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.
This is my second interpretation of Weightless.
I felt somewhat surreal when watching clouds in the Inner Mongolian desert.
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.
No photography was allowed inside the mausoleum of Genghis Khan in Inner Mongolia.
One of the pictures taken was a close up of the dragon head.
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.
I hope when I have the time, I will research into their meaning and significance.
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.
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.
These pictures were taken at the mausoleum, as part of my trip to Inner Mongolia.