Everest Mani Rimdu Festival Trek Overview
Along with Tibetan New Year (Lhosar), Mani Rimdu Festival is one of the annual festival celebrated with much passion and gaiety in the Everest Region. This festive package lets you explore the Everest region and also participate in Mani Rimdu which holds great cultural, historical, spiritual, and religious significance: all-inclusive in one package with trek to Gokyo Lake & Kalapathar.
The festival is celebrated at the monasteries of Tengboche, Thami, and Chiwang. Mani Rimdu is a recreation of legendary events; the establishment of Buddhism in Tibet by the great saint, Guru Rimpoche. The monks dramatize the festivity by performing in elaborate masks and costumes. The overall festival is very colorful and vibrant.
The first day is called the Ong. The Ong consists mostly of prayers conducted by the lamas in the monastery courtyard. The second day called the Cham involves the beautiful and colorful dancing of the lamas. The lamas wear brocade gowns and wonderfully painted paper 'Mache' masquerades in the festival. Hundreds of Sherpas from all over the Khumbu region come to attend the performance and to watch this important social occasion.
The festival is not only entertaining but also important as the lamas dramatize two sequences along with the serious and intricate dances, which make the entire enactment a great fun event.
On the final evening, the program continues for the whole night as the villagers join in an all-night Sherpa dance fiesta.
However, the festival differs from one place to another. In Tengboche, Mani Rimdu takes place in the month of November-December during a full moon, while in Thame, a spring celebration is held on the day of the full moon, closest to the middle of May each year.
The festival in Thame tends to be a little more lively and energetic than the autumn festival at Tengboche because the Rimpoche (reincarnate lama) at Thame is more liberal than that of Tengboche Lama.
Similarly, at Chiwang gompa in Solu, Mani Rimdu is usually held in autumn on the same day as that of Tengboche. The Chiwang gompa celebration is said to be more authentic because it is watched over by the head of the Lama of Thubten Chooling, who is the re-incarnate lama of Rongbuk, from where Mani Rimdu is said to have its origin.
Amidst the beauty of the clear mountain air, the discordance of the sound is pleasantly deafening. No conversation is audible and the only thing that comes to attention is the temple entrance, from where a procession of solemn-faced monks seems to emerge.
Dressed in their traditional orange silk robes, with the yellow crescent-shaped hats placed precariously on their heads, they carry an assortment of instruments including bugles made from human bones, giant conch shells and long brass horns.
Trek Highlights of Everest Mani Rimdu Festival
- The biggest annual festival of Sherpa people -Mani Rimdu Festival.
- Spectacular view of Everest, Lhotse, Khangtiaga, Ama Dablam and the other great peaks.
- Tibetan New Year (Lhosar).
- The homeland of Sherpa People and typical Sherpa hospitality.
- Experience Bon Po Religion.
- World's highest Monastery at Tengboche.
As we carry with us the colorful marks of the occasion, we next land on the tiny airstrip at Lukla, situated at an altitude of 9,400 feet. We load our backpacks and gear onto the yaks and begin our journey through the Sherpa villages, the forests and the glacial lakes, which take us to the highest point situated at an altitude of 18000 feet.
On reaching Gokyo Ri, our view seems to be exhilarating. The overwhelming landscape of Cho Oyu, Lhotse Shar, Nuptse, Makalu and Everest, the five peaks that rise above 25,000 feet makes it all the more exciting.
During our trek, we cross a 17,778 feet high pass, visit the market and local monasteries, discover Tibetan Buddhist culture and interact with the Sherpa people, who are as enticing to meet as the lofty Himalayan mountains.
All in all, this journey will be very exciting and pleasant if you are up for an adventure, love the outdoors, and ready to sweat it out. With a positive and flexible attitude, you will enjoy the challenge of this trip and bring back with you loads of fond memories, great associations as well as oodles of great pictures.
This trip is, in fact, a chance of a lifetime, grab it and make memories happen!