For thousands of years Mongols have practiced the art of felt making – felt is one of the most important simple and effective insulations for the traditional Ger. Felt is rolled out around and over the wooden frame and is then usually covered with a fitted white cotton cover. These felt pieces are made approximately 2cm thick; while in summer one layer is enough for the tent, it is more common to use 2-3 layers as temperatures drop to minus 40C degrees in winter. Felt production requires skill, hard work and team effort to complete properly. While Mongols prefer to make felt in July, it’s during this time you will participate in their daily routines and experience nomadic culture during this homestay trip.
Day One – Arrive at the nomadic family (homestay) and learn how to prepare the wooden sticks (L, D – Overnight in Ger): From UB to Battogtoh’s family the journey will take 280km – you should be able to reach there around 1400 to which you will be welcomed with a hot lunch. After lunch, you start learning the process of preparing the wooden sticks with nomadic family; in the evening you will have dinner with family.
Day Two to Three – Learn how to beat the wools with the wooden sticks (B, L, D – Overnight in Ger): After breakfast, you will start learning how the wool has been sheared from the animal and how it is laid out on a large sheet to be beaten with sticks until it’s soft and the wool meshes together. The beating is usually done by the women of the community and requires a sunny day to get the work done. It will be beaten for several hours and a small amount of water will be sprinkled over the wool to help keep the binding process. In the afternoon you will be welcomed with a hot lunch – afterwards you will continue beating the fleece with local women; in the evening, you will have dinner with the family.
Day Four to Five – Learn how to make felt (B, L, D – Overnight in Ger): After breakfast, you will start the day with felt making with the family and their neighbors as they will roll out the “mother” felt onto the field. This is an old felt that is used as a base for the new felt – the beaten wool is now placed on the mother-felt in such a way as to have the fibers paralleling one another. The best wool is laid out first and lesser-quality is placed to the right side of the new felt. After the layers are laid out warm water is sprinkled across the wool and a large pole is then placed across one end of the new felt. Both the new wool and the mother felt are then rolled up tightly around the pole to which wet hides are wrapped around the felt with strong ropes that binds the roll together; loops are attached to each end of the pole. The ropes are then attached to these loops and tied to horses or camels to which they pull the roll across the steppe; once the felt is firmly bound together, it will be unrolled and left to dry out. According to customs, a host of family will praise to the new felt – blessing the felt makes it last longer to which he will welcome all people for welcoming dinner.
Day Six – Departure (B, L): After breakfast you can help a hostess embroider a pattern onto dried felt. Once felt is dried, felt holds its shape very well and being a tightly weaved – it’s relatively water resistant. In the afternoon you will welcomed with a farewell lunch to which our car will pick you up and return you to Rashaant village where you will take the afternoon bus to UB city.