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Sagaalgan - White Month (7 days, 6 nights)


Ulan-Ude — Ivolginsky Datsan — Ust-Barguzin — Zabaikalsky national park — Chivirkuisky bay — Ulan-Ude

In Europe people celebrate the New Year once a year. In Russia — twice a year. Only in Buryatia we celebrate the New year 3 times a year! To start a new life, to get rid from the bad — one more chance to begin over given by an old buryat tradition of celebrating the New Year

In Europe people celebrate the New Year once a year. In Russia — twice a year. Only in Buryatia we celebrate the New year 3 times a year! To start a new life, to get rid from the bad — one more chance to begin over given by an old buryat tradition of celebrating the New Year.

«Sagaalgan» (from buryat «the White month») — is a festival, which symbolizes the beginning of a New Year and the coming of spring. The coming of the Sagaalgan is estimated according to the lunar calendar and it is usually celebrated in February. The Buryat New Year is very good because of its continuance — can you imagine, all the month through people can visit each other and eat the white dairy food. It will be an opportunity not to be missed for you to take part in this beautiful and picturesque celebration from the very beginning till the very end of it!

The Buryats have a wonderful and beautiful tradition of celebrating the «White month» which shows the spiritual culture of the nation, its poetical perception of the World. The Sagaalgan symbolizes purification, the beginning of a new life and drawing into the world of sublimity.

People get ready long before the festival. The holiday service is held in the monasteries for several days and the monks pray for the happy course of the New Year to come. People clean their houses and make the New Year's fare.

You'll get rid of the diseases and bad thoughts during the magical ritual of before the holiday evening bonfire «Doogzhooba» at the gates of the main Buddhist Temple «Dashi Choikhorlin»!

As soon as the dawn comes, we will celebrate the beginning of the New Year. In the past people started offering their congratulations to others from the ceremonial round. In the very beginning they would certainly visit the «Ger» (yurta) of the eldest and the most respected person in the neighborhood. The guests would present a «khadak» (a blue silk scarf), milk, tea, shawls, sweets, plates and dishes with food to the hosts. In response to the guests presents the hosts presented them with sweets, frozen meat, tea, butter and silver coins. The smallest children could receive a newborn lamb or a calf as a present which symbolized well-being and the increase of the livestock.

You will see only «white food» (dairy products) on the tables in Buryat families: dried cream, homemade cheese «khurood», dried curds, dried sour clotted milk, salamat, buns and cookies made on milk, boozy (dumplings made on steam) and milk vodka «tarasoon». Milk is a sacred drink of the Buryats, it is the symbol of fertility, the heaven's help and wish for the best. Just like the Orthodox fasting such a diet fast can purify and make healthier a person, centuries-old rites and rituals can strengthen a person's spirit!

You'll have a great opportunity to visit the land of spirits, shamans and buddhist lamas (monks) during this important and solemn festival of the Buryats. This will certainly be a never-to-be-forgotten experience in your travelling in Siberia!

We are absolutely sure, that you will be struck by the wonderful combinations of cultures and nations that you will witness with your own eyes!

If you spend the Sagaalgan happily and peacefully it means for you that the coming year will be very successful!.

Sagaalganaar! — Happy New Year!

 Sagaalgan — The white month — The month of kindness.



In pleasurable anticipation of events

Day 1

Transfer airport/RW  — hotel/homestay, check in 

City tour

Lunch (independently)

Tour to Ivolginsky Datsan (35 km away from Ulan-Ude). There you will be accompanied by a khuvarak (student)* Bonfire «Dugjooba»** on the territory of the Ivolginsky Monastery

Supper at the restaurant «Ger» (national buryat cuisine : salamat, boozy, bukhulyor, noodle-soup, green tea with milk, shange (buryat (diary) products
bread), white

* Ivolginsky Datsan — the center of Buddhism in Russia. Nowadays it is also an institute «Dashi Choikhorlin» (from Tibetan: «The land of Happy Teaching»). It's a special school where the buddhist monks, buddhist scholars, specialist in Old Mongolian languages are taught. (!) The unique body of khambo-lama Dashi-Dorjo Itigilov is kept inside the monastery. 75 years ago he started meditation and attained the special state of it called «Samadkhi» - thus, he purified the body and the mind and prevented it from putrefaction. The body of the great Lama was found again and he still seats at the same posture of Lotus as he had set before the death.

** If you want to take part in an old ritual of purification you are to have a small piece of an old clothes which should be thrown into the bonfire in order to get rid of the illnesses and bad thoughts.

Day 2

Breakfast in hotel/homestay

Excursion the Oriental Medicine Center*

Lunch at restaurant of Siberian cuisine «Samovar»
Tour to Ethnographical museum of the nations of TransSiberia region**

Tour to Old Believers village. Concert ancient russian songs, ritual games, dances.
Supper with the family of Old Believers.***

* Doctors of Tibetan medicine can give you the exact diagnosis after they felt your pulse. A great opportunity to see with your own eyes procedures of non-conventional treatment: acupuncture, phytotherapy, herudotherapy (gerodotherapy). The theoretical basis of the medical treatment is the Atlas of Tibetan medicine (exhibited in the center). There is also a phytopharmacy where one can buy medical herbs.

** Open air museum. Includes Evenks, Buryats, Cossacks, Old Believers complexes. Authentic houses, gers, domestic utensils, old furniture, national costumes.

*** Old Believers of Buryatia is colorful branch of Orthodox Russians exiled in Siberia in VIII century after the church reform carried out by Patriarch Nikon. They managed to save their culture, singing art, religion as they were two centuries ago. Lunch at a family, ritual fanny games, Old Believers polyphonic songs and a lot of fun!

Day 3

New Year breakfast at a Buryat family*

Transfer Ulan-Ude — Ust-Barguzin (5 hours)
Lunch at the guest house «Turka» (half the way to Ust-Barguzin)**

Arrival at Ust-Barguzin. Accommodation in the log-houses with good conveniences. Banya (Russian sauna), supper***

* It is a great chance to try the best «white» dishes of the traditional buryat cuisine and to take part in the ritual of congratulations

** Turka means «omul road». Baikal omul is a endemic fish that lives nowhere but only in Baikal. On Baikal land one can taste omul cooked on different ways: salt omul, «cold» and «hot» fumed, frozen ant cut in thin pieces, prepared on sticks on bonfire.

*** Ust-Barguzin is the last big village on the way to the Transbaikalian National Park. It is situated in the mouth of the Barguzin river. You can apprise the heat of the Siberian banya, dishes of the Russian Siberian cuisine and famous Siberian hospitality.

Day 4


Great tour around the Barguzinskaya valley * (by minivan)

Lunch at a Buryat Ger, concert of buryat national music. Return to Ust-Barguzin: banya, supper.

* The Barguzinskaya valley — is a rich repository of archeological and natural monuments: petrography (3 000 years old); Suvinskaya Saxony (breathtaking rocks, remind you of the watch-towers of a castle); Buryat Obo (sacred place) — called «Bull stone»; Inisky stone garden (10 km2, in the Japanese culture «Khiraniva» - «Philosophical garden»)

Day 5


Bay exploring on fishermen's sledge on the lake Baikal ice from Ust-Barguzin to Chivirkuysky bay across the isthmus called «Myahkaya Karga»*.

Kurbulik (village)*. Three kinds of winter fishing. Overnight at fishermen

*Kurbulik is a small fishermen's village on the coast of the Chivirkuysky bay. A great opportunity to try three kinds of Baikal winter ice fishing! (with an net; with a sweep net; with a small rod). Fish soup and fishes on sticks fried on bonfire.

Day 6


Sledding to Zmeinaya bay (Snake bay)*

Hot springs, islands, caves Transfer to Ust-Barguzin (by minivan)

Accommodation in homestay. Supper. Banya.

* Hot springs can be found in several places on the shore and under the water surface. In the wintertime there's no snow around the spring, it melts away on the warm ground (the temperature in one spring is +60C and in another +40C). The water contains hydrocarbon-natrium-sulphate.

Day 7


Transfer Ust-Barguzin — Ulan-Ude. Lunch at guest-house «Turka»*

Final festival supper at «Ger» restaurant

Departure from Ulan-Ude

*Guest house on the coastline. Warm and hearty welcome and delicious Russian cuisine.




Our address

670000, Ulan-Ude,
Profsoysnaya Street, 31
Tel/Fax Ulan-Ude:
8 (3012) 216-177
664025, Irkutsk,
Rossiyskaya Street, 6. Office 2
Tel/Fax Irkutsk:
8 (3952) 342-043

ICQ: 616-858-802
Skype: russianmir

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