The faint-hearted man dies ten times, the fearless man dies once - Mongolian proverb
In this true story of adventure, Robin Ackroyd tells how he travelled to Mongolia determined to ride horses in the homeland of Genghis Khan, or Chinggis Khan.
His mission: to reach remote locations that may harbour one of the greatest archaeological mysteries of all time - the secret tomb of Genghis Khan.
Robin trekked, with his five horses, into wilderness once frequented by a young Mongolian called Temüjin – the future world conqueror - and to where, ultimately, his secret tomb may be located. He was accompanied for several hundred kilometres of his arduous journey by a loyal dog who he named Spirit.
Finding the purported grave site in this vast country was one thing – unravelling the truth by examining ancient historical texts was another. It was a quest that would see the author immersed in the country’s language and culture, and in the captivating history of its ‘Golden Age’.

In Genghis: Sacred Tomb, Secret Treasure, the first comprehensive modern analysis of the whereabouts of Genghis Khan’s tomb, Robin Ackroyd explores how and where Genghis died, where his body was transported, and where he was buried. It is a mystery that has lasted almost 800 years, since Genghis Khan’s death in August 1227.

The author explains how taboos surrounding death, and ancestor worship, have contributed to the enduring secrecy of what is not just one grave – but an imperial necropolis, with Genghis Khan’s grandson, Khubilai Khan, the founder of the Yüan dynasty in China, among those buried with him.
Robin records details of a beautiful, fragile, environment – and a remarkable way of life that has changed little since those ancient times. He lived, ate, drank, and sometimes wrestled, with Mongolians during his journey. He saw the country as those in Genghis Khan’s time would have seen it – bar the odd dollar bill, mobile phone and diesel-powered disco.
The Mongolian ger, the round felt tent of nomads.
Author Robin Ackroyd at the sacred mountain, Burkhan Khaldun (Бурхан Халдун), in Khentii province. Burkhan Khaldun is the sacred mountain where the ancestors of the Mongols first settled, according to the Secret History of the Mongols. Temüjin – the future Chinggis Khan - hid from the Merkid tribe on Burkhan Khaldun and credited the mountain with saving his life. He prayed to it in gratitude, and later when he needed guidance, and decreed that his descendents should do likewise. Its location at the source of three great rivers - the Kherlen (Хэрлэн), the Onon (Онон), and the Tuul (Туул) – is auspicious. It is the most revered mountain in Mongolia.
Mongolian herders at a homestead near Möngönmorit (Мөнгөнморит), Khentii. This is one of the last stops before the forested wilderness, and the sacred mountain Burkhan Khaldun, to the north.
A small Naadam horse race, near Kherlen river (Хэрлэн гол), Mongolia.
A Bactrian camel and cart outside a ger at Avarga, named after a small river, the Avargyn gol (Аваргын гол). The archaeological site, near an ancient mineral spring, is south of Delgerkhaan (Дэлгэрхаан). In the distance you can see the monument dedicated to the Secret History of the Mongols, which was written nearby.
With a little help … a Russian car, a Moskvich 412, needs a bump start near Möngönmorit.
Spirit the loyal dog, Khentii province.
The author on horseback in the hills en route to Dadal (Дадал), the birthplace Temüjin, the future world conqueror Genghis Khan.
Monument to Chinggis Khan, Dadal. The Gerelt Khöshöö (Гэрэлт хөшөө), or Shining monument, was established in 1962 to mark the 800th anniversary of Temüjin’s birth – but the celebration was deemed too nationalistic in Communist times.
David Landers