The summer Tibet festival season is on all over Tibet. Recently some friends sent us some pictures and videos of the horse racing festival – the wongo – in Pembo, the beautiful large valley just over a ridge of mountains north of Lhasa. We’ll share those with you here, along with a few images from the nearby Jara horse festival that we took in 2002. Jara is a little village just west of Lhasa.
The riders race the horses but also perform feats of skill and daring during the festival. While riding full speed, they scoop up Tibetan blessing scarves from the ground or shoot arrows at targets. The riders will hang from the horse, one leg hooked on the saddle, the other dragging the ground, with both arms stretched out or waving. It can be a little dangerous to spectators, who line up right by the horse tracks. We almost got run over at the Jara festival, standing – cluelessly — at an empty stretch of the track that we didn’t know was where the horses veer off at the end of the runs. Oops.
Video: Tibet Festival Great little video of the riders circling a lhaka – a place to make incense offerings for the gods – before the race.
Video: Offerings Before the Festival The riders make offerings before the race.