‘Yartung Festival’ begins with star shooting game

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By Yadhu Prasad Bhatta,Manang, July 11: The ‘Yartung Festival’ (archery)  a major event in the Mustang region, began in Manang on Tuesday.

The archery, in which seven teams participated, has been named Grand Yartung 2081 this year. 

The fair was inaugurated by Kanchha Ghale, Chairman of Nesyang Rural Municipality of Manang, and Binod Gurung, Chairman of the Conservation Area Management Committee.

A total of seven youth clubs including Janapriya Youth Club, Tilicho Youth Club, Nesyang Youth Club, and others are taking part in the game. 

The Grand Yartung was organised with the joint support of the Conservation Area Management Committee Manang, Tanki Manang and the Tourism Management Sub-Committee Manang, as part of a collaborative project involving Tanki Manang, Manang Society and Nesyang Youth Club.

Yartung, also known as Ghodejatra, is a festival which the people of Manang enjoy with horse racing. 

As a tourist area, Yartung holds special significance and charm in Manang. It is one of the main festivals for Manang people, especially the youth, who gather in traditional costumes and play traditional musical instruments and original songs around the village. 

During this time, greetings are exchanged, and horse races are held.

After the men return with their horses, women welcome them with food and drinks. 

After grooming the horses, it is customary to gather together, eat sagun (a traditional dish), dance and have fun.

Until recently, horses were the main mode of transportation in Manang. Despite the availability of road access now, horses still abound in the region.

The people of Manang hold a profound fondness for horses, honouring their historical significance in transportation and their companionship during both joyous and challenging times. The Yartung festival embodies this cherished bond with horses.

Although the exact origins of Yartung remain uncertain, the people of Manang celebrate it as a longstanding tradition. While some may not know the precise reasons for its celebration, Kanchha Ghale, chairman of Manang Ngisyang Rural Municipality, stresses the importance of continuing the festivities to uphold tradition.

Yartung is a religious, social, and cultural heritage for the people of Manang. Binod Gurung, a tourism businessman and social worker from Manang Nesyang, explains that it is celebrated at the end of the rainy season, symbolising hope for a successful farming season free from diseases. 

Yartung is observed in distinct ways across different parts of Manang.

 While its popularity has waned in Lower Manang, the festival thrives in Upper Manang, where villages like Tanki, Khangsar, Ghyaru, Dawal, Humde, Bhraka, Pisang, and others are alive with joyful celebrations.

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