Weekly Photo Challenge: Rare (Stone Heaps )

This week’s DP Photo Challenge Theme is Rare.

While it is not that rare to see these conical stone heaps in Inner Mongolia; but they are still rare in many sense of the word.

These conical mass of stones or Aobaos  can be seen in the open grasslands of Inner Monogolia, 

Aobao was born as a landmark for the grasslands. They were  used to signify the border or to demarcate cities. After the era of Genghis Khan, people admired and yearned for brave heroes who died at the war front. They then made Aobaos as tombs and inserted their swords or axes, which they used when they were still alive, atop the Aobaos.

Later on,  Aobao became a place for sacrifice to the mountain god, the road god and the war-god.

And now, the Aobao’s most important use is for sacrifice. People always sacrifice the best corn, meet, fruit and alcohol to Aobao and pray for good weather, good harvest and good fortune.

Every summer, herdsmen will come to the Aobaos with their offerings. At this time, the Aobaos are decorated with pure white scarves or hadas at the center of the Aobao and colorful pieces of cloth around it and beautiful ethnic dances will be performed around them.

Aobaos are also symbolic things. It is also a place for dating for the young people as Aobaos are now considered romantic meeting places.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Rare ( Tree Stump )

This week’s DP Photo Challenge is Rare.

I am not sure what is the best picture for this theme.DSCF2153

Here is a picture taken of a tree stump in Inner Mongolia, China.

It is said to be a thousand years old.

Isn’t it rare?


Weekly Photo Challenge: Morning ( Camels )

I didn’t expect there were camels in the grassland.

Woke up early in the morning and wandered into the grassland.DSCF2210

It rained the day before and there was no sunrise.

There were quite a few camels that have woken up and grazing on the grassland in Inner Mongolia.DSCF2209

Although, I didn’t expect so many of them.

They were not as tall as the ones I saw in Egypt or India.DSCF2207

They have double humps too.

I surmised that they were raised by people in the area  and are not wild ones.

Also nearby were some horses.


Weekly Photo Challenge : Morning ( Exercise )

When I am on a trip, I have a habit of wandering around the hotel early in the morning to find out what’s happening around the area.

This is Erdos in Inner Mongolia, China.DSCF2228

I was surprised to see the modernity of the buildings in the area.

I saw people doing exercise in the garden, early in the morning.DSCF2230

I was also surprised to see most or maybe all of those doing exercise were women; not only that, they seem to be well dressed up – do they go to work immediately after the exercise?

Why’s that there were no men doing the exercise?DSCF2231

In the same garden, there is also a pool where they have a good reflection of the nearby buildings.

I have flipped the image upside down so the buildings are on the lower half!


The Inner Mongolia Picture

Summer is short in Inner Mongolia.

The green green grass has quickly disappeared and the land become parched and sandy once again.DSCF2199A

It was getting dark; appearing in the horizon are some horses and a scooter – which reminded me that I was actually in Inner Mongolia.

A place which I can imagine to be bleak and very cold in the Winter.



Weekly Photo Challenge: Weightless ( Clouds )

This is my second interpretation of Weightless.

I felt somewhat surreal when watching clouds in the Inner Mongolian desert.

The clouds seemed floating in the air.DSCF2285B

The sand underneath my feet made me feel heavy; whereas in contrast, the string of colorful umbrellas on the horizon appeared as if they hung effortlessly from the air.

The Mongolian yurts on the left reminded me this place was surreal.


Genghis Khan Mausoleum – Close Ups

No photography was allowed inside the mausoleum of Genghis Khan in Inner Mongolia.

So, I am not able to share many of the interesting exhibits like clothing, weapons, coffin etc of Genghis Khan. This is very much regrettable.DSCF2304

Outside the mausoleum, there is a vast space for worshiping of   Genghis Khan.DSCF2306

There was a raised circular space with steps on the sides, presumably this is for staging the worship ceremony.DSCF2308

On the sides, there are stone sculptures of dragon heads.DSCF2309

One of the pictures taken was a close up of the dragon head.

There are also copper or bronze vessels for burning of joss sticks, for making offers during the worshiping ceremony.DSCF2315

As someone who knows not much at all of the Mongolian culture and history, I was at a loss as to what many of the things I saw represent.

For the sake of sharing, I am sharing photos here that I still don’t understand what they represent.DSCF2316

I hope when I have the time, I will research into their meaning and significance.

Genghis Khan’s Mausoleum

Known as Emperor Taizu of the Yuan Dynasty and also named Temujin, Genghis Khan (1162-1227) is a leader of the Mongol tribe, as well as a strategist and a statesman.DSCF2294

Among all the significant rulers in Chinese history, Genghis Khan was  one of the greatest. He was the founder of Mongol Empire and the  sequential Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), and by the end of his life, the  Mongol Empire occupied a substantial portion of Central Asia and China.DSCF2292

The present Genghis Khan’s Mausoleum was built in 1954 in Erdos city,  about 185 km from Baotou, the largest city of Inner Mongolia.DSCF2293

Most people believe that this mausoleum is not where he was actually  buried but is rather a gathering place for Mongolian people to worship  the spirit of the mighty Genghis Khan. The great ruler’s real burial  place still remains a mystery. The mausoleum consists of three grand halls, which are shaped like Mongolian yurts.DSCF2303

The joss sticks and candles in the halls of the tomb burn all year round. Every year, four grand sacrificial ceremonies are held here to commemorate Genghis Khan, a hero of the Mongolian people.DSCF2300

These pictures were taken at the mausoleum, as part of my trip to Inner Mongolia.