Mongolia is a landlocked country in North-Central Asia, surrounded by Russia and China and land of sprawling semideserts, craggy mountains and sandy paths.
The majority of the people live in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar while the rest lead a nomadic lifestyle.
Within all this, lies the religious altars, known as the Creepy Teepee.
What is Creepy Teepee Mongolia?
It is a shamanistic Ovoo or Oboo where Mongolians pray for achieving happiness, luck, prosperity and love.
Creepy Teepee is actually a heap of rocks and wood with a central vertical arm made of wood and covered with plastic and cloth (usually blue).
They are found on top of mountains and plateaus in Mongolia
Mongolians still seek help from their Gods and spirits today by performing ceremonies at these shrines.
They religiously believe that this is an effective manner of communication with the gods.
Types of Creepy Teepee In Mongolia:
Mongolians, over the year, have made many creepy teepees in the area.
- Some have only stones as the foundation with a single piece of a wooden rod as the flag. The flag contains pieces of cloth or ribbons attached to it.
- Some construct foundations with stone but have a bulky vertical flag. It is rounded up by pieces of plastic or cloth and looks like a dried out coniferous tree.
- Some have made several stone platforms around the main shrine element.
Associated Rituals & Myths:
There were and are many forms of worship historically by the Shamans.
Mostly people are peaceful and have a simple life. They only pray for harmony and love between themselves.
Whenever struck by a problem, these people would resort to these shrines and perform worships.
- They would slaughter animals and offer them to these places either by pouring blood over the stones or placing a part of the animal over or near the Ovoo.
- They would make a fire near the Teepee in an effort to purify their souls from the vices and darkness.
- They would also do their ceremonial dance and feast with the food leftover from the offering.
- They would offer dairy products to the gods at these spots and expect good fortune in return. People still do this by offering butter, milk, and sweets.
- It is believed by Mongolians that whenever you start a journey, circle around the Teepee three times in a clockwise direction and add stones. This ensures a safe journey.
- People in historical times would take their ill relatives to the shrines and pray for their recovery. Even today, Shamans use healing methods at the Creepy Teepees.
Where can you find Creepy Teepees in Mongolia?
Although the people have converted some traditional teepees into temples and monuments, there are many still standing in the barren high mountains.
One of the most famous sacred mountains in Mongolia is the Han Bogd Hairham, which contains a gigantic Creepy Teepee.
Other smaller ones are scattered throughout the region.
Teepee Mongolia – The Grand Tour
While we are at it, why not tell you about how the team of Grand Tour visited this place and the adventurous journey that befell them.
Grand Tour is a survival television series where the group including Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May manages to escape a particular area.
In this episode, they assembled a car, encountered the Bactrian two-humped camel, drank the mare’s milk and saw horses.
Then crossed a water channel and found their way through the dirt paths of Mongolia in the scent of thyme and sage to the town of Moron.
Their struggle tells us how secluded this place is and if you plan to visit it, you must have enough supplies and guidance of a local with you.
Do Mongolians still live in the Teepees?
You may be wondering what is this “Teepee” in the name.
It is a historical tent that Mongolians used to live in. This conical tent was distinctive because of the smoke flaps at the top.
There was a base where you could make fire without any risk due to these flaps.
People would make food inside and lead their lives there. It was made of animal skin and remained cool in summers and warm in winters.
Because Mongolia can get bitterly cold in winters, so this was an effective measure by the people then.
But today, Yurts have taken their place.
Yurts have circular walls and a tent as the roof. They are better insulated, protected, durable, and look more like houses than the traditional teepees.
More than half of the people in Ulaanbaatar lives in Yurt quarters.
It is divided into separate workspaces with the felt which was previously animal skin, is now wool made from the coats of sheep, goats, and yaks that Mongolians are commonly dependant on.
So if you are ready to experience the thrill in which the team of Grand Tour got immersed, Creepy Teepee Mongolia is certainly one of the top spots for adventure and wilderness tourism.
You can perform the rituals in the exact same way the locals do/did to find out if it works.
And don’t forget to stop at every Creepy Teepee and take three rounds of it (or honk the horn) to have a safe journey!
Along with this, you should have all the necessary survival equipment with you like water supplies, tent or hammock, cutting tools, pistol to drive the wild animals away, flashlight glove, waterproof sheets e.t.c.
Have a safe journey!