The Aldyn-Bulak Ethnocultural Complex is located in the Ulug-Khem river valley. A yurt bivouac stands here for a reason: as legend has it, many years ago the quarters of the leading khan of the Dzungar people were located in this valley, and later it hosted a Buddhist Khuree monastery. This is confirmed by excavated items, including the khan's stamp and mossy stones engraved with the Tibetan mantra of prosperity (Oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ). According to some materials, a Buddhist temple was to be built here, and the area was ceremonially cleaned and consecrated. The Tuvan people still believe this place to be holy.
The design of the complex is based upon a model of our universe and the movement of planets through the galaxy. Yurts are the sun and planets in this scheme. The placement of a yurt is chosen in accordance with the teachings of feng shui and is intended to attract good luck and wealth.
Seven yurts make up a large outer ring with four «presidential» yurts inside it. The largest yurt stands in the center (this is a restaurant of the national cuisine). It serves fried mutton liver, juicy blood sausage, steamed dumplings with tail fat, tea with milk and salt, and tuva araga, a mild milky vodka.
The top of the hill hosts a two-meter high Buddha statue in the samadhi pose so that Buddha can meet the sunrise every morning and spread positive energy all around. The Buddha statue was created by Mongolian masters fr om the Kandan monastery and was consecrated by lamas from the Drepung Goman monastery
The complex includes several places for conducting ceremonies: the Aldyn-Bulak holy place, the heavenly gates of Shambhala, and an arch with red columns and blue crossbar set on the hill between two cliffs. The ascent consists of 99 steps — nine has sacral significance for the Tuvan people, and double nine — all the more. The Olympic torch was carried through these gates before the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. While standing under the gates of Shambhala, one can make a wish and have a look at another ceremonial place — nine waving tug (or sulde) banners made of horsehair.
Women may not approach the tug banner, wh ere men perform rituals celebrating courage and honor. One goes three times around the banners repeating the ancient commandment: «Fear not a man who can take away your life and wealth but do fear deeds that can disgrace you or make you lose your dignity — not in other people's eyes, but in your own.»
Aldyn-Bulak is not just a collection of exotic artifacts, but also a tourist base for active recreation. Here you can swim and fish, ride horses, or shoot a bow and arrow. Here you can learn how to milk a goat, process milk in a separator, and make kurut, the national dried cheese. You can also visit unique master classes in Tuvan throat singing. The teacher will demonstrate how to inhale air to fully fill the lungs and produce grumbling sounds by manipulating the diaphragm.
The pride of Aldyn-Bulak is the Ovaa Khoomey monument to throat singing. Sixty-five tons of stones were used to create the monument. Nine treasures, currencies of different countries, and stones from four continents were laid in the foundation. The complex is also equipped with an observation deck with an excellent view of the Enisey river. The deck is designed as a gazebo, with a roof covered in skillfully carved wooden horse heads. An igil musical instrument (Tuva synbol) is attached at the very top.
The buildings in the Aldyn-Bulak Complex are made of eco-friendly but combustible materials — wood, felt, fabrics. For this reason, smoking is strictly forbidden at the complex.
Republic of Tuva / visittuva.ru
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