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Northern Mongolia


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Lake Huvsgul
Try to imagine a 2760 sq km (1080 sq mi) alpine lake, with water so pure you can drink it. Then add dozens of 2000m (6560ft) mountains, thick pine forests and lush meadows with grazing yaks and horses, and you have a vague impression of Khuvsgul Nuur, Mongolia's top scenic heartstopper. This is the deepest lake in Central Asia, and the world's 14th largest source of fresh water. Situated along the border with Russia, the lake is sacred to local Mongolians, who refer to it as 'mother'. It's full of fish and the area is home to sheep, ibex, bear and moose, as well as over 200 species of birds. There are numerous caves around the lake, though they're hard to find without a guide. Three separate peoples live in the area: Darkhad Mongols, Buryats and Tsaatan.
An amazing 90 rivers flow into the lake, but only a single river flows out - the Egiin Gol, which ultimately reaches Lake Baikal in Siberia. Khuvsgul Nuur freezes in winter, allowing huge trucks carrying fuel to cross from Siberia. Visitors can kayak on the lake when it unfreezes, and hike or ride on horseback (or yakback) around it.
The southern boundary of Khuvsgul Nuur is about 775km (480mi) north-west of Ulaanbaator and is reachable by occasional plane, bus or your own jeep. The best time to visit is in spring (around April and May). It's still very cold at this time and the lake may be frozen. The summer (July and August) is warmer but more crowded. Permits are required to visit the lake. They're available on the main road into Khuvsgul Nuur National Park, a few km before the southern entrance at the town of Khatgal.
It is impossible to imagine Mongolia without the uniquely magnificent and pristine land of Khuvsgul or lake Khuvsgul. Lake Khuvsgul covers an area of 2760sq.km and exists at 1605 m above sea level. Khuvsgul is the deepest lake in Central Asia, with a maximum depth of 262metres. It's water is crystal clear and fresh.

Amarbayasgalant Monastery
The monastery was established by order of Manju emperor Enkh- Amgalan Khan, to cherish and give respect to the Undur Geghen Zanabazar, his skills, wisdom, intellect and accomplishments.
One hundred thousands langs (=3730 kg) of silver from the state fund were used to build a magnificently styled place for Buddha teaching and practice in honor of Zanabazar. After searching for a suitable place, the construction works of the monastery called “ Amarbayasgalant ‘’, a palace for God `s meditation , began in the year of red horse,1726, and was completed in the year of red dragon, 1736. Out of deep respect the monastery was then offered to the Undur Geghen.
In 1937-38 a fearsome repression covered Amarbayasgalant Monastery and all the highly trained knowledgeable monks were executed. Also huge numbers of rare religious relics, books, sutras, thangkas and Buddhas which had been collected for 200 years, were destroyed completely. This is how the holy temple of Amarbayasgalant became mere ruins and it was abandoned for 50 shady years.
1990 was the time when the circumstances came for Amarbayasgalant to be restored. Communism had fallen and the people were eager to revive their religious tradition. Under Geghen's monastery Amarbayasgalant was reestablished and nowadays stands strong on its remarkable construction, as on its 300 year history.