Archery and Horseracing: Unforgettable Festivals in Manang

Manang is a naturally and culturally enriched district in the Himalayan region that can be reached within one day from Kathmandu. Manang has its own original culture, tradition, and customs. Currently, archery is being observed in grand style throughout the district. 

Nowadays, archery is being observed in different village executives such as upper Pisang, Manang, Khangsar in Nisyang Village executive and Chame in Chame Village Executive. The locals in the district celebrate the festival every year with the advent of New Year.  

The festival is being celebrated from the immemorial time and the locals of the places celebrate it with new style. The festival is called ‘Metha Parva’ in the local language. All people including young and old celebrate this festival by gathering in one place and observing it for a week. 

The people observe the festival for supporting agricultural products, preventing demons from entering the villages, spreading peace and happiness avoiding quarrels and fights, wishing for love and good relations and promoting unity among people. In ‘Metha Parva’, competition takes place between two groups. 

The residents of the places enjoy the festivals by eating delicious food, funding for prizes to the winners and dancing together. They participate in the festival in their traditional attire to add excitement. Now the locals are giving priority to the festival in order to promote tourism.  

Domestic and external tourists coming to Annapurna trekking route also participate in the festival and enjoy it to the fullest. The festival is celebrated in different styles in four different places Nisyan, Chame, Naar, Phu and Nasong. 

Similarly, Grand Yartung (horseracing) is among many festivals observed in Manang district. Grant Yartung is interesting and the chief festival in the rain shadow area. This festival is celebrated to mark the return of the horses and the livestock’s from the Leks (High pastures in the mountains). 

The Males in the area take it as an opportunity to show the strength of their horses and their ability of horse riding.  One of the challenging things they have to do and it requires good skills in horse riding is to Pick up the khata (silk ritual scarf) from the ground in full gallop. The races are followed with interesting and colorful rituals in the local temples. Most people in Manang, both men and women, wear their traditional attire and nearly all villagers take some part in the feast.

This festival demonstrates the strength of the horses and the rider’s skills in horse riding and it is an ancient festival of the Manang area and is believed to be one of the oldest festivals in the Himalayas.

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