Sacred mountains

Sacred mountains

Venerating mountains is a tradition that comes from prehistoric times. The most sacred mountains (for example Otgon Tengel, Altan Ovoo) are frequently venerated through national ceremonies. The other mountains are venerated too by the local inhabitants. Those who visit a sacred mountains make offerings to it and often make a wish. It's said inappropriate to clim a sacred mountain if you don't have a precise and important aim. Women are not allowed to climb sacred mountains but they can show their respect walking around it.

Mongolian people traditionally give honorary names to sacred mountains, such as "Khairkhan", "Khan", or "Bogd". Thus, nearby Ulan Bator, are mountains called "Songino Khairkhan", Batkhan's mountain, or "Shiliin Bogd". The name "Khairkhan" was the name of a spirit living underground that was venerated in the past times. The word "Khan" has the same origin as "khaan" and means "king", originally the most powerful or the richest man of a tribe. "Bogd" comes from "Buddha" and refers to one of its reincarnations.

A mountain called "Bogd" means that it's considered as a place as great and unique as Buddha. This name is given to the most venerated and sacred mountains, principally located in the steppe and Gobi. The mountains called "Khairkhan" usually have steep, sharp peaks covered with snow and ice, and stony slopes. The mountains called "Khaan" or "Khan" have long summits covered with vegetation.

The Bogd Khan Khairkhan Mountain, located South Ulan Bator, does not have steep, stony peaks, but it is so majestic that it's the one and only mountain of Mongolia that has been given the three honorary names.

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