The essence of travel is to see how other people live around the world; to gain understanding and dispel the fear of otherness.
While visiting Namaste NA Yurt isn’t quite like going to visit the nomadic people on the Mongolian steppes, it’s a start!
Namaste NA Yurt is an authentic Mongolian Yurt and we tried to honor as many traditions of the yurt, or ger, as possible. Groovy Yurts worked with a family in Mongolia to create Namaste NA Yurt, which originally lived in Canada before its owners moved to Southeastern Arkansas. It lived in a barn for a bit, until it moved to it’s current spot in Newton County, Arkansas!
So let’s start with the forest; the Mongolian people have a deep respect for the Earth. So we built a spiderweb-like platform using recycled lumber. It is not ‘attached’ to the ground; the weight of the platform and the yurt hold it in place. The same with the living room deck. The complex was positioned so that only one tree had to be removed. This was a natural clearing, begging for a yurt!
In Mongolia, the yurt is always positioned with the door facing South, as North is the most sacred direction. Unless you are near a holy place, then the door faces the holy place. Our yurt door faces South!
The Mongolians believe that the yurt has a Spirit that protects the yurt. The door frame is a critical part of the yurt’s structure, so it makes sense that the yurt’s Spirit lives in the door frame. Because of this, you do not step on the yurt threshold, you step over it, always with your right foot first.
A yurt is, at its essence, a combination of structural function and form as well as symbolic and cultural meaning.Groovy Yurts
You never knock on a yurt as you are always welcome in a yurt! You do call out your presence to the occupants! Yurts are never locked either!
So you’ve called out and entered the yurt with your right foot without touching the threshold.
Inside, your eye naturally goes to the wooden circle at the center of the ‘roof,’ the tonno. The tonno represents the connection between the Earth and the sky and is a very holy space. The tonno is held up by two central poles, the bagaan, that represent Man and Woman. The two poles and the tonno, represent the unity of the family; that both are equally important in life.
Try not to walk in the space under the tonno and between the bagaan.
You may begin to see that the yurt represents the inter-connectedness of all life; the Earth, the family, the yurt spirit. The blue knot on the cover, the Infinity Knot, or the ulzii knot, represents this interdependence. And infinite love. What a cool knot, and how honored we are to proudly display this front and center on the yurt.
The roof is made up of 81 hun, the painted poles that attach to the lattice, khaanas. Nine is a holy number for Mongolians, so 9×9 hun is 81! All of these parts are made from hand-hewn Tamarack or Siberian pine wood.
The bed is placed to the North, the most Holy direction. You will notice a central rope that is laced through the hun over the bed. This rope is held during times of high winds, to help give the yurt more stability. It is also called the fertility rope! It is usually twined over the woman’s bed, but since we only have the one bed, you will see it above the bed. If you happen to get pregnant in Namaste NA Yurt, well….
You will notice a blue scarf looped through the bagaan. This is called the Hatag and represents the Yurt Spirit. The scarf is honored; when the yurt is being moved, the scarf is carried safely with the owners.
Colors and symbols through the yurt are symbolic to Mongolian Bhuddists. Red represents fire, blue represents the sky, white represents water. Many symbols are included in the hand-painted wooden pieces. You will find conch shells, ulzii knots, dharma wheels, and the earrings of the Queen.
As you enjoy your time in Namaste NA Yurt, notice the tradition and symbolism that is integral to this 3,000 year old structure.
Namaste NA Yurt might just help you feel your connection to the Mongolian people, the Earth, the Sky; the Universe.
Here is a video walk of the yurt; Enjoy!