The locals of the nearby 19 villages in Mustang-Ranipauwa gather to enjoy the YARTUNG festival that takes place in Ranipauwa, near Muktinath temple in Mustang. This festival is celebrated also in different villages in Mustang, but it is special with a big crowd of 19 villages for four days around the Janaipurnima festival. In 2019, this festival was celebrated from 12-15 August.
The excitement of the Yartung festival in Mustang increased after the local people decorated themselves in traditional and typical costumes. They welcome the visitors and tourists with TASHI DHELEK, which means Welcome and Best Wishes. They prepare homemade alcohol in a copper pot, rice mixed with cow ghee, and beat the traditional drums. And they sing various traditional songs.
Ranipauwa, the local market at the entrance of the Muktinath temple often welcomes travelers for pilgrimage purposes. During the Yartung festival, a mass from the 19 villages and their cultural performances have made the locality incredibly exclusive. According to the claim of the local people, the Yartung festival is celebrated to bid farewell to the rainy season.
People living in the core Himalayas of the Mustang region will be busy around the grazing meadows in the alpine region. They do have a nomadic lifestyle, shifting their shelter according to the season. But, in the Yartung festival, they gather in one place, eat delicious food, exchange wishes, dance, and perform various skills like horse riding and arrow throwing.
Horse Riding is the main cultural show in the Yartung festival. The horse riders from different parts of the Mustang region gather at the Ranipauwa village. The skill they perform include catching Khada (a religious piece of cloth) and money from the rapidly running horse has won the hearts of the people. Several tourists come to witness the festival- Yartung.
The throwing of arrows is another attraction in the Yartung festival. People excitingly participate in this competition. The one who wins is named Roshan. The aim of this festival is to maintain the brotherhood within the communities and villages. The antique things make a special presence in the festival.
Yartung festival has been shifting from generation to generation. Somewhere in between, this festival was in silence. Recently, the Waragung Mukti Chhetra Rural Municipality has actively taken the leadership to save the cultural heritages.
In the upcoming period, this type of festival will help to uplift the cultural prosperity of the Mustangi people by promoting it to the outside world. The promise has been done by Chief Minister Prithvi Subba Gurung to promote the culture in Mustang.