Pearl International Ice Festival 2017 will take place at Khatgal village, the southern shore of lake Khuvsgul on Mar 3-4th or the fifth and sixth day of Tsagaan Sar, enabling you to experience Tsagaan Sar celebration visiting a nomad family. 

The pristine lake Huvsgul stretches for 136km in the Alpine-like mountains, and the deepest point of the lake is 262m. The lake freezes over from December until April or May revealing fantastic lacy ice patterns. 

The Huvsgul region itself is a home to the Tsaatan – Reindeer Herders of Mongolia, an ethnic group famous for their distinctive lifestyle based on keeping reindeers in the depth of the Taiga.

The event offers traditional horse sled races, reindeer races, skating competitions, and shamanic rituals. Also, there will be an Ice Sculpture Competition – artists will create a winter fairyland on the 2-3m thick, crystal clear ice of the Lake Huvsgul, and various performances by the locals and artists of the local theatre.

Moreover, you may also wish to enjoy a few shots in the Ice Bar with fellow festival goers. 

Hot food and beverages, souvenirs, winter & sports clothing trades will be available for spectators & participants during the festival. And everyone can take part in the horse sledding, Reindeer riding and ice skating etc at small charges that will directly go to the local communities.

The dates of this year’s Ice festival: 3-4 March.

Location: Dood Modot Khamar near Khatgal Village, Lake Huvsgul.

Brief program of the Blue Pearl International Ice Festival:

Day 1. 03 March 2016.

  9:30   Opening Ceremony (parade of horse sleds, dog sleds, ice skaters, locals, and local artists; musical performance by local artists).
  11:30   Visiting the Winter Fairyland ice sculpture show.
  12:30   Traditional Mongolian “Ice shooting” competition.
  13:30   Lunch break
  14:30   Show of Traditional Mongolian Winter Costumes (various ethnic groups attending)
  16:30   Horse sled competition
  17:00   Awarding ceremony of “Winter Fairyland” ice sculpture competition
  18:30   Dinner break
   20:30   Shaman’s Fire Ceremony

Day 2. 04 March 2016.

  10:00   Fun Competition among foreign tourists
  11:00   Traditional Mongolia Ice shooting competition, finals.
  12:00   Ice skating race.
  13:00   Lunch break
  15:00   Ice sumo competition
  16:00   Closing ceremony

How to get there:

  • You can join existing tour groups from Ulaanbaatar or take a private tour with your family and friends (enquire from travel agents near you).
  • If you drive in Mongolia (you have a driving permit) you can drive yourself (make sure your vehicle is good for snow, and you travel with a Mongolian friend who can assist you with directions). The Lake Huvsgul is some 12hr drive from Ulaanbaatar with some good stops on the way for food and accommodation (all paved road).
  • Take a public transport from Ulaanbaatar Dragon centre to Murun (centre of Huvsgul province) and hire a local transport from Murun to the ice festival.

PS: Do not forget your warm clothes and camera. 

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