Pilgrimage to Bogdo Uul Mountain, 2016
In this video a group of pilgrims in Elista sets off to Bogdo Uul Mountain late at night. The next morning the minibus with the pilgrims arrives at the mountain which is situated in Akhtubinskiy rayon of Astrakhan oblast’. Upon their arrival, the pilgrims gather at the foot of the sacred mountain, set a fire and light candles. The lama, who arrived with the pilgrims on the same minibus, reads mantras, while the pilgrims sit around the fire and put offerings – including biscuits, incenses, milk, vodka, rice, sweets, butter, and candies – on the fire. At the end, all the pilgrims stand in a half circle around the fire, raise their right hands and sprinkle rice while uttering 'o-o-o'. Afterwards they leave, then return to the fire and finally go up to the top of the mountain.Near the mountain is a lake called Baskunchak. According to a legend, once upon a time a cart carrying utensils and children was crossing the lake. A dog was running alongside the cart. Thirsty, the dog drank the salty water and dropped dead on the spot. Afterwards, the dog's head would re-surface in the lake from time to time, each time sending by-passers into terror. Pointing their hands at the head, they would cry out, 'Baskuncha! Baskuncha!' which means 'a dog's head!'