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Gyantse Horse Race


Horse racing is very popular in Tibet, especially Gyantse, with the earliest record that dates back to 1408. Contests in early times included horse racing, archery, and shooting. Currently, there are also ball games, track and field events, folk songs and dances, and barter trade. In every July the locals gather for this action-packed festival.


Legend says that the Gyantse Prince of Dhamag Parba Sangpo in the Sakya regime enjoyed great prestige among the people, and after his death his children held a memorial ceremony on the time of that year, they held a series of religious activities, like unfolding the painted scroll of Buddha and sorcerer's dance and entertainments such as horse races, wrestling matches and weightlifting.


In 1447, Tashi Rabten became Gyantse Prince of Dhamag, and he added horsemanship and archery, Tibetan Opera and songs and dances to the ceremony. Thus, the present Gyantse Dhamag Festival came into being. It is celebrated for seven days with different activities, culture show, and horse racing competitions between the villages under Gyantse County.

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