Yartung festival 2013 Apr 14, 2013

Grand Yartung Festival – Manang

 The horse racing festival Yartung is celebrated in Manang village for centuries. The custom of Tibetan origin is the exciting exhibition of the horses‘ strength and riders‘ abilities and also authentic expression of the ancient culture of High Himalayas.

Yartung 2013 program

Traditionally Yartung festival is celebrating a return of horses and other livestock form the high mountain pastures. It’s also opportunity for the men to demonstrate the quality of their horses and their own ability. The winner of the races has to be both fast and skillful as the rider is requested to pick up the khata (silk ritual scarf) from the ground in full gallop. The races, which are held in between Manang and Braga villages, are followed with the interesting and colorful rituals in the local temples. Most people in Manang, both men and women, would wear their traditional dress and nearly every villages will take some part in the feast.

Yartung 2013 will be held from 12th to 16th July. The detailed festival program is as follows:
12th July: Around noon youngsters from Manang village gather at Teen Dhara (between Manang and Braga). They sing a song while riding over their horses. Then from there, they move to the Thang where the race is held. They hold some races and come back to Manang. At around 4 in the afternoon, both the youngsters and adult gather again at the Teen Dhara, sing a song and head down to the Thang and hold race and go back.

13th July: Same ritual is followed as of first day excluding morning part.

14th July The day’s program begins at around 4 in the afternoon. The villagers go to the Pocho Gompa and light the Butter Lamps. After lighting the lamps, they head to the Thang and race. Then after, they go back either to home or gompa. At around 8 to 9 in the evening, the villagers are divided into two groups and one group is led to Pocho gompa and the other to Karki gompa. Then OLEY dance is performed at both the gompas i.e. Pocho Gompa and Karki Gompa.

15th July: Villagers gather at Pocho Gompa in the afternoon as usual and go for a race at Thang. After complting the race, they come back to Manang.

16th July: Youngsters dance on top of the roof of the Gompa at Manang Village and concludes the festival.

July is actually very good time to visit Manang. The landscape is lush green and flowers are in blossom. The valley is in the rain shadow of Annapurna so the raining is quite rare and when it happen, it’s quite mild and short. While the views of the mountains are not as clear as in autumn, there is good chance to see majestic peaks of Annapurna massif at the morning and during the clear days. The temperatures in Manang are quite comfortable even in the night time.

Possible itineraries and access
Trekking to Manang for Yartung festival can be combined with great variety of itineraries with different length and grade. The traditional trekking start is Besisahar, but due to the recent road extension, it’s better to take jeep till Dharapani, reducing the walk to Manang to 3 days and avoiding monsoon affected parts.

The trekking itineraries which covers Manang village includes:
• Naar-Phu trek
• Thorung-la pass to Muktinath and Jomsom
• Tilicho lake trek

All of these treks are viable in the summer season. For Tilicho lake, the July is actually considered as the best time.
Also Manang village can be the goal of the trek itself. Just 3 days walk from Dharapani, trekker can reach this beautiful village surrounded by high peaks and stay several days, attending festival and making day hikes around the village. There are several options of hikes:
• Milarepa cave hike via Braga village to Milarepa gompa and holy cave approximately
4500 meters high.
• Ice Lakes trip with wonderful views of the Manang village and Annapurna massif reaching
the beautiful mountain lakes in the elevation of about 4700 meters.
• Manang vicinity round covering Karki gomba, Pocho gompa, Gangapurna lake and Tenki

-Manang Youth Society


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