Through the Friendly Ulaanbaatar program, the Ulaanbaatar City Mayor’s Office will organize Danshig Naadam – Khuree Tsam 2016, a religious and cultural festival, on August 6 and 7 at Khui Doloon Khudag.
Danshig Naadam is a smaller presentation of the three manly games of Naadam than the National Naadam Festival. Danshig Naadam promotes Mongolian traditions and culture, and aims to preserve Buddhist rituals and performances dedicated to the wellbeing of the people. The event will also promote tours and traditional items for both domestic and foreign attendees, and call on residents of Ulaanbaatar to safeguard Mongolia’s cultural heritage.
Gandantegchenlin Monastery is overseeing the religious events of the festival, and all the Buddhist monasteries in Ulaanbaatar will have monks participating in the performances.
Over 500 Buddhist monks, commonly known as lamas, will open Danshig Naadam and conduct sutra readings at Chinggis Square on August 6, beginning at 6:00 a.m. The sutra readings will be followed by a performance by 350 contortionists from the provinces of “The Myth of Mountains and Rivers”.
The festival will continue at Khui Doloon Khudag Naadam Complex with the Khuree Tsam (a religious mask dance), competitions for Buddhist monks, and naadam sporting events. Art performances, a domestic product fair, and food festivals will also take place during Danshig Naadam.
A total of 256 national wrestlers will compete in the Danshig Naadam wrestling tournament, and three horse races will take place. The audience will also be able to watch archery and anklebone shooting tournaments.
Free shuttle buses will run between Mongolian State University of Education (MSUE) and Khui Doloon Khudag throughout the weekend. Buses will leave from the main entrance of MSUE starting at 8:00 a.m. and will stop operating at 10:00 p.m.
The following is an interview with Head of the Ulaanbaatar City Tourism Department E.Battulga about attracting tourists through Danshig Naadam.
The organizers of Danshig Naadam said that they are aiming to attract a large number of tourist to Mongolia through Danshig Naadam. Why did you especially choose Danshig Naadam to attract tourists?
Within the Friendly Ulaanbaatar program, there is a provision to attract tourists through arts and culture events. That’s why we are organizing over 30 arts and cultural events through the program, and one of them is Danshig Naadam.
The world knows only one big event that is organized in Mongolia, the National Naadam Festival. It’s hard to find hotel rooms and plane tickets during the National Naadam Festival of Mongolia. We have to organize more events like Naadam Festival to form a bigger tourism flow. Increasing the number of tourists is good for Mongolia’s economy. That is why we started organizing Danshig Naadam last year. Attracting tourists through religious and cultural events is a big opportunity.
Do you think attracting tourists through religious and cultural event is a wise decision?
The targeted tourist markets of Danshig Naadam are countries that are close to Mongolia, which have similar religions, tourists of various countries who want to watch Danshig Naadam. Religious tourism is an independent sector. For example, many Mongolians travel to Buddhist countries. Mongolia is one of the main three countries that developed Buddhism, but we have nothing to attract Buddhist believers with.
How many tourists do you expect will visit Danshig Naadam?
We started promoting and reporting about the Danshig Naadam 2016 last year because it is an event for tourists. There were few tourists during last year’s Danshig Naadam because that was the first Danshig Naadam.
We are expecting a lot of tourists this year. Currently, over 780 tourists have booked seats and tickets for the Danshig Naadam 2016. Foreign press and media organizations, and travel program makers are coming to report about Danshig Naadam.
I think Danshig Naadam will bring a lot of foreign currency to Ulaanbaatar.
Below is the schedule of this year’s Danshig Naadam.