Postcard from the Road: A Photo Finish at the Naadam Festival in Mongolia

Postcard from the Road: A Photo Finish at the Naadam Festival in Mongolia

Tour Manager Tatiana Pokalova sent us this postcard from the road on MIR’s Mongolia to Moscow: A Trans-Siberian Railway Adventure small group tour.

During her travels, Tatiana took a photo of the finish line for the horse races at the annual Naadam Festival. Naadam is Mongolia’s favorite festival, and showcases the nation’s best in wrestling, horse racing, and archery, as well as uniquely Mongolian sports such as “ankle-bone shooting.” It originated centuries ago, but in the 20th century this celebration of courage, strength, dexterity and marksmanship acquired new content and became more national in character. The festival now commemorates July 11th, the anniversary of Mongolia’s independence from China.

At Naadam, horses race in different categories based on age and sex. The youngest horses (two-year-olds and younger) race over a distance of 15km (just over 9 miles), while mature horses (five years of age and older) complete about a 30-km (18.6-mile) course. Interestingly, the jockeys are all young children aged six to 12 years old, and girls as well as boys are allowed to participate.

Tatiana was particularly impressed with the young jockey whose picture she took in the photo above. She wrote:
“The jockey in the photo was the winner of this year’s race in the mature horse category. This boy is only 6 years old, but he is amazingly strong! Many of the jockeys at Naadam ride bareback, which is a feat in and of itself — it takes extraordinary stamina to keep yourself mounted on a horse over such a long distance with no saddle.”

Want to experience this trip in 2019?

Mongolia to Moscow: A Trans-Siberian Railway Adventure
Landscapes and Cultures of Mongolia, Siberia, and Western Russia
Depature: September 4-19, 2019

You can also experience this trip in September. Rather than visiting the Naadam Festival (which is only available on the July departure), the September trip includes a visit outside the capital to the Aryapala Temple, a center for Buddhist retreat and meditation located in beautiful Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, and graced with majestic views and profound quiet.

There are 4 ways to experience Naadam in 2020. Secure your spot now!

Mongolian Explorer: The Gobi & Beyond with Naadam Festival
Overland Expedition Across the Land of Nomads
Departure: June 30-July 13, 2020

Mongolia to Moscow: A Trans-Siberian Railway Adventure
Landscapes and Cultures of Mongolia, Siberia, and Western Russia
Departure: July 10-26, 2020

Siberia & Mongolia: Spirits & Nomads
The Gobi Desert, A Country Naadam Celebration, Lake Baikal
Departure: June 9-24, 2020

The Trans-Siberian Mongolian Route with Naadam Festival
Between Ulaanbaatar and Moscow Aboard the Golden Eagle

Eastbound: July 1-13, 2020
Westbound: July 10-22, 2020

Chat with one of our destination specialists by email or by phone at 1-800-424-7289 to start planning your travels today.


Here are some other photos Tatiana shared with us from her travels on this small group tour – Mongolia to Moscow: A Trans-Siberian Railway Adventure:

Mongolia to Moscow: A Trans-Siberian Railway Adventure. Photo: Tatiana Pokalova

A meeting of riders at the Naadam Festival in Mongolia
Photo: Tatiana Pokalova

Mongolia to Moscow: A Trans-Siberian Railway Adventure. Photo: Tatiana Pokalova

MIR travelers visiting with festival goers at Monogila’s Naadam Festival
Photo: Tatiana Pokalova

Mongolia to Moscow: A Trans-Siberian Railway Adventure. Photo: Tatiana Pokalova

The group visited Ulan Ude and Ivolginsk Datsan – the center of
Russian Buddhism
Photo: Tatiana Pokalova

Mongolia to Moscow: A Trans-Siberian Railway Adventure. Photo: Tatiana Pokalova

The group visited an isolated village of Russian Old Believers and had dinner with a family. During their visit, their hosts shared their unique choral music and stirring songs
Photo: Tatiana Pokalova

Mongolia to Moscow: A Trans-Siberian Railway Adventure. Photo: Tatiana Pokalova

The tour group rode aboard a private boat for exploration of Lake Baikal and the lakeside Circumbaikal Rail line
Photo: Tatiana Pokalova

 

More info about this small group tour

 

Mongolia to Moscow: A Trans-Siberian Railway Adventure
Landscapes and Cultures of Mongolia, Siberia, and Western Russia
Departure: September 4-19, 2019

Travel on regularly scheduled Trans-Siberian trains over a dramatic and variegated route that offers limitless opportunities to meet the diverse local people — Mongol, Buryat, and Russian. Experience the rolling green hills and nomadic traditions of Mongolia, Siberia’s UNESCO-listed Lake Baikal, and endless taiga forest on your way to the booming capital, Moscow. The July 2020 departure features Mongolia’s Naadam Festival.

Chat with one of our destination specialists by email or by phone at 1-800-424-7289 to start planning your travels today.

 

PUBLISHED: July 30, 2019

Related Posts

Share your thoughts