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Shamanka Rock

Shamanka Rock is a must-see and the most recognizable landscape of Lake Baikal, one of the nine shrines Of Asia. Located on Olkhon Island, Cape Burhan. The rock consists of marble, which is covered with red lichen, and it has two peaks – 30 and 42 m. 

There are many legends connected with this place, but all of them are united by one thing: Shamanka is a very important and sacred place with powerful energy and incomprehensible power. 

The most widely spread legend tells about terrible and mighty spirit of the Baikal – Khan Khute-Baabai. According to it, he was the most powerful of Heavenly God Tengri’s sons, and greatly respected by the Chinese and Turkic-Mongolian peoples. Descending from heaven to judge human beings, Khan Khute-Baabai chose Cape Burkhan as his earth dwelling on a par with heaven and underground castles.

According to another legend, written by V. P., Starodumov, Khan Khute-Baabai was free and lived as a hermit on Zhima Mount. He came down from there at the request of a brave widow who begged him to protect Olkhon inhabitants from the cruelty of Lord of the Mongols – Gegen-Burhan. Khan Khute-Baabai won Gegen-Burkhan and drove the Mongols from the island. He chose in the cave on the cape to live and became king and patron of all shamans of the Northern lands.

The third legend tells the people who lived in ancient times believed that the rock is entirely consisted of silver and gold. An evil witch, who sent a lot of trouble to the locals and destroyed lives of hundreds of the innocents, guarded it. Many tried to kill the witch with selfish intent – who for fame, who for the sake of money, but the witch overcame them. Once an unknown hunter managed to cope with the villain: he let an arrow into her heart with good intention to save people from grief and suffering. The image of the witch later was found in the cave on Cape Burhan.

Shamanka Rock was previously called "a stone temple". The first researchers of Lake Baikal — in particular, the famous Russian researcher Vladimir Obruchev — noted that this place causes superstitious horror of the Baikal Buryats. No one but the shamans had the right to approach the protected location. In need, the Buryats wrapped hooves of their horses with felt and leather so as not to disturb the Master of Lake Baikal. Women were supposed to walk a mile off the rock.

The cave passes through the rock. This cave became the center of worship, the place for carrying out ritual ceremonies and sacrifices. 

The name of Shamanka changed when Buddhism began to spread among the Buryats. The rock became known as Cape Burkhan that means "God", "Buddha". In the first decade of the twentieth century, hundreds of lamas from Buddhist datsans of Transbaikalia used to come here just to pray near the rock. Lamas placed the main Buddhists attributes in the cave— linen icons, copper cups and smoking candles. At the entrance to the cave were white images of Buddhist deities were painted.

How to get

You need to come to Olkhon Island, then to Khuzhir (330 km from Irkutsk). Cape Burkhan and Shamanka Rock is located 600 meters from the village on the western shore of the island.

Cape Burhan can be visited as part of the tour "Olkhon for one day" by «Cometa" hydrofoil.

Possible activities:

-          Take a photo in the most recognizable place of Lake Baikal.

-          Learn a lot of interesting information about this sacred place from a guide.

-          Tie a ribbon (“khadak”) on a pole (“serge”) and make a wish. Do not forget that each color has its own meaning.

-          Participate in the project "Give life to the planet" and plant a tree on Cape Burhan. Olkhon, especially Cape Burkhan, is subject to a serious anthropogenic pressure. To preserve this unique place, the "Project Burkhan" has been into operation since 2017.

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