From ancient times sounds of tambourine and mysterious kamlanije of shaman can be heard in the middle of the night at the bank of Yenisei. He addresses the spirits-hosts of the area, asks for their help to carry him to different worlds to bring back a lost soul, call a rain, heal the diseased or give a life. He sings, dances staggering like a heavy bear or moves light and fast like a bird flies up. His eyes are closed but he seems to see everything, now he smiles and thanks his helpers…
In the silence of Buddhist monasteries older monks, lamas, and novices, huuraki, read holy mantras, pray for the good and happiness of all living creatures, meditate and make gifts to divinities. At this time the preservers of old faith – Old Believers – live their slow lives.
Tuva attracts tourists and travelers from all over the world because it allows ancient traditional Tuvinian beliefs, Shamanism and Buddhism, to enigmatically coexist and peacefully live together amplifying each other. There are also representatives of the other phenomena – Old Believers – in the republic: they are inhabitants and children of Taiga, their long songs are heard at the bank of Yenisei since XVII century. There are conditions for development of Orthodox beliefs of Russian citizens of the region as well.
Shamanism is considered ancient traditional belief of Tuvinians which is tightly connected to the way of life, world view and ideology based on respect to the surrounding world, nature and its elements which can be either well-disposed or not. Even today you can meet real shamans in Tuva, who perform their magic kamlanije and mysterious rituals, read past and tell future. They are easy to find in shaman communities of Kyzyl, enigmatic and carrying a special energy. Tuvinians still are respectful to shamans, invite them to the rites of natural objects consecration and other events connected to the life circle.
Buddhism which reached the region in the XVIII century undoubtedly had a great impact both on the early beliefs and Shamanism, significantly supplemented and enriched them. Buddhism also absorbed many of Shamanism elements: there happened a wonderful confluence of two different world-views.
Today Tuvinians often approach Buddhist monks as well as shamans. There are both shaman communities and Buddhist monasteries – huree – which appeared in the XVIII century. Many of them were destroyed in the Soviet period, but today they are actively rebuilt in the different districts of the republic: for example, Ustuu-Huree monastery recovery in the Western part of Tuva. This is a mass process, it goes over republic and federal level and becomes international. Every summer there is a live music and live faith festival “Ustuu-Huree” which attracts representatives of different nationalities from all over the world, musicians and pilgrims, tourists and travelers from different religious confessions. The festival is a proof of tolerance and humanism in Tuva.
It is known that Tuvinians are the only Turkic language Buddhists in contemporary world, and Shamanism is also considered their traditional religion.