Khuvsgul nuur is located in the northwest of Mongolia near the border to Russia. It is 1,645 m above sea level, 136 km long and 262 m deep. An amazing 90 rivers flow into the lake, but only a single river flows out the Egiin Gol, which ultimately reaches Lake Baikal in Siberia. The lake is surrounded by mountains, meadows and forest, a complete contrast to the rest of Mongolia. It is the second-most voluminous freshwater lake in Asia, and holds almost 70% of Mongolia's fresh water and 0.4% of all the fresh water in the world. Different ethnic groups live within the Lake Khuvsgul National Park: Mongols or Khalkha, Buryat, Darkhat. The town of Khatgal is at the southern end of the lake.
Tsaatan nomad family
30 families of Tsaatan (reindeer breeders) with a unique living traditional culture live in taiga and forest steppe to the north and west of Lake Huvsgul retaining their ancestral culture based on shamanistic rituals and nomadic reindeer herding. The reindeer people live in the North West regions of Huvsgul, which is pretty much like a taiga. Mongolian people called the Reindeer people –Tsaatan people.
Mongolian Shamanism derives from worshipping nature. The Mongolians considered the earth "Mother Earth" and the sky "the Father". The shaman acts as intermediary between the man and the spirits. Shamanism determined the behavior of nomads towards nature. Nowadays, shamanism is still practiced especially in the northern region (Lake Huvsgul).
This respect for nature is still alive in the ritual of the "ovoo". Before going up a mountain, Mongolian people throw a handful of stones to a cairn-like pile (called "ovoo") and walk three times around this pile of stones. To honor the spirits, bottles of vodka and pieces of blue silk are also added to the stones. Ovoos are abundant in the countryside on mountains peaks or passes.