The name ‘Mongol’ was first recorded by the Chinese during the Tang dynasty. The Mongols came under Chinese rule in 14th century and achieved its independence in 1921. The Mongolian way of life is nomadic and intimately connected with the ways of animals. Most of the Mongolians live in a Ger — a large, white felt tent that can be moved easily. Mongolians have always taken wholeheartedly to Tibetan Buddhism and the links between Mongolia and Tibet are deep.

The major events held in the country include Naadam Festival, which is also known as the Eriyn Gurvan Naadam. This is the biggest event of the year — the anniversary of the 1921 Mongolian Revolution. Tsagaan Sar — white month is the start of the lunar new year in January or February. After winter, Mongolians celebrate over three days with a lot of food, liquor and singing. The major attractions are Sukhbaatar Square — the spot located at the centre of the city from which Damdiny Sukhbatar, the hero of the revolution declared Mongolia’s independence from China, the Museum of Natural History — it exhibits about Mongolia’s history and geography.

The Museum consists of two complete dinosaur skeletons one of which is the giant flesh eating Tarbosaurus and the other is little duckbilled plant eating Saurolophus. Gadantegchinlen Khiid, which means the great place of complete joy, is one of the most amazing monasteries of the Ulaan Baatar city of Mongolia. Within it are glorious temples adorned with gold and jewels. Khustain Nuruu Nature Reserve was established in 1993 to preserve Mongolia’s wild takhi horses and the steppe environment in which they live. Khovsgol Nuur is the deepest lake in Central Asia and the world’s 14th largest source of fresh water.

The most important meals for Mongolians are breakfast and lunch which usually comprise boiled mutton with lots of fat and flour. There is an old Mongolian saying: ‘Breakfast, keep

for yourself; lunch, share with your friends; dinner, give to your enemies’. Mongolians are big tea drinkers and the classic drink is Suutei Tsai, a salty tea. They also drink Arkhi (vodka) and homemade brew Airag — a fermented horse’s milk with an alcoholic content.