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Tiji Festival Upper Mustang

Nepal has all kinds of topography and climatic conditions. From tropical forest in the south to high polar like cold in the mountains. One of the most unique topography in Nepal is the rain shadow areas behind the Himalayas.  The two districts of Manang and Mustang are behind the mountains and are like cold deserts with Tibet like features. In one of this District the Demon chasing festival called Tiji is celebrated. This festival is celebrated to mark the victory of a young man who fights his demon father, who is creating trouble in Mustang by creating water shortage. This area of Upper mustang was is still a controlled area and till 1992 it was restricted for foreigners to go in. After 1992 this area is getting popular among tourist but still not very touristic

The Festival of Tiji takes place in Lo-Manthang the, forbidden kingdom and only walled city with inhabitants. This hidden Kingdom was created in the 14th century by Ame Pal. The walls surrounding this tiny kingdom are about 780 meter long and 9 meter high. There are towers in the walls which are used to see and respond to attacks of bandits and enemies. There is a huge gate on the eastern side of the kingdom which serves as the only entrance. As a respect to the city the people dismount from their horses while entering the gate but it was exempted for the king.The city is divided into 4 sub units “Ghun-thang”, “Domaling”, “Potaling” and “Jhythang” and the names are derived from the names of the deities protecting each units or wards. The wards take turn to perform rituals and worshipping.

The Tiji festival takes place in Lo-Manthang, a kingdom within the Kingdom of Nepal in the past in Nepal. The word Tiji is a corrupt form of the word Tenji which means praying for world peace. Tenji marks the victory of Dorje Sonam against an evil man called Matamaruta, who was a Cannibal and used to cause drought causing loss of crops. In the dances during this festival the monks of the Chyode Gompa perform showing the tortures of Ma Tam Ru Ta, the birth of the hero Dorje Sonam and how he help the people of Mustang get rid of the demon who is his own father. A dance called Tsa Chham is performed on day one followed by Nga Chham on day 2 On day 3, which is the most important day of the festival in Rha chham is celebrated in which  the monk acting as  Dorje Sonam throws the effigy and Tsamppa representation of Ma Tam Ru Ta. The Mustangis believe that after this ritual or act the villages get rid of the evil spirits. This festival is celebrated based on the Tibetan calendar and falls in 27th -29th of the 3rd month of the Tibetan Calendar. This annual festival of 3 days is organized by the Chyode Gompa belonging to the Shakyapa Lineage. People from all over Lho Tshu Dhyun, the local name of the ancient kingdom of Lo come to witness this festival and also contribute for the success of this festival.

Tiji Festival in Upper Mustang

Itinerary in Detail

Day 1 – May 07 2015: Arrival in Kathmandu
A representative of Adventure Mission Nepal will pick you up at the airport and will transfer you to the hotel. In the evening the trekking guide will see you in the hotel Lobby and brief you about the trek and the Festival of Tiji in Upper mustang.

Day 2 –May 08 2015: Guided tour of the Kathmandu Valley.
Today you will visit the 4 UNESCO world heritage sites of the Kathmandu valley including Kathmandu Durbar Square, Swayambhunath Stupa (Monkey Temple) , Pasupatinath and Boudhanath Stupa.

Day 3 – May 09 2015: Drive to Pokhara.
After breakfast we drive to Pokhara, a scenic city in the west of Nepal and the 2nd most visited place after Kathmandu by tourist. The drive is about 7 hours including a lunch break and few stops. We drive around 200 km before reaching Pokhara. In the evening stroll around the lake side, one of the most happening places in Nepal.

Day 4 – May 10 2015: Fly to Jomsom (2750m) and trek to Kagbeni (2820m).
We take a scenic flight from in-between Annapurna and Dhaulagiri, two of the world’s highest mountains to reach Jomsom. It is a 20 minutes flight on a Dornier or Twin otter providing you a life time memory. After landing in Jomsom we head towards Kagbeni our destination for today. On the way we stop at a place called Eklebhatti for lunch. This walk of today goes along the bank of the Kali Gandaki River and there are chances of finding the scared stones called Saligram, worshipped as incarnation of lord Vishnu by Hindus.

Day 5 – May 11 2015: Trek to Tsele (3100m).
Today after breakfast we set foot on the controlled area/restricted area of Upper mustang. After breakfast we head towards Tangbe which takes about 3 hours in a descent pace. After lunch in this medieval village we continue walking to Chhusang village. After walking a while against the flow of the Kaligandaki River we reach the place with 16 caves. These caves are believed to be more than 1000 years old and were part of a rich civilization.  You can explore some of the caves if you have enough time. From here it takes another 1 hour to reach the tea house we are staying.

Day 6 –May 12 2015: Trek to Ghiling (3570m).
Our day starts with a climb to a plateau from where you can see big canyons. After walking for about 3 hours we reach Samar where we will make a stop for lunch. After lunch and brief rest we climb up to Chungsi-La. Further continuing for an hour we reach Ranchung Cave which has structures of natural rock that resemble chhortens and stupas. The first Dalai Lama, Padmasamvav has meditated in this cave around the 8th century, according to the legends of Tibetan Buddhism. After walking ahead from this cave we see little bit of grassland of pasture which is called Syangmochen. We climb a pass from here and from the cliff we can see the large valley of Ghiling. Although the called looks very near it takes us little more than a to reach our camp. Today by the end of the day you have walked almost 6 hours.

Day 7 –May 13 2015: Trek to Drakmar (3440m).
In the morning after breakfast, we have a long accent till the Nyi pass. After crossing the pass we enter the central part of Mustang or the region of Lo. From the top you can see the Ghami village where we will have our lunch here. After a nice warm lunch and much deserved rest after the pass we walk past the longest Mani Wall in Mustang. From there onwards we will walk almost one more hour along the shore of the stream to reach the overnight destination of Drakmar.

Day 8 –May 14 2015: Trek to Lo-Manthang (3840m)
After a nice morning breakfast we start walking towards the forbidden kingdom of Upper mustang through desert like terrain with alpine meadows. We will reach Ghar Gompa meaning house monastery, in little more than an hour.  This monastery belongs to the Nyingmapa sect and is one of the oldest and most important in the lo-Manthang area. Before climbing on to the Marang-La Pass we will have our lunch and continue to the walled city. The city of Lomanthang can be seen from distance. At the end of the day you will have walked around 7 hours. Overnight at Lomanthang.

Day 9 –May 15 2015: Full day participation and observation of festival.
Day 10 –May 16 2016: Full day participation and observation of festival.
Day 11 –May 17 2015: Full day participation and observation of festival.

Day 12 –May 18 2015: Trek to Tsarang (3560m).
After a warm breakfast we will leave the city of Lomanthang with lots of memories of the festival. We will climb the Lo-La Pass which offers the last view of Lo-Manthang. We walk almost 3 hours before lunch. We will continue to the huge five-storey white Tsarang Palace (fortified palace) and the 14th century Gompa are perched on the edge of Kaligandaki Gorge at the eastern end of the village. The walk after lunch is around an hour or little more.

Day 13 –May 19 2015: Trek to Syangmochen 3500m.
We walk past the villages of Ghami then climb Ghami-La and a long walk ahead brings us back in Nyi-La pass. After crossing the pass we reach Tamagaon and walk downhill between the rocky canyons to reach Syangmochen.  The walk today is around 5 hours long with a lunch break in between.

Day 14 –May 20 2015: Trek to Chhusang (2980m)
We walk for about 6 hours today. We will start the walk after breakfast and climb up the Yamdo-La. From Yamdo la we descent down to Bhena. We will walk until Samar and stop for lunch. We continue walking to Tsaile. Descending again for almost an hour along the Kaligandaki River takes us to the village of Chhusang.

Day 15 –May 21 2015: Trek to Jomsom (2720m)
The first settlement we will walk past today is Tangbe. From Tangbe we will head towards Kagbeni where we will stop form lunch. You can take some time to explore Kagbeni as it has some old monuments and the walled city is also interesting interms of lifestyle. Another 3 hours of walk from Kagbeni leads us to Jomsom.

Day 16 –May 22 2015: Morning flight to Pokhara.
We take a early morning flight to Pokhara. In the afternoon relax and celebrate the success of your Tiji Festival trip to Lomanthang.

Day 17 –May 23 2015: Drive back to Kathmandu.
Day 18 –May 24 2015: Final Departure

Service Include:

  • All Arrival/Departure transfer as per itinerary
  • Twin sharing accommodation in Kathmandu/Pokhara based on BB
  • Guided heritage sightseeing with all entrance fees and guide fees with private A/C transportation
  • Tourist Bus to/from Pokhara (Optional Flight available)
  • Pokhara-Jomsom-Pokhara round trip Airfare for Clients and necessary supporting members
  • All local house (Indigenous), tented accommodation during trek
  • All meals during trek
  • Trekking equipments like: sleeping bags, down jackets stick duffle bags
  • All necessary documentation, Permits and TIMS
  • Well trained license holder trek leader
  • Necessary Porters for carrying luggage (sharing 1 porter between 2 clients)
  • All accommodation, wages, salary, insurance, transportation and equipments for supporting crew
  • Travel & Rescue arrangements for incase
  • Annapurna conservation and Upper Mustang special Permits
  • All necessary GOVT taxes
  • Welcome/Farewell dinner

Service excludes:

  • International Airfare and departure taxes
  • Nepal Visa fees (US$ 40 for 30 days)
  • Airport Departure taxes/Excess baggage charges.
  • All meals in city
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal clothing (available on hire in Kathmandu)
  • Personal nature expenses such as beverage, tipping (Guide/Porters/Driver), shopping etc
  • Expenses incurred due to mishaps, landslide, strikes, political unrest etc. In such case extra will be charged as per actual
  • Any others which is not mentioned in include
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