MONGOLIAN ALTAI EAGLE FESTIVAL

Mongolian Tourism Association

2015-09-04 14:42 GMT+8

Mongolia is home to a 2000 years old tradition of hunting with trained Golden Eagles. This tradition has been passed from generation to generation among the Kazakh nomads, and even survived the harsh regime when national identities such as religions and traditions were oppressed - thanks to the Mongolian government for consenting ethnic minorities to keep their traditions and languages.

The Kazakh are an ethnic group mostly inhabit in the Altai Mountains in Western Mongolia. Each year, the Kazakhs hold 2 festivals for their renowned Eagle Hunters, and one of them is the Altai Eagle Festival taking place in late September in Sagsai soum of Bayan-Ulgii province. This small eagle festival features about 40 eagle hunters and their eagles that show off their skills in several events starting with chasing a fox skin and calling their eagle from a distance. The final event is the eagle catching a fox fur being pulled behind a horse.

The festival also features a camel race of 6 km and several Kazakh games including archery, Tiyn Teru (a race to pick a coin off the ground from horseback), Kyz Kuar (“woman chase,” a man and woman racing with the woman whipping the man), and the highlight, Kokpar (tug-of –war while on horseback). Winners are selected in each event. The Altai Eagle Festival provides a great opportunity for visitors to get up close to the eagles and their trainers.

Moreover, visitors can also ride a camel or horse or hold an eagle for photos during the event. The festival was initiated in 2003 with sponsorship from local tour operator Blue Wolf. Food and traditional Kazakh crafts are sold at the venue by locals. Gers and tents are available for rent at the festival site or in Sagsai as well as transfers. Some local tour operators provide package tours as well. AeroMongolia is having 5 flights to Ulgii weekly.

Festival dates for 2015: 19-20 September.

Venue: Sagsai soum, Bayan-Ulgii province (1hr drive from Ulgii town).

For more info about the Altai Eagle Festival just contact the organisers at the following numbers & emails: bluewolftravel@gmail.com, info@bluewolftravel.com or +976-99110303, 95382772 and 94382772.

Photos are provided by the Organisers.

Prepared by Zola, General Manager of Mongolian Tourism Association for GoGo Travel. © All rights reserved 2015.

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