Upper Mustang Tiji Festival 2024
- Activities: Trekking
- Country: Nepal
- Group size: 2-15
- Departure City: Kathmandu
- Trip style: Festival / Culture
- Best Season: May to August
The Upper Mustang trek is the ultimate gateway to the mysterious world of the old Buddhist kingdom of Mustang, also called Lo. Once forbidden and isolated from the rest of the world for decades, the area was able to evolve within its own distinctive culture and rich traditions closely tied to Tibet. Upper Mustang is famous for the ancient trade route. It’s the only route connecting India to the south with China’s Tibetan plateau to the north. It is the ancient trade route part of the Silk Road.
Tiji Festival Trek is a fascinating annual three-day festival consisting of Tibetan rituals that celebrate the myth of a son who had to save the Mustang kingdom from destruction. The festival is indigenous to Lo-Manthang, Upper Mustang.
Over the Mustang Tenchi Festival time monks dressed in elaborate costumes and masks perform dances and rituals that are supposed to drive away evil spirits. The Tiji festival dances are all organized by the Choedhe Monastery, which belongs to the Sakya sect of Buddhism. The monastery is headed by a Rimpoche. About 65 monks from Lo Manthang, Nhenyul and Chhosyer reside in this monastery.
The Rituals and The Festival
The Tenchi festival as a whole celebrates the victory of God over Demon and Good over Evil. During the three days, dance performances by the local monks of Chode monastery take place.
On the 1st day, the monks perform a dance called ‘Tsa Chaam’. This tells the story of the birth of ‘Dorji Sonam’- a reincarnated Buddha to a demon. This demon harassed the kingdom of Mustang and brought in havoc to the country. You can witness the monks enacting the harassment of the said demon on the people of Mustang.
On the 2nd day, the monks perform ‘NgaCham’. During this performance, Dorjee Sonam tries to return the demon to the Buddha realm.
On the 3rd and final day of the festival, the ‘Rha Chham’ dance takes place. On this ceremony, Dorjee Sonam triumphs over the evil demon and banishes him from Mustang.
The monk who plays the role of Dorjee Sonam does this by throwing an effigy. This effigy made from Tsampa (barley) represents the demon ‘Ma Tam Ru Ta’.
This defeat brings peace and prosperity to the land of Mustang. Every year Tiji festival takes place in the hope of spreading peace throughout the world.
Day 1: 19th May 2024: Arrival in Kathmandu 1340m & Transfer to hotel
After arrive in Kathmandu International Airport. Visit Nepal 2022 representative welcome/hello is probably the first thing you’ll hear when arriving in the capital of Nepal with its chaotic traffic and busyness of people everywhere. We’ll be staying in Thamel in a beautiful boutique hotel, which feels like a quiet oasis in the middle of all chaos. Thamel is the area where most tourists stay and where sightseeing and shops are in the neighbourhood.
Day 2: 20th May 2024: Full day Sightseeing tour around Kathmandu Valley 1340m.
Enjoy a sightseeing tour to the UNESCO listed cultural heritage sites in Kathmandu. Visit Kathmandu Durbar Square, Swayambhunath Temple, Boudhanath Stupa and Pasupatinath Temple. Enjoy the artistic palace, art, culture, paintings and history of Nepal.
Day 3: 21st May 2024: Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara (820m) – 25min flight
Shuttle from your hotel in Kathmandu and take a flight to Pokhara. Your guide will accompany you from this day. You have choice to relax in Pokhara or have sightseeing or walk around beautiful Phewa Lake. Overnight in Pokhara.
Day 4: 22nd May 2024: Fly to Jomsom (2,713m/8898ft) and trek to Kagbeni (2,810m/9,216ft): 3-4 hours trek
Today we will take an early morning flight to Jomsom which is famous for its apples, strong winds and the landscape. We begin our trek on an open trail alongside a beautiful valley. We pass through Eaklibatti village before reaching Jomsom which is ideally located at the bank of two rivers. The village is beautiful with flat-roofed houses and also has ruins of an old fortress. Overnight in Kagbeni.
Day 5: 23rd May 2024: Trek Kagbeni to Chuksang (2880m), 5 hours
The Tiji Festival Trek today starts with a special permit check onwards to the eastern bank of the Kali Gandaki river. You will then climb over several ridges to the north through the scenic wasteland landscape. Following up and down hills to Tangbe village. The village leads through the complex trails amongst the whitewashed settlement. There are artistically made buckwheat, barley, and wheat fields as well as the apple orchards. After trekking for almost 30 minutes you will reach Chhusang village.
Day 6: 24th May 2024: Trek Chhuksang to Syangbochen (3800m), 6 hours
The trek goes along a steep barren land, alongside the copper red canyon. The copper red landscape makes Mustang unique. You will hike downhill till you reach the beautiful village Samar. You can stop for lunch here. On your way out of the village, you will pass by the 4 colored Chortens. The Mustang trek continues with uphills and downhills. You will pass the beautiful and sparsely populated villages, through another pass of Yamada La (4010m).
After a final descent, you will reach Syangbochen. Here, almost all the tea houses look similar with whitewashed walls, flat roofs and wood stacked neatly around the perimeter of the roof. You can also see the doors adorned with colorful curtains and religious symbols.
Day 7: 25th May 2024: Trek from Shyanbochen to Tsarang (3,620m/11,874ft, 7- 8 hours)
Today’s trek can push you a little. You will trek through wavy terrains across two different passes. You start your trek with an ascend over the Syangbochen Pass at 3850m. From here, you can view the spectacular landscape of Upper Mustang. You will trek downhill to Gelling. You will pass through different chortens on the way.
From here, you slowly ascent to Jaite and onwards to Nyi La Pass at 4020m. Here you can feel the strong, gusty winds of Mustang along with the fluttering of prayer flags. After this you descent to a trail junction. After a final descent, you reach Ghemi. This is a little village with a small Chorten at its entrance.
The trail descends below the blue, grey, and red cliffs across the valley to a large steel bridge across the river Tangmar Chu. Then you will climb to a plateau and pass the longest and most spectacular Mani walls in Nepal. Towards the end of the wall, the trail heads east to the village of Charang. With a maze of fields, willow trees and houses separated by stone walls at the top of the Charang Chu Canyon.
At the end of the village, there are huge Dzong ( Fortress) and red Gompas. These consists of an excellent collection of statues and Thangkas ( rolling painting).
Day 8: 26th May 2024: Trek from Tsarang to Lo Manthang (3,730m/12,235ft, 3 to 4 hours) and excursion
We begin our trek by descending to a canyon and cross a river before beginning our uphill trek to Lo La pass which at 3950m. From the top of the pass we can admire the beautiful Lo Manthang village. From the pass we descend to Lo Manthang which is a beautiful walled village. From here the views of the Himalayas including Nilgiri, Tilicho and Annapurna I, Bhrikuti Peak as well as Damodar Kunda (pond) is quite good. Overnight in Lo-Manthang.
Day 9: 27th May 2024: Attend the first day of the Tiji Festival in Lo-Manthang
The festival takes you to the Lo-Manthang Royal Palace, which was built 600 years ago. On the first day of the festival, you will learn about the history of the Tiji festival through various performances done by the monks of Chhode Monastery. At a glance, you will see the large thangka painting depicting the Buddhist relics and Guru Rimpoche hung in the white walls of the Royal Palace. You will also get an opportunity to meet the Monarch of Lo Manthang. The traditional dance performance of Tsa Chham tells one-third part of the story of Tiji. Tiji commemorates the victory of Dorjee Sonam, the reincarnation of Lord Buddha, over a demon who is believed to have bought destruction and havoc to residents. You will be amazed by the profligate hats and vibrant gowns worn by the performers. You can also interact with the locals who have gathered here from surrounding villages to witness the marvel.
Overnight stay at teahouse/guesthouse in Lo Manthang.
Day 10: 28th May 2024: Observe 2nd day of Tiji Festival with Mask Dance
We can enjoy a colorful ceremony accompanied by an unusual dance of Tibetan lamas. It is done to chase away all the hungry and evil spirits from the village. We can see many people across the region participating in this ritual of purification and renewal. After the observation, we can explore the intimate alleyways and courtyards of the city or simply rent a horse and visit some of the other villages in the area.
Day 11: 29th May 2024: Last day of Tiji Festival Trek.
Lo- Manthang is an outstanding historical and cultural center. Namgyal gompa serves as an important monastery of the local community and also a local court. You will then hike to Tingkhar, a village consisting of around 40 houses which is also the last main village to the northwest of Lo- Manthang. In the eastern valley rests the village of Chosar. This village is also rich in Gompas and is the valley that leads the main trading route to Lhasa.
Here you can visit the tall Champa Lhakhang ‘God house’ and the red Thungchen Gomba. Chyodi Gompa and the entrance hall are also some of the major attraction of this small town. To enhance the architectural beauty of the place, there is a magnificent four-storied building of the Royal Palace. Here the Mustang king offer you Tibetan tea as his hospitality.
Day 12: 30th May 2024: Trek Lo Manthang (3750m) to Yara (3580m). 5-6 hours
After breakfast, start the trek leaving the village and keeping up gently ascending until the trail reaches Day-La after an hour. This location is the last point from where Lo-Manthang can be spotted. The village of Dhi is reached after 3 hours of hike then descend for about an hour down to have a lunch break. After lunch, you will pass a small river and make a short steep climb to Yara village which take about 1 & half hour. Spot the innumerable caves at the stonewalls.
Day 13: 31st May 2024: Rest Day at Yara visit Luri Gompa.
After our breakfast we start to do our hiking up to Luri Gumpa (4060 m) from Yara (3 550 m) , the east of Yara is looking like an eagles host in the peaks of some rough rocks. The cave chorten is overlooking the riverbed of the Puyung Khola. The sanctuary of Luri, the cave of the white chorten on the Naga hill has an open courtyard from which one will enter an empty entrance room where we explore ancient paintings of Padmasabhava and Buddha Sakyamuni. Most interesting are the unique murals of the dome, showing the eight Mahasiddhas. Its believed, that the chorten of Luri, same as that one of Tashi Kabum, dates back to the 13th or 14th century, a period which is older than the reign of Amepal. As well as the Mentsi Lhakang of Chhusang and the different cave sanctuaries northeast of Lo Manthang. Also we visit Luri nunnery which is the bottom of Luri Gompa, there is its female counterpart (mother goddess!).
Day 14: 01st June 2024: Trek Yara to Tange (3320).5-6 hours.
After breakfast, get up and ready for trek, first few hours through River bank then after crossing River, the trail climbs up till the pass of 3850m then trail lead through grassless, bare hills, Tangge is small village but most of the house are attached each other, on the roof tops can see piles of fry woods, which also reflect the prosperity in their society.
Day 15: 02nd June 2024: Trek Tange (3320) to Chhuksang (3310m). 9 – 10 hours
Today will along descend to Chhuksang which takes approx. 9 hrs walk. We start off early leaving the village and crossing a suspension bridge, following a short river route. We then cross the river and steeply climb up passing small passes along the way we reach the hill top. Further, descend down until reaching the village of Chhuksang.
Day 16: 03rd June 2024: Trek Chhusang to Muktinath 3,710 m / 6-7 hours
Today we descend down to Muktinath which takes approx. 6 hrs walk. We descend down through the Tetang village. After a steep climb, we come to a view point from where we can have a panoramic view of Mt. Dhaulagiri, Annapurna and Tukuche Himalayan range. Then we descend down crossing a small stream by a suspension bridge to the village of Chhyongar. We then follow the level trail until reaching Muktinath.
Day 17: 04th June 2024: Trek Muktinath to Jomsom 2720m/5 hours.
Today we leave Muktinath and descend down to Jharkot village where we visit the ancient Sakyamuni Buddhist Monastery and Traditional Medical Center and then to Ekalbhatte and to Jomsom.
Day 18: 05th June 2024: Fly from Jomsom to Pokhara 820m and rest time at Pokhara.
Morning walk to Jomsom airport for short scenic flight to reach at picturesque Pokhara valley, during air amazing views of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna Himalayan peaks, as the plane land at scenic Pokhara.
A popular and main touristic destinations of Nepal, overlooking massive Annapurna Mountains with serene Phewa Lake where our hotels located, afternoon free for individual activities and souvenir shopping or just relax and enjoy the views.
Day 19: 06th June 2024: Fly back Pokhara to Kathmandu 1340m/ 25 minute
After breakfast, we will drive to the Pokhara Airport and fly back to Kathmandu. After checking in Hotel. You will have free time in the afternoon, and in the evening; Himalayan Trip will treat you to a farewell dinner in a traditional Nepalese restaurant whilst enjoying a cultural dance.
Day 20: 07th June 2024: Final Departure : Once is not enough
You may have time to take care of any last minute shopping or sightseeing, as time permits. We hope that you have enjoyed your journey!. Visit Nepal 2022 representative will transfer you to the airport approximately 3 hours ahead of your flight time. We bid you farewell and hope to see you in Nepal again soon!
Flight Delay in JOMSOM
Twin Otter is the primary mode of transport from the airstrip at Jomsom. This service is fairly dependable. Sometimes, flights may be cancelled due to mountain weather conditions or other technical problems. In such case, Visit Nepal 2022 will organize the alternative available road transportation to ensure you are on schedule for your international flight.
The expense of the road transport will be managed from the reimbursement received from the flight ticket after the deduction of cancelation charge. So please note that there will be no refund of the flight from Jomsom to Pokhara, if the alternative road transportation is consolidated.
- Airport Pick-up and Drop Off,
- Licensed and trained trekking guides,
- potters for carrying goods and supplies,
- Meal on full board (breakfast, lunch, dinner) basis during the trek
- 3 Nights Accommodation in the 3 Star Hotel in Kathmandu with B & B. (Bed & Breakfast) on Twin Sharing Basis.
- All accommodation during the trek on sharing Basis.
- All meals and hot beverages during the trek.
- Transportation to and from trail head by Private and Sharing Transport from Kathmandu to Ramechap to Kathmandu to Ramechap)
- All necessary documents and permits for trekking (where applicable)
- National Park/Conservation Area entry Permit, Insurance, and
equipment for the staffs.
- Coordination of quick Rescue service (Costs covered by your Insurance Plan)
- Trekking staffs wages etc.
- Welcome dinner in a Nepali Cultural Dance restaurant in Kathmandu.
- Trekking Map, T-shirt, and Trekking certificate.
- Exclusive of Medical Kit Bag
- All Government and local Taxes
- International Flight ticket re-confirmation.
- Meals will be Start when your Trek starts.
- Domestic Flights from Kathmandu to Lukla to Kathmandu
- Domestic Flights for Trekking Guide.
- Trekking Staff Insurance of $10,000 Per Person.
Does not Included in Price:
- International Airfares,
- Travel/Trekking Insurance,
- Excess baggage charges More than 16kg and hand bag more than 5 kg in domestic flights.
- Visa fees.
- Airport Departure Taxes.
- Drinks (Cold and Alcoholic) Rescue charge.
- Tips for The staffs.
- Expenses of Personnel nature and Permit and Liaison officer fee (where Applicable.
- Meals during stay in the Kathmandu
- Extra Domestic Ticket of Jomsom, Pokhara etc.
- Extra Hotel in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
Tiji Festival Permit:
Normally Upper Mustang Trekking Permits costs US $ 500 per person for 10 days. But during the Tiji festival we need to take 2 more extra days. 2 extra days will charge extra US $ 50 per day. In order to obtain the permit you need to have at least two members in a group. That means single permit won’t be allowed from the immigration. If you are single traveler, let us know, we can provide permits by joining you with other travelers group. We need your original passport copy to obtain the restricted area permits.
Tiji Festival 2024 Date:
For the Tiji Festival 2024 will be celebrate 27th, 28th & 29th May 2024. Apart from strolling along the stunning and exceptional surroundings of Upper Mustang with the magnificent views of the snow-topped peaks, you can partake on this vibrant and lively festival which will be a lifetime experience.
Tiji Festival Trek Highlights
- You will be a live participant in the whole proceeding of the festival.
- You get to dance and sing the traditional music which has a great influence on Tibetan Buddhism.
- You will traverse through many ridges, walk through boulders and cross different boulders to reach Upper Mustang.
- You will get to explore the historical palaces, its courtyard, and the alleys of Upper Mustang during the festival.
- You can walk in the dry, arid surrounding on the trans-Himalayan Tibetan border.