Mustang Tiji Festival Trek is a beautiful journey into the most enchanted land of Nepal. The ancient kingdom of Upper Mustang is truly a magical Himalayan desert hidden behind the soaring peaks of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. Tiji Festival Trek is an unforgettable excursion witnessing the annuals most significant festival celebration to the people of Lo. This three days Tiji Celebration is basically organized at the courtyard of the Royal Palace of Mustang, in the heart of Lo-Manthang, the capital of Upper Mustang.
What is the true rationale behind the celebration of the Tiji Festival? actually has various interpretation -
- It is to celebrate the victory of good over evil.
- Prayer for the beginning of the new year with abundance and to adieu the previous year.
- Celebration to bring harmony and new hope and to drive off all the negative energies.
- A ritual for the wellbeing of the people and to dispel all the evil spirits and harmful components of Mustang.
However, whatever the interpretation of this three-days Tiji carnival may speak of, but the very lively celebration with all the colors and monk-mask dance is so fascinating that it's worth perceiving.
Kingdom of Upper Mustang and Special Permits:
The Ancient Kingdom of Upper Mustang was opened to the outside world as a trekking destination only in 1992. Still, the number of trekkers are limited and subject to its strict rules and regulation. Upper Mustang is a restricted area and a special permit is required. Minimum 10 days’ permit is issued at the cost of USD $500 per trekker and can be extended further with an additional cost of $50 per day per trekker. Trekkers are to enter and exit as per the data entered in the permits. In case of delays both, while entering or exiting, trekkers are to revise the dates through the Mustang district office – which sometimes may involve a penalty.
The Forbidden Kingdom of Mustang is a vast, barren, arid, Tibet-like valley that gives you much history of Tibetan Buddhism and legends of Guru Padmasambhava also very popularly known as 'Guru Rinpoche'. Padmasambhava, the Second Buddha who founded Tibetan Buddhism is highly revered in Upper Mustang. The legend speaks that the consolidation of Mustang dates back to 14th Century when Ame Pal, the warrior founded this Buddhist kingdom and build the Walled City of Lo at Lo-Manthang. This once independent kingdom joined Nepal during the 17th century retaining its sovereignty and its monarchy. Though the monarchy system in Nepal ended in 2008, yet the people of Mustang, the Lo, sustained their kingship and still continue its legacy.Trekking to Upper Mustangis certainly a life-changing experience.
Upper Mustang landscape and its people:
Imagine yourself being at the bed of dried out ocean – upper Mustang is parallel to that. It has been proved that Upper mustang was underwater for thousands of years and in course of time with the folding of the mountain the water shifted further to the south. No wonder why you get ample ammonites, the prehistoric stone found on the river or ocean beds, in the hills of Mustang. Very truly Mustang is the source to Kali-Gandaki River, the river that dates back to 80 million years and that crafts the world’s deepest Gorge. Being the rain shadow area Mustang receives very little rain but lots of snow in the winter. However, you would be very amazed to find the village with lush green and vegetation that appears like a mirage in the middle of the desert. The dust and the howling strong wind is very common when you are trekking in this region. The ancient monasteries some dates back to the 8th century, landscapes like Grand-Canyon, High cliff-hanging pre-historic caves, and the unique architecture are some highlights of the region.
The people of Lo are of Tibetan origin people who speak their own language. You can observe Tibetan Buddhism influence all around as you trek into the region. The people are peace-loving, very religious, very cultured, and fun-loving. They are essentially traders very hard working and always wore a beautiful simile on their face – and significantly very reliable.
Mustang Tiji Festival Trek:
The three-day Tiji Festival is very significant to the people of Lo. During this time thousands of locals from around come to participate and celebrate the festival. Sometimes owing to the Tiji Festival, trekkers have to strive to book or find accommodation due to the surging of people both locals and international. This Mustang May Festival is an exceptional carnival where the monks in their special colorful attire perform a sacred-ritual mask dance. The very enchanting is the music which is very soothing that energizes you spiritually. Every day after the completion of monk dance the stage is overtaken by the youth club who again organizes various concerts that may include acting, jokes, singing, and dancing in modern English/Hindi/Nepali songs.
Mustang Tiji Festival trek starts with flying to the enchanting airport of Jomsom through the world’s deepest gorge of Kali-Gandaki with an impressive mountain view of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, and Nilgiri. We provide you with day to day detail itinerary for your reference. We trek to the ancient village of Kagbeni, the gateway to Upper Mustang. Soon we enter the forbidden – restricted area of Upper Mustang. We cruise into the valley walking the undulating trail and walking the COROLLA HIGHWAY enjoying the medieval setting and historic settlements and monasteries. Gradually we get to Tsarang, the land of Chortens (stupa or religious monuments), and finally to Lo-Manthang, the capital, and the Walled City. Besides witnessing the festival we also visit the prehistoric cave of Chhosar and the Ghar-Gompa, the 7th-century monastery.
Tiji Festival 2021:
The Tiji Festival 2021 is scheduled for the 9th of May to the 11th of May 2021.