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.
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.
I didn’t expect there were camels in the grassland.
It rained the day before and there was no sunrise.
Although, I didn’t expect so many of them.
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.
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.
I was surprised to see the modernity of the buildings in the area.
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?
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!
Summer is short in Inner Mongolia.
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.