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Dariganga National Park was established in 2005, covering 367,222 hectares (or 907,000 acres) of land in southeastern Mongolia, and patrolled by three full-time and ten seasonal rangers. Mrs. Ariuntsetseg, one of the very few women superintendents in Mongolia’s park system, has been managing the park since 2017. The park is known for Ganga Lake, the only open water pond in the heart of the great Gobi Desert. This lake attracts thousands of migratory birds in the Fall and famous for the swan gatherings, with several hundred congregating at a time.

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EXTINCT VOLCANOES

The vast grasslands of Dariganga are speckled with volcanic craters, small lakes, and dunes, the sum of which makes the area one of the most scenic in eastern Mongolia. Before communism, this area was a haven of aristocracy, and its grasslands were the royal grazing grounds of horses belonging to the emperor in Beijing. Silversmiths and blacksmiths made their homes here, providing local women with elaborate fine jewelry.

These days, Dariganga is all about sacred mountains, one in town and the other – Shilin Bogd Uul – a short drive away. Tales of “Sain Er” (good man) still live among nomads, and they resonate with English Robin Hood stories. Sain Er were strong men who rebelled against the traditional rule of the rich, stealing from them to give to the poor. Shilin Bogd Mountain is known to be the historical place for Sain Er from around Mongolia to take an oath of staying loyal to their purpose in life.

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