1 June, Saturday

RUSSIA, Lake Baikal – The largest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Baikal contains roughly 20% of the world’s unfrozen surface fresh water. It is also home to Olkhon Island, where can be found one of Asia’s nine ancient holy sites.

Shamanka (or Shaman’s Rock) has been a focal point of prayer and spirituality for the Buryats, a Northern Mongolian race of people who still practice the ancient ways of shamanism, along with Buddhism. The natural landmark is an important pilgrimage site, and it is common to see gaily decorated prayer poles guarding the entrance to the holy site.

Here, 13 poles – one for each Lord of Baikal – are adorned by devotees in colourful ribbons infused with prayers for peace, compassion and wisdom. It is believed the wind will blow and spread the goodwill to all.

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