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A glimpse of Ordos, Inner Mongolia

2015-08-28 (chinadaily.com.cn)

Ordos, my hometown, is famous for the Mausoleum of Genghis Khan and its rich mineral resources, and the outstanding economic growth in recent years.

Ordos is also the host of the 10th National Traditional Games of Ethnic Minoritie held from August 9 to 19. During the Games I had a chance to travel through the city, from the urban Kangbashen new district to the Mausoleum of Genghis Khan; from a night by the Wulanmulun River to a gala in Shuangju Square.

Salawusu National Wetland Park in Uxin Banner, Inner Mongolia’s Ordos. [Photo provided to China Daily]

 

Located in the southwest of Ordos, Uxin Banner is encircled by Muus Desert, one of China’s four largest deserts.The Wuding River-a branch of the Yellow River-runs through it, and is called Salawusu River in Inner Mongolia .

Along the banks of the River is the Salawusu Site, which is of great interest to archeologists across the world. The site can be dated back to the Paleolithic Age, and fossil fragments from the so-called “Ordos Man” and various mammals were discovered at the site.

Spring memorial ritual-the most important ritual at the Mausoleum of Genghis Khan-falls on the 21st day of the third lunar month every year. The ceremony is also called the “fresh milk ritual” because it offers milk from 99 white mares to Heaven at the ritual.

The ritual has been performed for over 800 years, since the days of Genghis Khan. This year over 100,000 people from around the world came to celebrate the ritual. Some of them had great interest in Genghis Khan.

A Darkhad, who used to guard the Mausoleum of Genghis Khan, pose a photo with his horse. [Photo by Feng Yongbin/China Daily]

67-year old Bayinqingkele is a Darkhad, which means “the privileged ones” who serve the Mausoleum of Genghis Khan. His ancestors have guarded the mausoleum since it was built, and pass the rituals from one generation to the next.

Bayinqingkele feels a deep connection with horses. Even today, he mainly travels by horse. With the rituals at the mausoleum attracting more and more people, he hopes to attend next year’s spring ritual with his 99 white mares, he said while sitting in a yurt filled with the smell of Mongolian milk tea.

Ordos people have bright and simple personalities, and most of them are good at singing and dancing. Hada and good wine are indispensible for greeting guests, and wine goes well with Mongolian music.

Rich coal, rare earth and natural gas are nature’s gifts to Ordos. But the splendid traditional culture, whether the ritual culture, Nomadic culture or the folk customs, are a more generous gift.