Barguzin Valley: In the land of thousands spirits

Barguzin Valley is one of the largest and most beautiful valleys in Buryatia, stretching 230 kilometers through the north-eastern part of the republic. It is home to the legendary burial place of Genghis Khan. (The photo depicts a burkhan (holy place) in an uninhabited region of Shene-Galzhin, not far from a shaman cemetery.)
In common with many of Russia's finest natural landmarks, Barguzin Valley is not the most accessible place. The almost complete absence of roads is compounded by taiga forest, desert, and mountain tundra. Nevertheless, this legendary place attracts adventurers and tourists from around the world. (The photo depicts the main building of Barguzin Datsan.)
Barguzin Valley is the birthplace of the east wind, which can reach 20 meters per second. The continental climate is harsh. The average summer temperature is +15°C, dropping to -30°C in winter, which lasts from October till May. The best time to visit is June-September. (The photo depicts a cowhide is left to dry on the wall of a datsan house. It will be used to make a prayer drum).
The valley contains many religious and sacred places for various tribes and peoples. The annals of Barguzin Valley abound with interesting tales. (The photo depicts a sacred grove on the ascent up Mount Baragkhan. According to legend, Baragkhan is home to Khazhar-Sagaan-Noyon, the ruler of Barguzin Valley).
In sacred Buryat places, swearing, fighting, and dropping litter are strictly forbidden. On the territory of datsans (Buddhist university monasteries), one should move from left to right, following the path of the sun. (The photo depicts Tibetan syllables. A painting on a stove inside a datsan).
The Buryats and Evenks who inhabit the valley do not inform newcomers of the location of their sacred places, for which reason it is recommended to travel with an expert guide or not to ask for directions — as a rule, the locals will answer that they do not know. (The photo depicts an ancient shaman tomb).
A cradle in the Alla sacred grove. It is hung up by childless parents during a ceremony to summon forth a child, which is conducted by the local shaman.
Inhaling and blowing cedar-bark smoke, a shaman asks the spirits to banish disease and ailments.
While a mother reads a sacred text, her son rests on her knees.
Adorning a dugan (prayer house).
Hunting and fishing are not allowed inside nature reserves. (The photo depicts the main occupation of the indigenous Buryats is cattle farming).
Hunters return from Alla Gorge at dusk. They walk past the bath house at the mineral spring and ascend the long wooden steps.

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