About Mustang Tiji Festival Trekking
Mustang Tiji Festival Trekking is an exceptional trip a remote part of Nepal high in the Himalayan desert, where a Tibetan King and his subjects are celebrating the victory of good triumphing over evil.The people of Mustang believe that similar to the ancient Tibetan-Buddhist myth, the Tiji festival brings hope and peace and wards off evil forces and suffering. The Tiji festival coincides with the end of the dry winter season and the beginning of the wetter monsoon season, the harvesting season for Mustang.
Tiji is a three-day festival known as "the chasing of the Demons". Tiji is based on the myth of a deity named Dorje Jono who fought against his demonic father who was cursing Lo Manthang with famine (Mustang is a very dry place). Dorje Jono eventually triumphed over the demon and banished him from the land, saving the Kingdom of Mustang from destruction. Throughout the Tiji festival the story of the myth is re-enacted. Tiji comes from the word ten che meaning ‘the hope of Buddha Dharma prevailing in the world'.
In Lo Manthang, ancient lifestyle, traditions and art and culture are still intact.The people of Lo have many religious festivals, but the yearly Tiji is the most important festival of the year and they have been celebrating since the 15th century. In the days prior to the Tiji Festival, the trails from the surrounding villages to Lo Manthang are packed with local people arriving in mule caravans arriving to celebrate their annual festival.
During the three-day Tiji festival, a chosen monk representing Dorge Shunu performs masked dances to the beating of drums while chanting fills the air. Through the power of Tiji festival dances, he is able to defeat the demons and thereby bring peace and prosperity to the kingdom. The present king of Mustang, now 25th in the lineage, Jigme Dadul Palbar Bista, also attends the festival dressed in traditional attire.
Upper Mustang covers about 2600 sq km of rugged dry land in the rain shadow north of the Himalayan range (Annapurna and Dhaulagiri) and is a home to a mere 6000 people. The kingdom of Lo Manthang remains semi-independent and still has a king. It is one of the last strongholds of authentic Tibetan culture in the world.The medieval capital of Lo Manthang is a walled city of palaces of local nobilities and magnificent monasteries. The remains of massive, rambling forts are reminders of the time when Lo Manthang was a rich walled kingdom; during the salt trade of the15th and 16th centuries Lo Munthang flourished as an important link between Tibet and India.
The trek enters Upper Mustang at Kagbeni, a quaint medieval town nestled among apple orchards and encircled by snowy mountains. Every village in Mustang has a monastery. Buddhist monasteries and nunneries are built into the forbidding cliffs and mountain ledges of this starkly beautiful arid Tibetan plateau.
Highlights of Mustang Tiji Festival Trekking
- starkly beautiful arid Tibetan plateau
- medieval kingdom; walled city of palacesand magnificent monasteries built into the forbidding cliffs and mountain ledges
- one of the last strongholds of authentic Tibetan culture in the world
- culturally immersive experience
- centuries old festival reveals ancient Buddhist myth
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Flying to Kathmandu is in itself an exciting and memorable experience. On a clear day you will get a panoramic view of the snow-capped mountains. In the airport, after completing the visa formalities collect your luggage downstairs. As you exit the airport terminal, you will be met by our representative carrying your name on a signboard as well as our company signboard, Annapurna Foothills Treks & Expedition. You will be taken to your hotel in our vehicle, where you will be staying before commencing the trip.
The Managing Director of our company will be there to meet you in the hotel and provide more information about the expedition. Your dues must be cleared before we proceed on the trip. Afterward, you are free to relax or explore around the city. We will finalize paperwork-permit for your trip and make a final check of your equipment. In case you need additional trekking equipment, you will have a chance to buy it. Sightseeing tours of Kathmandu Valley are also an option.
Today, we will start early to drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara. The road leads us West following the Trisuli River.
Option: We have not included the airfare Kathmandu - Pokhara (USD $120 Per Person). The exciting half hour flight from Kathmandu- Pokhara gives you the feeling of a mountain flight, high in the Himalayas where you can see the Langtang, Dhaulagiri and Annapurna ranges. If you chose to travel to Kathmandu by flight, we give free Airport Drop and Pick up. You need to book this flight before start the trek.
A morning flight to Jomsom, the administrative capital of the Mustang district, reveals spectacular views of the region. From Jomsom, we trek north to Kagbeni, the last settlement in lower Mustang and the most ethnically Tibetan in the unrestricted area.
A check-post at Kagbeni checks our permits before we head up the sandy banks of the Kaligandaki river. The beautiful winding trail with many ups and downs brings us to the little village of Tangbe. The mud houses, painted white, are a contrast to the surrounding fields of buckwheat, barley, wheat and apple orchids. To reach the next village of Chhusang, we cross the river and continue up river to where the Kaligandaki flows through a tunnel of huge red chunk of rock that has fallen from the cliff. Bypassing the tunnel, we walk on small ridges above the river to reach Chele village.
We trek to Ekla Bhatti on an ascending trail and then through plateaus and narrow stretches to reach Taklam La Pass, 3624m. Along the trail, we get the views of Tilicho Peak, Yakawa Kang and Damodar Danda. After a short descent to the village of Samar, we climb steeply up to a ridge above Samar. A sharp descent leads down to a stream and takes us along cool streams and forests of juniper trees all the way to Syanbochen. The local people use the leaves of juniper trees as incense to worship their deities.
The trail to Yamda La Pass, 3850m goes uphill and passes Tibetan style villages with cozy teahouses and Buddhist chortens. After the mountain pass, we pass through a forest of poplar trees and barley fields. The next ascent to Nyi Pass, 4010m, is a little longer. We descend to large village of Ghaymi where we stay overnight.
We leave Ghaymi through the large barren fields and cross the Ghaymi Khola to climb to a plateau where there is a very long Mani wall. These sacred stone walls have carved wooden wheels inset in them and Buddhist people turn the wheels as they walk by. This sends their prayers to Lord Buddha. From the Mani wall, the trail continues east through fields and forests to the village of Tsarang, at the top of the Tsarang Chu Canyon. Colorful prayer flags strung from Tsarang’s red Gompa will be fluttering in the wind.
The trek to Lo-Mangthang offers a magnificent view of the peaks of Nilgiri, Tilicho, Annapurna I and Bhrikuti. The trail drops down steeply into the Tsarang Chu Canyon and then after crossing the river, climbs steeply at first and then gently up to the windy pass of Lo La, 3850m, from where you can look over the Lo-Mangthang Valley. As we descend, we can see the magnificent walled city of Lo-Mangthang and the hills behind it which marks the border of Tibet.
Besides enjoying the unique atmosphere and culture of this ancient city surrounded by Himalaya, we may explore the Namgyal Gompa monastery which doubles as a local court for the community. We can walk northwest of Lo-Mangthang to visit Tingkhar on the Tibetan border. Other attractions are the tall Champa Lakhang "God house", the red Thugchen Gompa, Chyodi Gompa, the Entrance Hall, and the four- storey palace of the King.
Early in the morning, we will head towards the Namgyal monastery of Lo-manthang. You will explore the monastery and have a walk around it. After having lunch, we will go to the king’s palace to celebrate TIJI festival. We witness the rituals and dancing of the Tibetan monks from various region.
The festival usually start from 12 pm. So, we hike to Chhoser village in the morning. After exploring Chhoser, we will return to Lomanthang for the TIJI celebration.
This is the last and final day of TIJI festival. We will explore the monasteries and Buddhist school of Lomanthang, have a good sightseeing around the village. and after 12 pm, we join the local people to celebrate the final day of TIJI festival. Interact with the local and observe the rituals and dance and return to Lo - Mangthang to stay overnight.
We leave Lo-Mangthang on a different route than we came. We leave early in the morning as the dusty winds get worse later in the day. Trek to Gyakar where there is a gompa of Guru Rinpoche that is more than 1200 years old. There are rock paintings at Ghar Gompa that are very famous. There is a legend which says anyone who makes a wish at the Ghar Gompa will get their wish fulfilled.
Today, our long walk takes us to Ghiling. After lunch, we can have rest as it will be dusty wind in the afternoon and spend the evening exploring the area.
We re-trace our steps back to Chussang. The scenery and the view of the Himalaya along the way will be appreciative.
Our last day of the Upper Mustang Trek starts early and is a long one. At Kagbeni, we leave the upper Mustang trail and join the famous Annapurna Circuit Trail which descends to Jomsom.
The flights from Jomosom to Pokhara are usually in the early morning due to the high winds which blow up the Kali Gandaki Valley later in the day. The short flight to Pokhara takes us down the Kali Gandaki Valley with spectacular views of Niligiri and Dhaulagiri. You will have ample time to explore Pokhara for the rest of the day. You might want to hire a bike to cycle around to places of interest: Fewa Lake, Devi’s Falls, museum, Tibetan Refugee Camp, Gupteshwar Cave.
Early morning, we depart from the Pokhara Tourist Bus Station to travel back to Kathmandu 6- 7 hours. Check in the hotel in Kathmandu.
Option: We have not included the airfare Pokhara – Kathmandu (USD $120 Per Person). The exciting half hour flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu gives you the feeling of a mountain flight, high in the Himalayas where you can see the Langtang, Dhaulagiri and Annapurna ranges. If you chose to travel to Kathmandu by flight, we give free Airport Drop and Pick up. You need to book this flight before start the trek.
Our staff will pick you up at the hotel and transfer you to the airport. We hope you enjoyed your journey with Annapurna Foothill Treks!
- Transfer from Airport – Hotel – Airport: Car, Van, Hi-ace or Coaster in a private vehicle.
- Authentic Nepali welcome dinner with Live Nepalese Cultural Program.
- Accommodation in Kathmandu, Four nights on Twin share Bed and Breakfast Basis.
- Accommodation in Pokhara, Two nights on Twin share Bed and Breakfast Basis.
- Accommodation during Trek ; local lodges 13 nights (With twin-share rooms ,beds with comfortable foam mattress and pillows)
- All standard meals (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) during the trekking
- English speaking experienced Sherpa guide (Govt. Trained/License Holder).
- One Sherpa guide-assistant if group size is more than 4 Trekkers.
- Porters: One porter for 2 Trekkers basis.
- Trek Staff costs including their salary, insurance, equipment, food and accommodation.
- Personal insurance for Nepalese staff.
- Annapurna Foothill’s Duffle bag for Trekking.
- Annapurna Foothill’s Tshirt.
- Energy Supplies ( Snickers, Mars, Bounty) and Fresh Fruits on the Trek
- First aid medicine kit.
- Special Permit Fee, TIMS permits & all required permits or Official Documentation.
- All ground transfers.
- All government and local taxes.
- Your Personal Travel Insurance.
- Nepal Entry Visa Fee.
- Lunch & Dinner in cities - allow $ 10 to 14 for per meal in Tourist restaurants.
- Beverages (soft drinks, mineral water,boiled water and beer)
- Tips for guide, porters and driver (customary).
- Any personal expenses not mentioned in above services.
- Additional night accommodation in Kathmandu because of early return from Trek (due to any reason) than the planned itinerary.
Guaranteed - We already have trekkers booked for those dates and you can join the group.
Available - The date is available to book and once you confirm your trip it will be guaranteed.
Limited - The departure date is filling fast and only limited seats are available to join.
Closed- The Trip cannot be booked on that specific date. Contact us for customized dates.
The departure dates are your arrival dates in Nepal.
We have set dates for departure to the Amazing Mustang Tiji Festival Trekking. So, pick your preferable date and let the adventure begin.
Mustang Tiji Festival Trekking is available and can be done throughout the year. So, if the date you prefer is not listed on our departure dates then you can contact us directly to book the trip on your own desired date.
We have listed the price up to 12 trekkers at maximum. If you are more than 12 trekkers, then please feel free to contact us for amazing discounted group price and further booking process.
Private Trips to Mustang Tiji Festival Trekking is possible on any date of the year. Contact us to design your own private trips with you loved ones.
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Tiji Festival Trekking is a Tea House/Lodge Trek
Accommodation is included in the cost of your package. Annapurna Foothills Treks takes great care to arrange the most comfortable accommodation possible throughout your stay.
In Kathmandu, our clients enjoy four nights in Hotel Holy Himalaya before and after heading into the remote regions.
Until recently you could only come to Upper Mustang with a fully organized camping trek. However, nowadays some villagers have opened up small guesthouses with plenty of character and good food. The family run lodges are a great place to get to know the Mustang culture. In Tibetan culture, the kitchen is the center of the house, and functions more like a living room. You will be made very welcome into their kitchens where you can learn a lot about their lifestyle.
Spending Money per Day
Although it depends on your spending habits, you should allocate US$ 10 - 15 per meal in Kathmandu. On the trek, your meals are included, but you may wish to purchase extras which are not included in your package, such as chocolate bars, Coca Cola or a beer. US$10 - 15 a day should be enough, but keep in mind the cost of all items increases proportionately with the distance from the trail head.
While trekking, it is important to keep hydrated; you should drink at least 3 liters of water each day. In some places there are Euro-guard filters, so all you need is your own water bottle and you can refill it easily. We suggest you bring a supply of water purification tablets in case Euro-guard water is not available. We request that you avoid using bottled mineral water, as the bottles are not easily disposed of.
If you have a reasonable level of fitness, this trek should be more than manageable. The altitude becomes more noticeable the higher we go, so we walk at a slow pace and take plenty of breaks to rest and acclimatize.
When travelling in remote mountain regions, uncertainties such as weather, health problems and natural disasters require a certain amount of flexibility. While our goal is to follow the itinerary, that is not our first priority;your safety is always our first priority. Annapurna Foothills Treks and Expeditions request your cooperation to accept the decisions and advice of our trusted and experienced guides if they deem it necessary to change or cancel any part of the itinerary due to safety concerns.
It is strongly recommended to be sufficiently protected when you go into remote areas. You need specialized travel insurance that covers emergency evacuation, injury, lost baggage, liability and medical treatment. Make sure the insurance covers all the activities that you will be undertaking during your stay in Nepal. Annapurna Foothills Treks and Expeditions Pvt. Ltd. can organize the appropriate medical response based on your policy.