Nagqu Horse Racing Festival ནག་ཆུའི་རྟ་རྒྱུགས་
Nagqu horse racing festival is the most magnificent annual festival in Nagqu, the Largest prefecture in Tibet. This is the grandest yearly celebration in northern Tibet. It is celebrated when the grasses are tallest, and the weather is most accommodating in the Northern grassland of Nagqu in August.
Herdsman and their families go to the Nagqu well in advance from all over Tibetan plateau. They arrive with their herds, horse and their tents, bring all the things required for their daily life. Life becomes normal after the installment of the nomad tent with the excitement of upcoming competitions.
In the evening the scene of the campsite become very picturesque with the rays of the horizontal setting sun lighting the surging waves on vast grassland and casting a shadow of tents. Smokes from the shelter as the food are being prepared. Flocks of sheep gathered together, and children were playing beside it. Horse drinking water at the distance lake. And elders dancing in the circle around the fire.
Tibetan group dance or Gorshe is the most common dance, people would gather around in the fireplace and dance around it. Different region has a different style in dance. During the Nagqu House racing festival people would dance around in the Nagqu or nomad style. You will also hear Nomads singing their songs in very high pitch in distance.
The people from Nagqu town and nearby villages would come to the ground on the opening ceremony of the horse racing festival. Everyone will wear their own local Tibetan traditional dress. The boundaries of the race ground would be marked with the colorful flags. The horse rider would wear a very colorful dress and people would cheer for their team.
For the first day, the horsemen will show their horse riding skills like riding a horse on only one side of the horse, leaning toward the ground to pick the Khata from the ground and hitting on the bullseye with the arrows. There would be wrestling matches and lots of dancing.
Following the first day of the opening ceremony, on the second day onwards there will be more events like tug of wars, weightlifting, horse race, and yak races. Some time Tibetan opera troupe from Lhasa would come to perform during the festivals.
Tibetan Horse culture
Since we Tibetan lives in the vast highland. The horse is a most priced animal in our daily life. Each family has a priced horse in their house which they will raise with great care and training. The Horseracing festival such as in the Nagqu Horse racing is a great opportunity for each family to showcase their priced horse. More privilege will be when the horse of a particular family would represent their county in the race and winning the title.
In the old days we keep a horse for daily use for transportation and logistic, But now due to the increase in road connectivities and availabilities of vehicles. the horse in the family is raising only for the hobby of the father of the family and for the horse racing. It takes a lifelong preparation and training for the horse racing in Tibet.
I-Tibet travel and Tours is fully committed to responsible and Sustainable tourism practice in Tibet. Our privilege to be able to host you in Tibet also makes our responsibility in protecting nature and contributing back communities.
As a Local Tibetan travel agency in Lhasa. Our staffs are 100% local Tibetan tourism professionals. Additionally, We only use local Tibetan guides, other tours crews, and local business. 100% of the travel money goes to locals. Besides, We use 3% of the net profit into Environmental and social initiatives.
Being Tibetan, We know how vital the Tibetan environment is for the entire world. Mountains, glacier, and rivers are all cherished in our culture. We do our best to reduce the environmental impact of your tours in Tibet.
Following are Our ways:
a) No Small plastic bottles in the tour
All the drinking water are provided in the bigger container. So all visitors are asked to bring his/her own water bottle. In this way, we reduce hundreds and thousands of small plastic bottles. All the bigger containers are provided back to the manufacturer for reuse.
b) Incentives for practice
Incentives are given to guide and drivers. Who follow our strict directories on ethical practice towards sustainable and responsible tourism practice.
c) Staff Training every winter
Winter is a low season in Tibet tourism. We provide skill training required for the practice of Responsible and Sustainable tourism practice, first Aids and emergency first responder training. One of our managers is certified Humanity Supply Chain management by fritz institute. We work closely with individuals from institute like Tibet Eco Travel initiatives and Local Tibet Red Cross society and other NGOs.
d) Tree Plantation
Some portion of the tour money are save for our 1000 Tree plantation project. We will plant trees when we will have enough funds.
e) Smaller group size
All our tours are a small group to reduce environmental Impact. Since traveling in a smaller group has less impact on committed in an area than a big group. Therefore all our tour groups are small.
f) Trekking tours and environmental care in the wilderness of Tibet
During your trekking Tours, you will be walking across a very fragile ecosystem. We do take extra care in our trekking tours preventing environmental effects. Following are how are take care of our environment our trekking tours.
1: We nothing leave mother behind.
We make sure we take all our rubbish and leave nothing behind.
2: We protect the grassland
A little destruction of Tibet’s fragile environment is irreversible. So, in the trekking tours, we will not make drainage surrounding your tent. Instead, we will provide trekkers with a better tent with bathtub style floors which prevent water from getting into the tent. We don’t put a small tent toilet. Even if we try to put the grass back, it is not the same. So when you are answering your nature called please enjoy the view.
3: Collecting the garbage along the way.
We have a saying in Tibet, “if you can’t help, don’t harm.” Here is our helping part. We always have extra yaks carrying the Garbages, our yak men will be collecting while waiting for the clients at the campsite. Yak man walks faster than all, and they have free time at the camp. While cook prepares for meals and drinks, We pay yaks men’s incentives in collecting the rubbish around the camp.
I-Tibet travel and tours, identify its self as a social enterprise. For this, we dedicate 3% of our annual net profit to Social and environmental projects. Every winter we buy winter clothes for small children and donate to schools. In this way, besides donating winter cloth, we are also encouraging them to go to school.
It is important to make our guest understand Local Culture, Beliefs, and Ethics. Hence it will make it more comfortable during Our special tour arrangements. Like, your home visit, culture programs, and our others.