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Narat Grassland Festivals

Located in the heartland of Tianshan, an UNESCO World Heritage Site in Xinjiang, Narat Grassland has been a famous pasture since ancient time. Both wildlife and various tribes include Sai people, Wusun people, Xiongnu, Tujue and the Mongols call this heaven home. Today, the Kazakhs with their mesmerizing singing and dancing, palatable food and fruits as well as eye-opening wedding performance, will spicy up your trip magically. Highlights of your trip here include hiking, horse riding, join a bonfire party, watch the Kazakhs’s wedding performance, horsemanship, courtesy game and folklore music festival.
narat grassland
Narat Grassland has been inhabited by five tribes successively during the past 3000 years, leaving behind a goldmine of artifacts, relics, ruins and legends.

Narat Grassland borders hills on three sides and is cut through by a zigzagging river. It is an integral part of one of the world’s Top Four Grasslands. Though outshone in scale by Hulun Buir Grasslands, the lord of grassland in China, Narat Grassland incorporating rolling grassland, undulating slopes, soaring peaks, fertile valleys and crisscrossing rivers, sparkles as God’s bonsai.

From June to September, the slopes and valleys will be flooded with a sea of rainbow-colored wild blossoms. The scenery is simply too much for the eye to take in. Besides amazing scenery, Narat Grassland is a hive of festivals and activities, such as Diao Yang, their horsemanship competition; Guniangzhui, their courtesy game and Aken Singing Festival.

narat grassland


Aken Music Festival阿肯弹唱会

“Aken” refers to the folk musicians of the Kazakhs, one of the 55 minorities of China, who reside in western China’s Xinjiang and Gansu and are talented singers and dancers. As the creator, performer and spreader of poems and songs, Aken’s talent is manifested by simultaneous creation. The Kazakhs’s songs fall into five categories: love song, praise song, custom song, humorous song and elegy. Song plays such a great part in their life that any grand occasion such as wedding, festival, funeral, religious worship ceremony won’t be complete without it.

During summer, Narat Grassland will see the Kazakhs flock in from all directions like colorful streams which will converge into a sea.

Aken Music Festival is the Kazakhs’s grandest open air concert, during which Aken will sing to their hearts’ content. The one who can sing the longest, most passionately and sweetly will be respected by all.
narat grasslandnarat grassland
narat grassland aken singing festivalnarat grassland aken singing festival
During this period, the eternal serenity hanging over here will give way to joyful singing which resonate between heaven and earth and this grassland will be transformed into a seething heaven of color, people, sights and activities.

Diao Yang (Fight for Sheep on Horseback叼羊)

Besides, you can also see their horse racing, horsemanship known as Diao Yang(fight for sheep on horseback) as well as unique courteous game known as Chasing Girls.

Diao Yang Competition usually begins in autumn, a time of mild weather and harvest. During the competition, a sheep will be put in the heart area of a grassland. Two teams on horsebacks will compete against each other to pick the sheep and put it at a designated site. This competition incorporating strength, wit and courage, is very engaging and thrilling. It can be so intense and close that it will last from several hours to a whole day.

narat grassland horsemanship diaoyang
narat grassland horsemanship diaoyang
narat grassland horsemanship diaoyang
narat grassland horsemanship diaoyang
narat grassland horsemanship diaoyang

Chasing Girls(姑娘追)

In this grassland, you can also see their unique courtesy game named Kezikuwaer, which means “chasing girls”. “Chasing Girls” is held during weddings or festivals. During the game, a pair of man and woman will form a team. They will ride together, the man can show his admire to this woman by flirting, kissing or embracing her, and she is not expected to be angry. After reaching the destination, it is the woman’s turn to rule the game. If she does not like the man, and he had acted very dirty and rude, then she will whip him unmercifully. If they both like each other, a marriage will be around the corner.
narat grassland guiniangzhui coutesy game
narat grassland guiniangzhui coutesy game

narat grassland guiniangzhui coutesy gamenarat grassland guiniangzhui coutesy game


Travel guide

Address: the intersection area of northern Xinjing and southern Xinjiang. It borders Yili Valley to the east
Admission fee: 175 RMB

Advised tour hour: one day

Best travel season: June to September (the climate is mild and scenery is breathtaking, lots of events will be held during this period also)
What to eat: Cantaloupe: the best cantaloupe hails from Xinjiang. This succulent, juicy and sweet fruit is both delicious and nutritional. Do not miss it, you will fall in love with Xinjiang just after a bite.

Do's and Dont's

Temperature can change from baking to freezing during night. Hence, you had better bring some long T shirts, rain gears and umbrella during summer and a warm coat during winter

The time difference of Xinjiang and inland China is two hours. Shops and companies are usually opened from 9:30 am to 10:00am and 15:30pm to 19:30pm.

Mistreat or curse livestock or herds should be avoided

The Kazakhs are devout Muslim believers. Hence, avoid topic about pigs. During shopping, pay after negotiation. During show, inquire about the lasting time before buy a ticket.
narat grassland
narat grassland
narat grassland
narat grassland
narat grassland
narat grassland
narat grassland
narat grassland
Posted by Sophia on July 9, 2013
Yuanyang Travel Tips
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