“Is there a toilet inside?” My mother suspiciously eyed the tents.
She was assured sometime later after discovering the fact that, the Ger, even though traditionally built had a modern bathroom attached to it.
We made our way towards the Ger camp, amidst wild horses which seemed to have taken over the surrounding grass area for mealtime, their shiny coats glistening in the sun. How can a view ever be more beautiful than this?
After having spent a beautiful day exploring 'Gorkhi Terelj National Park', we saw women riding on horseback to drive home sheep and yaks. On our way back, we witnessed few beautiful temples and crystal-clear water of a river, nearby. Subsequent to the unforgettable escapade, it was almost nightfall and the time to indulge in the ultimate Mongolian experience- sleeping inside a Ger.
A Ger is a Mongolian tent. It gets its structure from a wooden frame covered in thick insulation material to be protected from the cold. There is a small ornate skylight in the centre which brings in sunlight during the day and also works as a sundial. Our Ger was specifically made for travellers and came equipped with some non-traditional additions such as hotel beds.
Nightfall came and with it, the drizzling rain. I was settled under the blanket, listening to the rain falling gently on our tent, with my favourite detective novel in hand. The situation, I must say, was exceedingly comfortable, and I soon drifted off to sleep.
In the morning, I woke up to the sound of a stone fire being built near our Ger. Yaks had replaced the wild horses which had camped with us the night before and I wandered off to try my luck photographing them.
When I came back, a plate full of roasted lamb was waiting for me. 'Khorkhog' is a local dish which is made by cooking lamb with potatoes, carrots and spices in a giant pot over stone-fire. Halfway through the cooking process, some of the hot stones are taken out of the fire and put inside the pot to roast the meat, and then removed once the lamb is cooked.
Our camping trip ended with a delicious feast which, of course, is the best way to end anything.
Photo courtesy: Sheema Hossain