Upper Mustang Tiji Festival Trek
Upper Mustang Tiji Festival is a three days long ritual known as” The chasing of the Demons”, one of the most important festival of the region. Over the festive time monks dressed in elaborate costumes and masks perform dances and rituals that are supposed to drive away evil spirits. Dressed in their finery, people from all over Mustang gather in Lo Monthang to celebrate the Tiji Festival.
The Kingdom of Mustang preserves some of the last vestiges of traditional Tibetan Buddhist culture. Situated on the border of Nepal and Tibet, it is open to only a few select trekking groups each season. The trek follows established trails through substantial villages that once served a thriving trade route between Nepal and Tibet. These whitewashed settlements, set amid fields of barley and home to impressive chortens and simple monasteries, reflect the abiding Buddhist culture. The terrain is striking, a semi-arid desert with deep ravines and rock shelves, flanked by snowy peaks. A highlight is the visit to Lo Manthang where the King of Mustang reigns over his tiny kingdom and surveys a world still culturally closer to the heartland of Tibet than to the markets and temples of Kathmandu. The Upper Mustang trek brings you into the hidden world of the old Buddhist kingdom of Mustang, also called Lo. Lo used to be part of the Tibetan empire, and is therefore closely related to Tibet. Tibetan Buddhism is still being practiced in a very pure form and villages are built in Tibetan style, with white washed houses with firewood tucked on the roofs. Not only is the culture, also the landscape very much related to Tibet. Mustang lies in the rain shadow of the Dhaulagiri and you walk in a complete desolate landscape, surrounded by rocks in all kind of colors and bizarre formations. In this barren landscape the villages with their bright colored fields are like oases. Upper Mustang is a restricted area and up till 1992 it was forbidden for foreign visitors to enter the kingdom.
The Tiji festival is annual event indigenous to Lo-Manthang, Upper MUSTANG in Nepal. Tiji commonly pronounced “Teeji” is the abbreviated from of Tempa Chhirim which translates to “Prayer for World peace”. Tiji commemorates the victory of Buddha’s incarnation. Dhorje Sonam over a demon called Ma Tam Ru Ta, who was man eater and who caused storms and droughts to destroy people’s houses and livestock. The dances performed by the monks of Lomanthang Chhyode Gumba during these three days festival enact the harassment of the Ma Tam Ru Ta, the birth of Dhorje Sonam the demon’s son and attempt by Dhorje Sonam to return the demon to the BUDDHA realm. The monks perform a dance called “Tsa Chham” on the first day of the Tiji and “Nga Chham” on the second day, one monk has to stay in seclusion for three monks during the winter preparing for the role of Dhorje Sonam. One the third day, in a ceremony called “Rha chham” this monk in the role of Dhorje Sonam throws the effigy and Tsamppa representation of Ma Tam Ru Ta. It is believed that the village is purified of evil spirits at this time. The Tiji festival falls from 27th to 29th days of third month of Tibetan calendar (April/May of every year). It is organized by Chhyode Gumba which is monastery of Sakyapa sect located in Lomanthang, Upper Mustang. The monasteries abbot is Khempo Tashi Tenjin Rinpochhe and there is close to 35 other from Lomanthang, Nenyol and Chhoser in the monastery. Villagers from all over “Lho Tshu Dhyun” (the ancient kingdom of Lo) come to watch the dance and to participate in the accompanying festivities the villager of Lo also contribute firewood and necessary material to under take the festival.
Day 1 - Arrival in Kathmandu Kathmandu International Airport 1340m,
Day 2 - Full day guided sightseeing tour in Kathmandu Valley,
Day 3 - Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara 820m/25 minutes
Day 4 - Fly from Jomsom to Jomsom 2713m/25 minutes and trek to Kagbeni 2810m/4 hours,
Day 5 - Trek from Kagbeni to Tsaile 3030m/5 hours,
Day 6 - Trek from Tsaile to Giling 3440m/7 hours via Chungsi Cave
Day 7 - Trek from Giling to Tsarang 3490m/7 hours,
Day 8 - Trek from Tsarang to Lo-Manthang 3730m/4 hours,
Day 9 - 12th May 2018: At Lo-Manthang and Tiji Festival
Day 10 - 13th May 2018: Explore to Chhoser Village 3800m/6 hours and Tiji Festival
Day 11 - 14th May 2018: Attending in the last day of Tiji Festival
Day 12 - Trek from Lo-Manthang to Drakmar 3820m/8 hours via Ghar Gompa,
Day 13 - Trek from Drakmar to Syangmochen 3700m/6 hours,
Day 14 - Trek from Syangmochen to Chhusang 2980m/6 hours,
Day 15 - Trek from Chhusang to Jomsom 2720m/6 hours,
Day 16 - Fly from Jomsom to Pokhara and afternoon flight back to Kathmandu
Day 17 - Final Departure from Kathmandu
You’ll be met at the Kathmandu International Airport by our representative from the company, so look out for a office sign/logo with your name when you leave the airport. They will bring you back to the Hotel. Welcome drinks will provide by Hotel and short briefing about your treks and refreshment. Stay overnight in Hotel.
A free day to explore in the Kathmandu Valley. Our tour guide introduces as following Options: Climb the many steps to Swayambhunath (the monkey temple), with its commanding views of Kathmandu (1420m), its whitewashed Stupas and its unique synthesis of Buddhism and Hinduism. The striking Buddha eyes of Boudhanath Stupa watch over a lively and colorful Tibetan community and attract pilgrims from all over the Himalayan Buddhist realm. In the midst of traditional Gompas, and hung with long strings of multi-colored prayer flags, Boudhanath attracts Sherpas, Tibetans and tourists alike for daily circumambulations (Koras) of the Stupa. Durbar Square, one of the old capitals of the Kathmandu valley, is a synthesis of Hindu and Buddhist temples, stupas and statues, and is often the site of festivals, marriages and other ceremonies. Hindu Pashupatinath and its sacred temple complex on the banks of the holy Bagmati River. Here, monkeys run up and down the steps of the burning ghats, and trident-bearing saddhus draped in burnt-orange and saffron sit serenely meditating – when they’re not posing for photos-for-rupees. Stay overnight in Hotel.
Up early for our short but scenic flight to Pokhara, 198 kilometers west of Kathmandu. You will fly high above the north-south Rivers flowing down towards the Terai from the Himalaya and Tibet, over terraced villages and green hills with the Ganesh, Langtang, Manaslu and Annapurna ranges in the distance, to balmy, sub-tropical Pokhara. We have the afternoon to wander the Shore of Phewa Lake, do some shopping, or sit and relax at the hotel with a book. Stay overnight in Hotel.
This morning we take a spectacular flight to Jomsom where we will meet our trekking porters. A half day walk brings us to Kagbeni, an impressive village that is our gateway to Mustang. To pass beyond this point you need a special Mustang permit for tomorrow’s crossing into Mustang. Stay overnight at Lodge.
We enter Mustang and follow the east bank of the river over a series of small ridges. Across the river we can see Kang Gompa, a centre of the Nyingmapa sect. Approaching Tangbe we encounter the distinctive black, red and white chortens that typify upper Mustang. The town of white washed houses contains an intriguing pattern of alleyways and is surrounded by fields of wheat, barley and buckwheat, interspersed with small apple orchards. We cross to the east bank of the river and ascend to the village of Tsaile. Immediately, the strong influence of Tibetan culture of Lo is evident with the decoration of the houses. Stay overnight at Lodge.
The trail today is characterized by the crossing of a series of large spurs. At the top of each are chortens and an excellent view of this harsh but beautiful countryside. The valleys that dissect the trail have cool streams and juniper trees to enable us to relax for a while. These passes are at altitudes of up to 3800m. These altitudes should not present any acclimatization issues, so we just take our time and enjoy the walk. Stay overnight at Lodge.
Avenues of poplar trees and fields of barley mark our trail as we head to Nyi La (pass). At 3850m this is the highest point of the trek thus far and the southern boundary of Lo. We descend to the Qumona Khola and pass a spectacular series of mani walls to the village of Charang with it’s huge white dzong and red gompa. Stay overnight at Lodge.
We leave the Tsarang Khola and climb the ridge to 3800m for our first view of the walled city of Lo Manthang. The trail drops to a stream and then climbs onto the plateau where the city is situated. The only gate is in the north east corner and we make our way to the entrance. The white washed walls enclose around 150 homes, Gompas and a palace. Stay overnight at Lodge.
We have allowed two full days to explore this outstanding historical and cultural centre. There are 4 major Gompas to visit during our stay. The palace is the home of the raja and his rani (queen). Although the raja’s function is now primarily ceremonial he is seen as a person who can help people resolve local issues. The town itself is fascinating, and offers countless opportunities to observe a vibrant Tibetan culture. Stay overnight at Lodge.
We have today explore to Chhoser village where you can visit Dzong caves where several rooms inside the cliffs and other Cave monastery. First you need to cross the river and follow the road head to Tibet border along the Kaligandaki River for 3 hours and back for 3 hours from other side of river. Stay overnight at Lodge.
Today, attending in the last day of Tiji Festival at Lo-Manthang and relax at Lodge.
Reluctantly we depart Lo Manthang and head south. We have a choice of trails today and are not forced to back-track on the same trail. Climbing the ridge, we get our last view of the walled city and gently descend the valley towards Drakmar via Ghar Gompa. Stay overnight at Lodge.
We continue down the valley and rejoin the trail that we used to enter Mustang and pass the longest Mani Wall in Nepal Himalayas. The trail climbs up to small pass and downhill. Stay overnight at Lodge.
We walk uphill to small pass and down to the Kaligandaki River passing Samar and Tsaile villages then walk along the Kali Gandaki River to Chhusang. Stay overnight at Lodge.
This will be our last day with the trek crew. After a morning walk we reach Jomsom. Tonight we will celebrate the achievements of the trek with the crew and reflect on our journey. Stay overnight at Lodge.
This is a fantastic way to conclude our journey. The spectacular flight down the Kali Gandaki that defies description. The huge mountains of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges tower above us as we retrace the valley we trekked 2 weeks ago. At Pokhara we board another aircraft for yet another spectacular mountain flight, this time along the face of the Himalaya past the Annapurna, Manaslu, Ganesh and Langtang ranges. On arrival in Kathmandu we transfer to the hotel.
Your trip will come to an end today after breakfast in Hotel. Our office reprentative will be on hand to advise and assist with your onward travel arrangements and transfer to Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport by our private van around 3 hours before your flight schedule and flight back to your home/other travel destination.
Int’l/Dom Airport/Hotel/Airport picks up and transfers by private car/van on arrival and departure.
4 nights deluxe accommodations in twin bed sharing basis with breakfast at 3* Hotel in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
Guided sightseeing tour as per above mentioned itinerary and all kind of entry fees.
Round Trip domestic flight tickets cost from KTM-PKR-Jomsom-PKR-KTM and airport tax.
Meals (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) with tea or coffee are included during the lodge/tea-house trek.
Lodge-lodge and party tented camp accommodation during the lodge trek.
1 Experienced, helpful, friendly and well trained English speaking guide and porters (1 porter for 2 peoples and carry 25kg) during the trek and their food, accommodation, equipment, salary and insurance.
All ground transportation by private vehicle according to group size.
Upper Mustang Restricted Area Permit.
Annapurna Conservation Area Permit and other necessary permits.
First Aid Medical Kit box and necessary medicines.
Office Service Charge and all government tax.
Any meals (Lunch and Dinner) in Kathmandu and Pokhara other than breakfast in hotel.
International Airfare to and from Nepal.
Nepal Tourist Visa Fees.
Items and expenses of personal nature.
All kind of alcoholic drinks (beer, wine, whisky), cold drink (mineral water, coke, fanta, sprite, juice), laundry service, postage, phone calls, internet, donations, museum entry fees etc during the trip.
Personal Trekking Equipment such as sleeping bags, walking poles, down jackets, walking boots. (It can be hired/bought in Kathmandu and Pokhara).
Emergency Evacuation (Medical Insurance and Helicopter Rescue in case of accident and can be paid either insurance company or clients themselves).
Any cost arises due to a change of the program/itinerary, because of landslides, political disturbance, strike and some accidental problems.
Horse/Pony renting and additional porters due to natural calamities during the trek.
Any other costs whatsoever, that is not mentioned in the cost inclusive.
Tipping Tips for guide, porters, drivers and horse man. Tipping is expected but it is not mandatory and can be treated end of the trip if satisfied.