The Tsaatan people( also called Dukha) domesticate reindeer, riding them, breeding them and using them for milk, cheese and fur, their home region of Darkhad valley, Hovsgol province, Mongolia. The area inhabited by the Tsaatan is known as the “taiga,” who live in conical tents similar to the North American teepee. The area is home to some of the most powerful Shamans in Mongolia.
Unfortunately, their way of life is dying out as both their populations and the sizes of the reindeer herds diminish. Estimates of the Dukha population range between 200 and 400 individuals. Today, their primary source of income is the tourists that come to buy their crafts and ride their reindeer. The Tsaatan live far away from any major transport routes, requiring travelers to be flexible, adaptable, and ready for all conditions, weather, and circumstances. The taiga is cold, wet, and far away. To reach the Tsaatan you will need to drive off-road through muddy, bumpy conditions for a minimum of 12 hours, and then ride by horse for a minimum of 3 hours.
- Prior to the 15th century, the ruling religion of Mongolia was that of the great blue sky – “hoh tenger”. This system of traditional beliefs and practices, known in the west as Shamanism, is based on the idea that the visible world is full of invisible forces or spirits. The shaman as intermediary between the natural and spiritual world, communicates with the spirits of water, wind, fire, trees, the moon and so on, for assistance in healing, hunting or changing the weather. The healers of the Buu, as it is known in Mongolia today, are still performing these peculiar rituals. On this special trip we will take you into this secret world, to see the healer call the spirits into his body and grant him the power to heal and see the future.