Tiji festival Trek in Upper Mustang
As Nepal is popular for landscape and mountains many people arrive to see the fascinating landscape and do the adventure activities. A great folk diverted to see the cultural part of the country. When we combine the culture and the landscape, the ultimate destination will be Upper Mustang where they have a unique festival “Tiji”.
Tiji festival in Mustang
Tiji is an annual festival celebrated in Mustang which last for three days and celebrated according to the Tibetan Lunar calendar. This indigenous festival consists of elaborated Tibetan ritual that celebrates the myth of the son who has to save the Mustang kingdom from destruction by devils. Local name for Tiji is Tempa Chirim which signifies prayers for a world peace. The festival is celebrated in the commemoration of the victory of one of the Buddha’s reincarnation Dorje Sonam over the demon named Man Tam Ru. Man Tam Ru supposed to be a powerful vicious creature that causes storms, droughts, hails and even feeding the human flesh of the locals from Mustang.
The monks of Choede monastery are responsible and trained for this festival. The Choede monastery follows the shakya- Pa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Usually the festival takes place in May and last for three days. The monks are specially dressed and perform the ritual dances during the celebration. The ritual dances that last for three days and enacted the performance which goes like;
Day01: The harassment and torture of Ma Tam Ru Popular by the name Tsa Chham
Day 02: The birth of Dorje Sonu, the protector, as the demon’s son popular by the name Nga Chham
Day 03: Attempt to return the demon to the Lord Buddha’s realm or paradise
The festival is performed in the premise of the old palace. As Lo-Manthang was once a walled town and had their own King and ruled by king. Monks from Lo-Manthang, Chhoser and Nhenyul participate in the performance. Different type of musical instruments like cymbals, trumpets and drums are played and enchantment of the prayers are done daily. The main event of the Tiji festival is taken place in the afternoon time. The King of Mustang farewell the monks and publics and close the ceremony on the last day.
How to reach Upper Mustang
The easiest ways to reach there is after taking a flight from Pokhara to Jomsom and take a drive there. One can enjoy doing the trekking from Jomsom all the way to Lo-Manthang. We have crafted the Upper Mustang trek itinerary after doing extensive research over the area.
Things to remember
There is a special permit to enter the area all the year round. The permit cost $500 per person for 10 days and it must be taken for at least 10 days. Any extra days one stays inside this restricted area one has to pay fine on exit of the area.
Foreigners even buy local dresses and dressed like locals when participating for the festival.
Photos and videos are allowed during the rituals and celebrations with nominal fee.
Tiji festival date for 2021
Tiji festival for 2021 is celebrated from 9th May until 11th May. If you want to take part on this lively festival to discover the secret of Lo-Manthang you can just fill out the form to inquire or just drop an email to our address. Besides strolling on the walled town you will get opportunity to indulge in the traditional festival.
Where is upper Mustang where they organize Tiji Festival?
Upper Mustang is located in the rain shadow area, North West of Annapurna range. The landscape and topography there is variegated and seen colorful. Green patches of agricultural land are concentrated in the river banks and they often have enclosed small valleys. Upper Mustang also has a small holy lake of Damodar Kunda from where the holy Kaligandaki River begins. As Upper Mustang area was underneath the sea until during Jurassic time, this area is famous for availability of ammonites and belemnite fossils. The area is of great importance to geoscientists who are carrying out the research on ancient basins.
Why to do Upper Mustang trek during Tiji festival
As Tiji is the annual festival of the area, plenty of monks, locals, administrative bodies all show their presence during festival making Lo-manthang area really vivid and are the best time ever to visit the area.
May is practically a rainy and often cloudy for some days in the lower Mustang area but the upper Mustang get clear as it is located in the rain shadow area.
They display big Buddhist paintings, especially to worship and pay homage and also tell public people that they have taken good care of those paintings.
As the permits are expensive, one can take advantage going there during the annual festival and discover more of the area.
Can solo traveller get permits to upper Mustang?
No, the permits are issued for at least two people but as during the Tiji festival we have other people who like to go there you can join our group and we do process the permits for you even if you are the solo traveller.
Can I do backpacking in upper Mustang?
No, as the area is restricted to protect the fragile landscape and culture, you have to go through registered trekking company on organized trip there. We are one of the pioneers organizing trip to the Upper Mustang area.
Is it allowed to walk in if I pay the permit fee at the point of entry to enter the upper Mustang area?
The permits are issued only in Kathmandu and Pokhara so no last minutes’ walk in is allowed even if you are interested to enter the area.
Beside the special permits are there any extra permits I have to pay to enter the Upper Mustang area?
Yes, as the area is located in Annapurna conservation area you have to pay ACAP fee and you also need to pay TIMS to enter the area. TIMS and ACAP check post are located in Jomsom, the district head quarter.
If I am doing the lower Mustang trek and change my mind and I want to go for upper Mustang, can you help us?
In many cases yes, we will try our best, we will process the permits in Kathmandu and send it to our concerned staff in Social media so do not hesitate to discuss with our concerned staff about your interest to enter the Upper Mustang even in last minute. We have plenty of customers as they see the beautiful landscape from Kagbeni , they change their mind and like to go to Upper Mustang.
When is best time to visit Upper Mustang?
People enjoy visit to Upper Mustang during various festival time. Normally winter months are cold and summer months are better to visit Upper Mustang. The important festival like Tiji in Lo-manthang one might feel crowded, if you don’t love crowd avoid big festivals. The best months to visit the area are March-October. Most of the afternoons in the summer months are windy so we suggest early birding for our customers so they can avoid winds and get more time to discover the villages where they stop.
What is specialty of the Upper Mustang?
Besides the landscapes, one of the oldest monasteries in Nepal are located in Upper Mustang. Some of these monasteries have age old mural paintings which are still of great importance. Upper Mustang is considered as the lost heaven from Tibet. The culture in Upper mustang is not comparable to any other part of Nepal. Similar culture one might see in Dolpa but if one observes carefully there is a vast difference. Still there exist polyandry in upper Mustang but they don’t like to show to publics. Polyandry is practiced for not to divide the parental property.
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