Manang Festival (Yartung) 2o15

The horse racing festival Yartung is one of the well known festival of Nepal, which is celebrated in Manang 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. 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 strength of their horses and their own ability. The winner of the horse 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 horse 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 all villagers will take some part in the feast.

Day 01 : Kathmandu arrival (1300m)
Welcome to Kathmandu, the capital. You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel; here you will be formally introduced to your Guide and the activities to be enjoyed over the next few days. We will also ask for your passport photographs and any other details required for your trek permits, at this stage.

Day 02 : After breakfast, you will start an interesting tour around Kathmandu. We will arrange a guide of your chosen language to give you a tour and introduction to our rich culture amongst our ancient and fascinating history and religion. In our sightseeing tour you go to Monkey temple Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath and Kathmandu Durbar square.
Durbar Square: -This complex of palaces, courtyards and temples, built between the 12th and 18th centuries, used to be the seat of the ancient Malla kings of Kathmandu. There is an intriguing 17th century stone inscription set into the wall of the palace with writings in 15 languages. The Durbar square, protected as an UNESCO world Heritage site, is the social, religious and urban focal point of the city. There are also museums inside the palace building. There is an entrance fee of Rs.250 for foreign visitors. Your ticket to the Square entitles you to visit all the museums.
Swayambhunath, situated on a hillock 6.5 kilometres west of Kathmandu, this 2000 years old Stupa is the world’s most glorious Buddhist shrine and is surrounded by several small pagodas. The main temple is capped by a pinnacle of copper gilt and is painted on the four sides with all seeing eyes of Lord Buddha.
Pashupatinath, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is the holiest and most famous Nepalese temple. Situated 5 kilometres northeast of Kathmandu on the bank of the sacred Bagmati River, it is an impressive pagoda style structure with gilt roof and richly carved silver doors. It has bathing and cremation ghats, which are of absorbing interest to the tourist, particularly in the mornings and on festival days.

Day 03 : An early start gets us on the drive to Syange, the starting point of the trek. On the way we see lush green countryside, rivers, villages, farms and beautiful mountain-scapes. The road to Besishahar is tar, thereafter gravel.

Day 04 : Syange to Dharapani (1,960m)
A leisurely trekking pace takes us into the Manang district with its fields of barley, rice, potato and pine forests. We pass the village of Kodo and will overnight in Dharapani.

Day 05 : Dharapani to Chame (2,710m)
On the way to Chame we climb a few steep, forested ridges and are treated by some of the most sensational mountain views: Lamjung Himal, Annapurna II, and Annapurna IV (7,525m/24,688ft). At our destination a few small hot springs bring relief to our taxed muscles.

Day 06 : Chame to Pisang (3,300m)
Today we trek higher along a steep and narrow, densely forest path that leads to a rock face that soars 1500m/4,920 ft above the river. This is a wow! As we emerge from this steep sided valley we are greeted by amazing views of majestic Himalayan Peaks. We reach Pisang and you ask yourself, “Can the scenery get any better.” Your inner voice answers, “It’s not possible,” and yet, you remember hearing, “This is just the beginning.”

Day 07 : Upper Pisang to Manang (3,500m)
Out of the two routes to choose, we select the upper one (through Upper Pisang and Geru) where the sceneries is unmatched. Majestic peaks tower all around us….Annapurna, Pisang peak, and several others. As we trek higher the landscape and

Day 08 : First Day of Festival
Around noon youngsters from Manang village gather at Teen Dhara. 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 o’clock 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 again and go back.
 

Day 09 :  Second day of festival
Same ritual is followed as of first day excluding morning part.

Day 10 : Third Day of Festival
The day’s program begins at around 4 o’clok 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 they go back either to home or Gompa. At around 8 to 9 o’clok 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.

Day 11 : Forth Day of Festival
Villagers gather at Pocho Gompa in the afternoon as usual and go for a race at Thang. After completing the race, they come back to Manang.
 

Day 12 : Fifth Day of Festival & ending day
Youngsters dance on top of the roof of the Gompa at Manang Village and concludes the festival
 

Day 13 : Manang –Kharka
Trek from Manang to Yak Kharka (4350m.) and it takes about three and half hours. Now the trail ascends gently all the way to Yak Kharka passing through the Gunsang (3960m.) village. En route, you can see panoramic views all the day.
 

Day 14 : Kharka to Thorang Phedi
Trek from Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi (4420m.) which takes about 3 and half hours. Leaving Yak Kharka, you climb gradually to a ridge before descending to the headwaters of the Marsyangdi and crossing via a covered wooden bridge. After a short ascent up the mountain path on the right bank, you follow a narrow trail across an unstable spree slope and then descend to Thorung Phedi.
 

Day 15 : Thorang Phedi –Muktinath
Trek from Thorong Phedi to Muktinath (3850m.) via Thorong La (5416m.) Pass and it takes about seven hours. It demands an early start today for your crossing of Thorung La [5416m]. The trail becomes steep immediately on leaving camp but as this trail has been used by local people for hundreds of years, the path is well defined. The gradient then eases and after around 4 hours of steady climbing, you reach the Chorten and prayer flags of the pass. The views are dramatic to say the least, from the snow-covered mountains above, to the head of the Kali Gandaki valley below and the brown and purple hills of Mustang which are spread out before you. The descent to Muktinath is a knee pounding 1600m but it is compensated for with excellent views of Dhaulagiri. Eventually the moraines give way to grassy slopes before a pleasant walk along the Jhong Khola Valley to Muktinath and its shrines and temple.

Day 16 : Muktinath –Jomsom
Trek from Muktinath to Jomsom (2713m.) and it takes about three and half hours. You now begin the trek descent down the dramatic Kali Gandaki Gorge, initially through arid country in the same geographical and climatic zone as Tibet. After passing through Jharkot and Khingar villages with typical Tibetan architecture, you follow path steeply down to Eklebhatti. The trail is windy after late morning. The river flows through broader course. Jomsom is the headquarter of Mustang and it is split into two towns and between these two towns passes through Kali Gandaki river. There is access of internet and banking facilities. From Jomsom, you can enjoy the magnificent views of Nilgiri and Tilicho peak. Here you stay overnight at hotel.

Day 17 : Fly from Jomsom –Pokhara
Fly from Jomsom to Pokhara which takes about 35 minutes. The flights are available during the morning time. The strong breeze blows during the after and frequent change of the weather prevent the flight being landed and taken off in the afternoon. During the flights in morning, the sky looks very clear which makes you able to enjoy the splendid views of different mountain peaks
Day 18:    Pokhara – Kathmandu drive or fly. (1300m / 6 hrs or ½ hr)
After breakfast in the morning you say goodbye to Pokhara and head back to bustling Kathmandu by car or private bus (There is an option to fly). In the afternoon free day of your own. In the evening you will drive you for farewell dinner with cultural dance.

Day 19 : Sightseeing and fair trade project
Bhaktapur Bhadgaon, also known as Bhaktapur, stood the capital of Nepal Valley once during the olden days. And today it is a treasure home of medieval arts and architectures. According to a legend this city was founded in 889 A.D. by late King Anand Deb who belonged to the famous Lichhabi dynasty. The whole city takes the relevant shape of a 'Khat-Kon' or David's Star. Bhaktapur signifies the "City of Devotees", with the sole majority of Hindus. The urban sector covers an area of 4 square miles. Pottery plus weaving form its traditional industries. They make the best yogurt of the kingdom; so it is known as 'juju dhou' or 'king curd.' Nowadays numerous cottage factories produce masks and wooden handicrafts as well. Bhaktapur is 13 kilometers direct east of Kathmandu it is an hgalf day tour and we drive back to kathamndu to see our fair trade,women empermnet project.rest of the dat free and easy.

Day 20 : Final Departure.
All too soon it's time to bid Nepal farewell and one realizes that we can never be intimate, only acquainted with this amazing country.

Cost Includes

1.    Airport picks up & Drop.
2.    All food (Break fast, Lunch, Dinner & Two times tea biscuit)
3.    Accommodation.
4.    Hot drinks. (Tea, coffee, hot milk, hot chocolate).
5.    All transportation.
6.    Trekking permit.
7.    Four nights Hotel with break fast in Kathmandu.
8.    Sight seeing in Kathmandu valley.
9.    All temples Entry Permit in kathamndu.
10.  All food, drinks, accommodation, salary, Insurance, Medical, Equipments, all camping gear,
       transport etc for Nepalese staff.
11.  All taxes.

Cost Excludes

1.    Bar bills (alcoholic drinks, mineral water,), cigarettes, client's personal insurance, and any kind
       of unforeseen & personal expenses
2.    Lunch and Dinner in Kathmandu.

General

1.    4 seasons Sleeping bag (Optional/we can provide one if you need it but is to be
       returned after the trek)
2.    Duffel or Rucksack bag  & suitcase (Optional/we can provide one if you need it
       but is to be returned after the trek)
3.    Daypack
4.    Down Jacket (Optional/we can provide if you need one but is to be returned after the trek)

Upper Body - Head / Ears / Eyes

1.    Shade hat or baseball cap - some people drape a bandana down the back of their head and
       then put a baseball cap on to hold it is place. This can be a flexible alternative while keeping
       the sun off your ears and neck.
2.    Warm wool or synthetic hat that cover your ears.
3.    Balaclava - lightweight, thinner variety.
4.    Glacier glasses-
5.    Headlamp
6.    Some people like ear-muffs; These are optional; a good hat, balaclava, and hooded jacket
       should really be sufficient, but this is a personal choice for some people (optional).
7.    A neck warmer is another piece of gear for extra warmth if you feel you will need it (optional).

Hand

1.    1 pair liner gloves, thin wool or synthetic, useful alone on mild days or as a layer inside
       other gloves / mitts for additional warmth.
2.    1 pair warm gloves
3.    Instant hand warmers are always nice in a pinch, but really shouldn't be necessary on the trek.
       Bringing appropriate hand protection as recommended above, should be sufficient (optional).

Core Body

1.    T-shirts (2).
2.    Light and expedition weight thermal tops.
3.    Fleece jacket or pullover.
4.    Fleece Wind-Stopper jacket (optional).
5.    Waterproof (preferably breathable fabric) shell jacket.
6.    2 women sports bras, Synthetic, no cotton!
7.    Long shirts(2)

Lower Body – Legs

1.    2 pairs nylon hiking shorts - Quick drying type, not cotton!
2.    Underwear, stay away from cotton (4).
3.    2 pairs lightweight long underwear - capilene or other synthetic.
4.    1 pair soft shell pants - synthetic, full zip from top and bottom preferable.
5.    2 pairs trekking pants, preferably that zip on/off at the knees so they double as shorts.
6.    1 pair hard shell pants. Waterproof / breathable, Gore-Tex or equivalent is best.
       Should zip from the top and bottom - this makes it easier to put on over boots
       without getting undressed should the weather change once you are underway for the day.
7.    1 pair cotton pants (loose jeans/khakis).
8.    All clothing should be kept dry using waterproof stuff sacks or large puncture
       resistant plastic bags.

Feet

1.    2-4 pairs of liner socks, synthetic or capilene.
2.    2-3 pairs heavy weight socks to be worn over liner socks.
3.    1 pair light weight socks, a good option for the lower / warmer parts of the trail.
4.    1 pair light to medium weight water proof hiking/trekking boots. Ensure a good fit with
       layered socks and you have worn then before to get used to it
       (otherwise you will get lots of blister).
5.    1 pair light trekking shoes or sneakers. Good for around the camp/lodges and in Kathmandu.
6.    1 pair sandals (Optional).

Medicines and First Aid Kits

(Please note our guide will also carry the first aid kit bag during the trek. However we still recommend you to bring your personal first aid kit as well)

1.    Extra Strength Excedrin for altitude related headaches.
2.    Ibuprofen for general aches and pains.
3.    Immodium or Pepto bismol capsules for upset stomach or diarrhea.
4.    Diamox (commonly prescribed as Acetazolamide) 125 or 250mg tablets for altitude sickness.
       Please discuss with us before starting to take this medicine.
5.    1 small personal sized first-aid kit with blister treatments such as mole skin, band-aids,
       some waterproof tape, anti-infection ointments, etc. Your guides will have more extensive
       medical gear, but you should have the basics for general use.

Miscellaneous

1.    Passport and extra passport photos (4 copies).
2.    Airline ticket (Please make a copy and leave on at our office in KTM
       just in case if you need to change the date of your).
3.    Durable wallet / pouch for travel documents, money & passport.
4.    Lip balm. At least SPF 20, 2 sticks. A string taped to the stick is helpful, to hang around your
       neck and some are now being sold with a cord already attached. Handy as it avoids you
       from having to stop and look for it.
5.    Sunscreen. SPF 40 is recommended and should be relatively new since it loses
       its' effectiveness over time.
6.    Pocket knife or small Swiss Army type.
7.    Water purification Iodine tablets or Polar-pure crystals.
8.    Toiletry kit. Be sure to include toilet paper stored in a plastic bag, hand wipes,
       and liquid hand sanitizer, towel, soap, etc.
9.    2 bandanas.

Optional

1.    1 pair adjustable trekking poles. Although these are listed as optional, these can be of great
       assistance to people who may think of themselves and generally clumsy or with bad knees,
       ankles, etc, especially when going downhill
2.    Favorite snack foods
3.    Paperback books, cards, mp3 player (there are a couple of stops where you could recharge.
       Avoid players with moving hardware as it may not function.
       Remember, keep these items light weight
4.    Binoculars
5.    1 light weight point & shoot camera or 1 large SLR. Digital cameras are ok, but you must keep
       the batteries warm when not in use
6.    Hydration bladder with drinking tube and tube insulator
7.    A pee bottle for men and pee funnel for woman, some swear by them to avoid
       that chilly late night trip
8.    1 small stainless steel thermos

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