The district of Zakamna is open for everybody
Zakamenskii district is one of the beautiful lands of the Buyiat Republic. It is located in the southwest of the republic of Buryatia. In the north-west it is bordered with Tunkinsky district,in the east with Dzhidinsky area, in the north-east with Kabansky district, in the north with Irkutsk Region, in the south with Mongolia.
In the age of globalization we, poople of Zakamna, feel optimistic and confident about our future. Today making the accents in our community activity we see tourism as a priority in economic development of our district/ In this respect, Zakamnqa has enormous potential. It is a unigue beautiful place which has been praised by poets and fairy-tellers.
One of the great people said: “The world is a big and interesting book, and those who don`t travel, read only one page.” The change undertaken during the last few years in political priorities, Fundamental break in the people`s mind, growth of the mutual interest in cooperation has made it possible for the foreigners to open Russia for themselves, as well as our citizens can see faraway countries. Buryatia, ranking the 4-th among other regions of Russia, has recently become one of the most attractive places for foreign and Russian tourists.
Tourism is known to be one of the promising trends of the economic development in Zakamna too. By stimulating the entry and inner tourism, relying on the world experience, it is possible to develop industry, agriculture, transport, communications, cultural and social sphere. The district has a huge tourist potential the full use of which can meet the needs in rest both of its residents and the residents of the neighboring regions. Ecological tourism has become the most favored one as well as adventure, ethnographical, scientific education and other types.
Arshans of Zakamna
Due to the unique natural resources of Zakamna since long ago has recommended itself as one of the regions with a widely developed medicinal tourism.There are so many beautiful songs, poems and legends composed about Zakamna. One of the legends tells about Sogto Lama. Long time ago in the village of Ulekchin Sogto Lama marked the place where a healing spring came out. He did it by putting stones around that place. The spring had a great curative power – the Lama blessed it and the spring was named after him – the spring of Sogto Bayan Khongoroi. People with various diseases get cured there. The land of Zakamna can boast of a number of healing springs. There are 18 unexplored mineral springs in the district. Not far from the village of Bortoi there is a cold water spring Ulkhansag which has several exits to the surface.
In the village of Utata there is the spring of Shuluun marsin. Its waters can cure stomach diseases and digestion system disfunction. Of course, there is a list of other famous arshans – Urt-Ulyantui, Zagaan Nuga, Bayan goloi, Bulegei, Gorkhonoi, Mulhetyn…
Without doubt, the most famous and popular place among the visitors and local people is the Engorboi springs which makes up a complex of 15 arshans. It is located in the upper part of the river Dzhida. Each spring’s exit has its own name and located in the clockwise direction from the hospital buiiding: khaluun (lot), taban arshan (five arshans), burkhaltai (divine), zurkhenei (heart diseases cure), kholoin (sore throat curing), khanyadanai (cough curative), elgenei (curing liver diseases), nyudenei (good for eyesight), khotin (curing stomach diseases)…
The examination of the hydro-chemical characteristics of the Engorboisky spring proved the thermal waters to be slightly mineralized. There are also comfortable two-storeyed cottages available, a canteen, a policlinics, a banya, bathing facilities, shower cabins for tourists. Spring and local nature are strong health – improving factors that recharge people with energy, cheerfulness and health. Besides it there are a lot of another arshans in Zakamna where one can heal a lot of diseases.
Thus, the mineral springs of Zakamna are viewed as the basis for further development of sanatorium-resort infrastructure and tourism in the district.
The geographic position of Zakamna is favorable and gives many opportunities for ecological tourism. One can enjoy local nature with its wild life and virgin nature landscapes, and visit sacred places, relax at hot spring resorts. There is a number of healing hot springs in Zakamna, for example, Engoborskiy Arshan. For many centuries people traveling here have been always attracted by unigue wonders of our nature: blue snows of Sanaga, alpune meadows, mirror – like lakes, ever white top of the Uran-Dushe Mountain which we proudly call the heart of Zakamna.
The tale about "Snezhinski"
At the foot of the Mountain Khamar-Daban the pure crystal waters of the mountain river Snezhnaya are running for thousands of yeasrs. The river was named after the state reserve “Snezhinsky” in 1976, which was founded by lvan Sizov. The district’s specialist on hunting.
This precious place is located in highlands along the mountain of the Maliy Khamar-Daban. The reserve borders on the Tunka and Kabansk districts, the lrkutsk region.
The third part of the territory of the reserve is the mountain range – stone peaks and plato of the Maliy Khamar-Daban (the Small Khamar-Daban). The highest peak is 2371 meters high. The lower parts of the mountainare covered with bushes not only like those of the Arctic Mountain alpine type but also by plants grown in meadows, steppes and forests.
The southern slopes of Khamar-Daban are covered by the bushes of the short-leave birch, rhododendron, and the kuril tea.
The winter lasts long in the Mountain but it is not severely cold. Fortunately it is mild, with tons of snow which makes it comfortable to fall down into it when skiing. The summer time is short and brings rich rainfalls. It is an excellent habitat for such animals as Siberian deer, Manchurian deer, a musk-deer, lynx, sable, badger. The river Snezhnaya is rich in fish.
So, “Snezhinskyi” is a brsutiful place of Zabaikalye, a paradise of virgin wild nature.
ZAKAMNA’S “HEART” IS URAN DOUSHE
The beauty and freshness of virgin nature of Zakamna is striking and inspires those why had a chance to visit if. Its most popular attraction, a nature’s true masterpiece, is the mountain of Uran Doushe which is located at the border of Zakamna, Mongolia and Tunka. There are many legends about it. As one of them says, the patrons of Mountain are 99 heaven darkhans (blacksmiths). It is so romantic and magic to watch the purple-red luminescence radiating around the mountain. It is believed that heaven darkhans-sakhyusans (gods) come down from heaven to the Earth in order to enjoy doing their favorite job – the blacksmith’s and jewelry making trades. It is considered that only special people can inherit this sacred gift of being a blacksmith as the trade of blacksmith was honorable and respected. If the family’s ancestors were darkhans, the clan was believed to be stronger and more powerful than the family of shamans.
Zakamna’s people call this unusual anvil-like mountain “the hearth” of high it is a must for them to worship the gods of this sacred place.
Ulekchin village was founded 300-400 years ago by representatives of the Hoiho tribe who came from North and West Mongolia. It`s surrounded by 11 sacred mountains. The Ounder Baabai Mountain makes a natural separation barrier from other world. It`s believed that this Mountain heals and protects people living in this area. Each summer the residents of two villages Ulekchin and Kharatsaya hold a religious ritual in honor of Ounder Baabai, and then it is followed by the traditional Buryat men`s games: wrestling, archery, horse racing.
Tourism opportunities are mainly provided with rich historical and cultural traditions background which has deep roots going back to the past of the district. It is a home for many ethnic groups: Buryats, Russians, Germans, and Evenks. Their traditions and customs have been carefully preserved and recognized. This allows facilitating of the development of ethno tourism – one of the most promising tourism in the world.
The Evenks of Zakamna were formed into a separate ethnographic group in the first half of the 18 century. Their ancestors lived in the mouth of the Lena River and were known as verkholenskie tungusy. Before the Russian-Chinese border was established they could freely move within the Southern Baikal and North Mongolia, across the Valleys of the rivers Selenga, Dzhida, Onon, sometimes wandering to the East as far as Shilka and Argun. Later part of the group was recruited to the border service being included into the Buryat Cossack troops. They settled in their present Location – in the Valley of Dzhida River and its tributaries, one of them – the Khamney River. Such geograplic position, perhaps, explained why the Evenks who settled there called themselves the Khamnigan. It is derived from the name of the district – Zakamensky which means “being situated beyond the Khamnei”.
The Khamnigans are a small ethnic group; the total population living in Russia is 636.419 of this number live in the village of Myla of the Zakamna district.
The current territory of Zakamna’s Evenks’ traditional inhabitance is the valley of the river Snezhnaya (Udalha), where there is the state reservation park “Snezhinky”.
The spirit of unity
The khongodors are a big tribal group, one of the main ethnic communities of the Buryat people. However, there is no common opinion about their origin. Some believe that khongodors originated uigirs and have Turkic roots; others refer them to Buryats according to their language, material and spiritual nculture. In terms of territory they are divided into the alar, oka, tunka and zakamna khongodors.
Also some of the representatives of khongodors live on the territory of Mongolia. Fifteen years ago in 1991 khongodors had a first big tribal meeting. Such «kurultais»play a uniting role for khongodors and for all Byryat people. Since that tine every two years the representatives from the khongodors districts host their guests from the tribe coming from other districts. In 2004 the khongodors of Zakamna hosted such a meeting in their land. In Sanaga ( the khongodors of Zakamna live in this settlement as well as in Shara Azarga,Engorboi, Utata, Dalakhai) a big celebration with national games, song and dances was held.
The khongodor of Buryatia, the Irkutsk and Mongoloa gathered together in ordr to asknowledge and make young generation learn about the way of life, traditions and customs of their ancestors which they used to observe. The sport competitions were very popular: the best sportsmen were trying to satisfy the expectations of their tribesmen. No one could help being indifferent to the events during the holiday.
As the holiday was over it was time for Zakamna people to see their dear guests off and the 6th International meeting of the Khongodor tribe became part of the history of the entire glorious Mongol speaking peoples.
Khongodor including those of Zakamna are currently preparing for the 7th Khongodoriada in Alar , (the Irkutsk region).
“The world religions can make a great contribution to the cause of peace if there is a peace of growing harmony between different beliefs. It would be sad and tragic if the interreligious competitions and conflicts broke worldwide peace in the 21 century”, - it is an extract from a Noble Prize Winner, leader of the Buddhists of the world, His Holyness Dalai-lama fourteenth`s appeal to the participants of the Worldwide Summit of the millennium of the religions and spiritual leaders for peace in the whole world, which took place in August of 2000 in New-York. The spiritual leader of the Buddhists of the world, who is a political exile on the will of the leaders of China, did not attend the forum and that`s why his appeal provoked the widest response among the participants of the summit. It`s not by chance that the chapter starts with the worlds of one of the spiritual leaders. Of course, changes in the world community, growing tendencies to globalization of different countries, peoples, economics, cultures happening in all spheres touch upon the sphere of religions relations. The last period of the history of development of the spiritual life in Russia differs from all the previous ones. Democratization of the society, glasnost, freedom of faith, non-interference of the state structures into religious organizations activity, the support of their traditional confessions have created favorable conditions for a specific rise in the development of many religions and beliefs, especially in the last decade of the passing century. All these public processes have taken place in Buryatia too.
The spiritual sphere of society have been historically formed under the mutual influence of the indigenous people`s religions: Buddhism, Shamanism and Orthodoxy, which contributed greatly to the maintenance of a special socio-psychological climate in the republic where all the cultures and religions enjoy equal rights. It has been historically settled that every religion, widespread in a definite national ethnic environment (Orthodoxy – among the Russians, Buddhism - among the Buryats) is considered by its adherence as the national-cultural property.
The first lamas, Buddhist missionaries, appeared on the territory of modern Buryatia approximately four hundred years ago. Buddhism came from Mongolia, to which it had come from China (Tibet). It was represented by the main Tibetan schools, the major of which is the school of gelugpa, having a biggest number of followers in Buryatia, Tiva and Kalmykia. Buddhism as a religion was officially recognized by the decree of Tsaritsa Elisathetta in 1741. It was for the first time when the Europeans recognized Buddhism as a teaching, which has an ancient history, can answer many questions and cannot but find a response in the heart of any person. The teaching were disseminated by self-sacrificing lamas, religious traditions have been passed on from one generation to another and is an integral part of the culture of the Central Asian peoples. Every family believes it to be honorable to have its member among religious clergymen.
“The path of truth is shown in the datsans of Zakamna”
Buddism started to expand in Zabaikalye on the middle of the 18th century. In 1764 in the settlement of Mungen-Dobuun there was built the first felt made dougan (the Buddhist religious monument). In 1835 a new building of the Sanaga datsan (temple) was constructed, it was one of the biggest temples along the Selenga river. In 1830 the Tsezhe-Burgultaisky datsan was founded.
The Sanaginsky datsan of Dash-Pounzorlig. The datsan is situated 3 km. away from the biggest village of the district – Sanaga. It is quite symbolic that the datsan is located between five sacred mountains – oboo. The shireete lama (senior priest) of the datsan is Dzampa Monlam (Tsydenov Bair Bimbaevich). Zakamna`s people call him a true philosopher. They refer to him with various questions. The datsan was reconstructed in 1991. The temple has a rich history and its lamas reached the highest ranks in the religious hierarchy. Thus, having studied at the biggest Buddhist monasteries of Lhasa (Baruun-Chzhu) the shireete Nimbu Gunzenov (1926-1928) took the title of haaramba. Among famous priests of the datsan there should be mentioned Banzarakshin sorombo who was an astrologist (zurkhaisha).
Ust`-Burgultaisky datsan dondub-Norbulin. This Buddhist temple was founded in 1830 and has old century traditions. In the first half of the 19 century around 450 lamas used to serve there. They used to learn the Buddhist philosophy (choira), medicine, practice of tantra, the Mongolian and Tibetan languages. Today the shireete lama of the Burgultai datsan is Densin Samchog lama. Five khuvaraks (novices) study at the Buddhist school of the Ivolginsky datsan. In 1996 there was built a new Sakhyusan dougan there and two years later – Maani dougan.
With faith in radiant future.
This spring has been notable for a remarkable event – a temble after Svyatitel Nikolai Chudotvorets (Saint Nicolas Miracle - maker) has been opened with crowds of people in front of it. One can see from far away the amazingly beautiful and magnificently bright domes of heavenly color and the guild of crosses.
The orthodox cathedral in Zakamensk has been erected by the entire community`s efforts.
According to Vadim Vlasov , the temple archpriest, lots and lots people put all their hearts and souls into its construction.
Orthodox way of life is also being revived in other populated areas of Zakamna. A church has been built in the village of Kharatsai. Here, in February, Father Vadim, the dean of the cathedral, served the first divine liturgy. The parish in Bayangol is being planned to be enlarged. Today the Zakamensk orthodox temples` doors are flung open for everyone entering them in praise of God. People find the place to make their minds easy, to save their souls.
The growing influence Shamanism on its believers has been observed lately, it had existed in Zakamna for a long time and had been of the ancient religions. The main cult of Shamanism is the Eternal Blue Sky and tengerianity. Shamans have never built any temples or buildings, they directly applied to natural astral objects in the form of mountains, cliffs, glades and other unusual energetic places, where they held their tailgans and rituals. That`s why Shamanism is understood as the religion of worshipping Nature and the Universe, and shamans are a kind of mediators between the cosmos and the man. Shaman`s natural temples and places of rituals have been considered to be saint and have always been thoroughly taken care of and kept in order and clearness. There a lot of shamans in Zakamna and some of them are well-known in Buryatia.
Zakamna has good recourses for agricultural tourism. Our specialists have worked out several projects and have established business contacts. One of them is Dr. Eddie Dry who is a US specialist on agricultural tourism issues.
One of the steps taken to develop district ,s infrastructure is construction of the automobile passing point «Ainek-Gol». Passing through this point will allow traveling straight to Huvsgul (Mongolia). According to the project the construction of @Ainek-Gol@ will start in 2007. There are two parties interested in the project ,s realization: Russia and Mongolia. Its estimated cost is 5, 7 millions roubles.
Alar` village (Irkutsk region) – lake Baikal-
Tunkinski district (Buryat Republic) – Okinski district (Buryat Republic) –
Khubsugulski aimak (Mongolia) – Khubsugul lake (Mongolia) –
Bulganski aimak (Mongolia) – APP “Ainek-Gol” – Zakamenski district (Buryat republic)
The way of life, culture and folklore of the indigenous Buryat population are of a special interest. Guests themselves often participate on joint, bright, theatrical performances, in which they learn to dance the Buryat dance of yohor, taste delicious boozy and white food, the symbol of Buryat hospitality. Anyway tourists will remember their experience for a long time. In short, our district has a great potential for become a tourism a strategic sector of the economy. Need to systematically work in this direction and don`t miss a unique chance to loudly declare about yourself in the world.
So we, people of Zakamna believe that tourism can become a strategic part of our economy. Our land is rich and various. We should take advantage of it and step into future with respect and gratitude for our home place. We welcome to visit our land, because – «Zakamna is open for everybody». Creatiopn of the web-site «Zakamna.ru»is one of our projects being currently realized.