More about Yartung Festival (Muktinath) 2019

We, Nord Extreme Himalaya Pvt. Ltd has developed this program for those people who look for the chance to observe super Tibetan Buddhism festival in Nepal and magnificent mountain view of Nilgiri and Dhaulagiri. The Yartung Festival (Muktinath) is celebrated all over Mustang. Especially celebrated in Muktinath during August full moon day every year. It is a three day celebration and is celebrated with horse races, drinking and dancing by local Thakali people.

During the three days celebration, we have the King´s (local king) activities taking place on the first, the lamas and monks on the second and the local people´s on the third. The most attractive occasion of this festival is the horse race contest by man and woman. In their language, Yartung means the end of summer; Mela means festival or fair; Yartung Mela means a festival to send off summer.

So, they celebrate this festival with enthusiasm, appreciating the good lives the summer has brought to them. By that time, they have finished harvesting the crops and they have stored the cereal at home. In fact, this festival is for making offerings to Bodhisattvas and to receive the blessings from the village chief as well as from respectable senior citizens for an auspicious journey.

Their senior respectable priest, called Lama, sets the day for celebrating Yartung Mela, finding the most auspicious day in their calendar and keeping in mind the view of completion of harvesting crops. Usually, their priest chooses the full moon day called Janai Purnima for celebrating this festival. We can see the deep combination between Buddhism and Hinduism here. 

The main feature of this trek are; Yartung fair performed by Local People, Lamas, Monks and Horse Race competition by man and woman, Muktinath temple, Jwala Mai monastery, culture dancing, Bonpo Gompa in Lupra, majestic view of Mt. Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri, traditional and old fashioned villages.

August 11 : Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu and meet with Nord Extreme Himalaya Pvt. Ltd staff at the airport and transfer to Hotel. Welcome drink and short briefing about trek, relax.

August 12 :Day 2: Drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara 820m by AC tourist bus (6-7 hours),

Drive from Ktm to Pok at 7 o’clock in the morning by AC tourist bus. Passing the Riverside of Trisuli and takes about 7 hours to reach Pokhara valley. Our guide leads you to the Barahi temple on Phewa lake with a boat. Overnight in Hotel.

August 13 : Day 3: Pokhara to Jomsom 2710m by flight (35min) and trek to Kagbeni 2800m via Lupra 2790m (4/5 hours).

Early in the morning, you will be picked up from your Hotel and picked up then drop you at eh Pokhara airpot for depart to Jomsom and will have breakfast. Then you will continue your trail passing the River bank of Kaligandaki to reach Lupra, where you can visit the interesting Bon-Po monastery. It takes about 3 hours. Bon-Po is a sect which mixes pre-buddhist beliefs with religious practices close to Buddhism. You keep walking to Eklebatti. Eklebhatti is the today’s lunch spot. After lunch, you continue until reaching Kagbeni which takes about 1 hour. You can visit the red-painted Gompa about 1000 years old. Overnight in Lodge.

August 14 : Day 4: Trek from Kagbeni to Muktinath 3800m (5/6 hours).

The trail steeply ascent brings you to Kinghar village about 2 hours. Then you continue until reaching Jharkot which takes about 1 hour and visit the old Sakya Monastery and Traditional Medical centre. You have lunch here. After lunch, you ascend a little more to reach Muktinath about 1 hour. You hike to a secret place for Hindus and Tibetan Buddhist in about 30 minutes in its compound. You can see the 108 water spouts. The Muktinath temple stands enshrining Vishnu, a Hindu god. For Hindus, it’s the next most holy place in Nepal after Pashupatinath. The believe says; when you visit the Muktinath temple, you are free/salvation, you’ll escape from the cycle of birth and rebirth. Below the temple there is another ancient Buddhist monastery, where the combination of earth-water-fire gives Muktinath’s great religious significance. And you also see the magnificent view of Nilgiri Himal and Daulagiri I. Overnight in Lodge.

August 15 ; Day 5: Exploration and Culture experience with Yartung Mela:

On this day you’ll enjoy the festival. In the early morning, they first visit the Goddess of Flame called Jwala Mai and make offerings to her, then Muktinath to offer prayers to Lord Muktinath, and then to the monastery called Nursing monastery, to offer butter lamps to Lord Buddha. Thus, they spend the morning of Yartung Mela performing religious offerings to their deities. As Yartung Mela usually coincides with the Hindu festival called Janai Purnima, Hindus from far away visit Muktinath to change their sacred thread on this day. First, they wash their bodies in the water coming out of 108-water spouts surrounding the Muktinath temple starting at the first spout and ending at the last one. Then, they wear new sacred threads and go to make offerings to Lord Muktinath in the temple. On the festival day, the local chief called Mukhiya previously the king of Jharkot dressed up in the traditional royal attire, riding a horse, leads a royal procession from Jharkot to Muktinath. The royal group performs dances at the stadium. The head of the royal group stays at the center while other members around him rejoice and perform dances. They circle him a number of times while performing various sorts of dances. This enjoyment goes on for several hours. Then he blesses all people one by one. Again you can watch other sports activities. Finally, the main game of the show is the Horse Race by male and female. They are coming to participate from Lamjung, Manang, Upper Mustang and Lower Mustang. After completion of the games, the Mukhiya distributes prizes to the winners of the various games. That’s how Yartung Mela ends. You’ll have a great memorable event to remember with your children. Overnight in Lodge.

August 16 : Day 6: Trek from Muktinath to Jomsom 2710m (5/6 hours).

The trail is descending until reaching Eklabatti which takes about 3 hours. You will have lunch here. Then after, you keep following the level trail passing in the bank of Kali Gandaki river. Finally you arrive in Jomsom about 3 hours walk. Overnight in Lodge.

August 17 : Day 7: Jomsom to Pokhara 820m by flight (35min).

Early in the morning, you fly back to Pokhara. You have full day sightseeing in Pokhara like Devi’s Fall, Gupteswor Cave and World Peace Stupa etc. Overnight in Hotel.

August 18 : Day 8: Pokhara to Kathmandu by AC tourist bus (7/8 hours).

Early in the morning, drive from Pok to Ktm by AC tourist bus passing the Trisuli river. Transfer to Hotel.

August 19 : Day 9: Final Departure to International Airport. Representative from Nord Extreme Himalaya will pick you up from the hotel and transferred to the domestic airport.

Cost included

  • Pick and drop.
  • Twin Sharing accommodation in Kathmandu and Pokhara with breakfast.
  • Kathmandu-Pokhara-Kathmandu by tourist Bus.
  • Pokhara-Jomsom-Pokhara by domestic flight.
  • Annapurna conservation area entrance fees
  • Trekking permit
  • Guide and necessary staffs.
  • Three Meals during your program.
  • Accommodation in Local Lodge during the program.

Cost Excluded

  • Your visa for Nepal.
  • International flight tickets.
  • Food in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
  • Your personal insurance.
  • Any type of donations
  • Tips for your staffs.
  • Any unseen personal expenses other than above mentioned.
  • Medical evacuation such as helicopter, porter or any other means of transportations in case of emergency.