Every year around April-May and July-August, hundreds of people flock to the Mustang district only to drink the raw blood of yaks.
I am talking about a rather bizarre festival, yak blood drinking festival, in the northwest districts of Nepal.
The professional bleeder, known as the aamji, slit and cut the jugular vein of the yak and draws hot blood in cups-that costs around Rs.200- to share it among the crowds.
The local yak herders sell the blood of live yaks to hundreds of people who flock to the district from across the country.
In the highland pastures, there are mountainous herbs like yarsagumba, Panchaunle, and Jatamasi with medicinal values that yaks graze on. People believe that yak-blood has healing properties, and drinking the raw blood of yak cures gastritis, jaundice, muscle sprain, and skin diseases.
This biennial festival of drinking yak blood lasts for 5 days. People set up tents and prepare themselves for the festivals.
The good part is that the yaks are not killed or slaughtered during the festival. It is said that some yak (in a few) accidentally bled to death.
Photo- Jana Asenbrennerova