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Nakchu Horse Race Festival

Nakchu Horse Race Festival

As August is the most important festival in North Tibet during the golden season on the grassland, thousands of herdsmen rush to Nakch to ride fine horses, forming a city of tents on the south of Nakchu town. There are thrilling horse races, archery and horsemanship demonstrations with singing and dancing troupes from all over Tibet adding to the fun atmosphere.

During August, over 10,000 people cross high passes of more than 4000 meters by foot, horse or by jeep to make their way to Nakchu Racecourse. They are eager to race their horses, eat, drink and enjoy themselves during the annual horse festival. This race course, at 4500 meters, is undoubtedly the highest race course in the world. The hillsides are filled with white tents, which house monks, pilgrims, nomads, and city dwellers from Lhasa and other cities. During this festival, everyone is dressed in their finest and most colorful clothes and they adorn themselves with lots of gold and turquoise jewelry. After the races, people will camp by Lake Namtso-Chukmo- Tibet's largest saltwater lake, which is also considered a sacred place. The lake is 70 kilometers long and 30 kilometers wide and it takes the pilgrims 18 days to complete a “circumnavigation” around the lake. Lake Namtso-Chukmo is also home to migratory birds between April and November. If you are lucky, you may see the rare black-necked crane.