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Tiji Festival in Mustang Nepal- Book your Trek for Tiji 2022

Upper mustang trek

Tiji Festival in Mustang

Tiji festival in Mustang is the most exciting and new festival which is mostly celebrated in the upper mustang. Samdup Rabten mustang started this festival during the 17th century. He invited the king of other districts to come to Lo Manthang. After that, many kings gather in lo Manthang to perform a special ritual in the Chhode monastery.

People offer prayers and do rituals for the well-being of all living beings and people from the negative energy.  Since then, peoples and monks do these rituals in the Chhode monastery. They perform his festival for three days including the religious dance. During the 17th century, people celebrate Tiji on the twelfth month of the Tibetan calendar whereas nowadays Tiji falls on the third month of the Tibetan month.

The interesting part of the Tiji festival in Mustang is the Tsowo dance, which starts three months before the main Tiji festival. Earlier on this festival, the member of the mustang royal family and all the villagers of the users to participate in the dance and enjoy. Another important part of the Tiji festival is the traditional meditation practice.  Mediation on the Tiji festival is practice in two different ways: – the first one is the peaceful dance by the subjugation of negative energy, and the second one is the actual mediation on the middle of the mountain ranges.

 

History of Tiji festival in Mustang Nepal

When it comes to the significance Tiji festival, there are different stories. People started celebrating the Tiji festival since Dorje Shonu killed the deity and saved the lives of people. Since then Tiji used to be very popular in Nepal and some parts of India. Padmasambhava who was a Buddhist monk started this tradition in Tibet during the 8th century. After that time, people started celebrating Tiji in the Tibetan way. Padmasambhava taught the dance moves to the monks of Chhode and Rinpoche monastery.  Monks are dressed as a different form of incarnation of Lord Buddha to perform this dance. However, the Tiji festival became more famous in the 17th century due to the trekking season.

Every year thousands of people visit the Chhode monastery to pray for the well-being of their family and friends. People from all over mustang come to offer their prayers in Chhode monastery.

The ritual dance of the Tiji is the three stages; the first stage is the dance of 15 steps. The second stage of the dance showing the generation of deities of the two steps, and the last stage is the dance to clear the eternal negative views and to provide the auspiciousness of the festival.  The dancer performs the different positions and gestures to show the process of the mediation. Each small and big dance steps during the Tiji festival in Mustang have their meaning. People believe that dance steps during the Tiji dance clear the obstacles from the life of the people. Mustang area is a remote area, on the side of Tibet.  The wide Himalayan range and the snowy trail add beauty while celebrating the Tiji festival.

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How to get there?

People of the mustang region celebrate the Tiji festival, which is also the top destination of the people. For getting to mustang valley, you will have to arrive at the Tribhuwan international airport in Kathmandu, where our team will pick you up and escort you to the hotel. Next day you will be flying to Pokhara with the extraordinary views of the high mountain and the cultural places. After getting to Pokhara, you will have a short break after that, you will be flying to Jomsom. Jomsom is also popularly is the gateway of Mustang.

Flight to Jomsom or drive

Alternative flight to Jomsom is the 10 hours road drive via Kali Gandaki. On the way, you will also have an aerial view of Kali Gandaki.  After landing at Jomsom, you will be starting your actual trek. The route to mustang goes through the barren landscape. On the way, you will also see the ancient wall town, which is the upper mustang. It takes 3 days from the Jomsom to reach the upper mustang. From here, you will have to cross many villages including Kagbeni, Chele, Zhalte, Syangboche, Dhakmar, Lo Gear, and Charang to reach Lo Manthang.

Both local people and the tourist are very fond of the Tiji festival. Most tourists find the dance very fascinating. Therefore, during the stay, you will have enough tie to explore nature as well as the culture. Festive hike to la Manthang is a very enjoyable trek and gaining the attention of lots of people. Mustang is an extremely beautiful place that is situated in the northern corner of the great Annapurna range.  On this festive trek to lo Manthang, you will get a clear view of the mesmerizing view of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri.  Muktinath is widely famous for the numerous Buddhist monasteries and the historic Muktinath temple. Muktinath temple is the highest altitude temple in the world.

Trekking to  Tiji Festival Mustang in Nepal

Tiji festival is the main festival of the people in mustang.  Monks on the monastery dance with a lot of power and eagerness. The dance moves represent the forms of the incarnation of Lord Buddha for establishing peace in the world. Tiji festival shows the victory of god over the demon. People celebrate Tiji in mustang since 17th century and gain a lot of popularity among the tourist. People from all around the world come to enjoy this festival and observe the Tibetan culture.

During the three days of the Tiji festival, the head of the monastery chooses the dancers among the monks of Chhode monastery considering various factors. Monks decorate the monastery with colorful thanka picture and the route to the monastery are full of Buddhists flag. On the day of the Tiji festival entire mustang, chant songs, and prayer at once.

On the first day of Tiji, villages on lo Manthang are crowded with the people from the nearby villages at the tourist. Earlier it was difficult to walk the barren landscape but nowadays-small jeeps can go to Chhode monastery. Tiji is the most awaited festival for the people of lo Manthang, they clean their house and prepare various food items.  For trekking who wants to trek mustang, the middle of May is perfect for you. During the Tiji festive trek to lo Manthang, you can observe the variation in topography and beauty of mustang. You will have to book your trek early as May is the peak season for trekking to mustang.

 

Altitude Sickness during Tiji Festival Trek

People perform the rituals in the Buddhist monastery of the upper mustang region. Therefore, it is quite common to have altitude sickness. Altitude sickness is a medical condition where your body does not get enough oxygen.  This problem mostly happens while trekking in the higher altitude area. Altitude sickness is not that scary and the risk can be prevented by taking some precautions. You should do Tiji festive trek with proper acclimation and having healthy food.

While trekking to the upper mustang for the Tiji festival you should take necessary precautions. You have to avoid hard drinks and slower the pace of trek on the high altitude place. People of all ages with good physical ability can do Tiji festive trek. Your highest point on this trek is 4,200 meters. If you have a positive attitude you can do this trek easily.

Tiji is Most interesting festival in the Himalayas

This festival is an interesting festival in the mustang region. Tiji festival lasts for about 3 days. These three days are full of dance culture and exploring the culture. The rituals of the Tiji festival are ancient Tibetan culture. People remember the saviour of the mustang kingdom from the great destruction.  The name Tiji comes from the Tibetan word “tempa Chirim” meaning “devote or prayer for the world peace”.  All the people and the monks pray to god for the wellbeing of their families and loved ones.

However, some people also believed that the significance of the Tiji festival is the victory of “Dorje Sonnu” which is the incarnation of Lord Buddha over the Demon. That demon was a huge creature, which feeds on human beings and causing destruction in people’s life. Tiji festival takes place in the middle of May and lasts for three days. The monks of Chhode monastery perform different rites and rituals.

Dance is the main part of celebrating the Tiji festival, so Buddhist monks perform different forms of dance during the Tiji festival. “Tsa Chham” and “Nga Chham” are the traditional dance performed by the monks during the Tiji festival. People perform the rituals of Tiji only on Chhode monastery, however, Rinpoche monastery being the head and old monastery supervise Chhode much smaller monastery. At least sixty-five monks are required to perform the dance and the rituals.

The Rituals and the Festival

Almost all the festivals in Nepal have certain historic and cultural significance. Rituals make the festival enjoyable and meaningful. Tiji festival in the form of celebrating the victory of good over evil and spreading positive thoughts among people. Since Tiji lasts for three days so, here are the rituals of Tiji festivals.

  • Day 1

Day one is the opening day of the Tiji festival, people gather to celebrate and enjoy Tiji at Chhode monastery.  Monks perform the traditional dance “Tsa Chaam”.  This dance shows in the story of Dorji Son am. Monks dress as the different incarnations of Lord Buddha. The monks while performing the dance chase away the demons.

  • Day 2

Day 2 is widely known as the dance of Nga Chaam. People make different types of food and distribute it to monks. People also hold a feast in their house and enjoy the second day of Tiji.

  • Day 3

Day 3 is the final day of the Tiji festival. On this day monks perform the most sacred dance “Rha Chham” Damp Hu and Dhayngrya are the musical instrument played for this dance.  People believe “Rha Chham” is the practice to banish the deities and evil energy. One of the monks dress up as Dorje Sonam and is the leader of this dance. Lastly, in the evening, endings rituals are practice and people provide Prasad to the people and offer prayer to the god.

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Tiji Festival Trek Highlights

  • You will get to learn new culture and be participate in the rituals of the Tiji festival.
  • Observing and knowing the importance of traditional dance and music on the people there.
  • The trail from Jomsom to the upper mustang is very adventurous as there are various boulders on the way.
  • Exploring around mustang valley and going to temples and monasteries during the festival is super relieving.
  • Tiji festival is the most important and sacred festival in the Mustang region, a different somewhat spiritual and beliefs can be observed during this festival.
  • Tibet has a great influence on the rituals of the Tiji festival as; mustang is often referred to as mini Tibet.
  • The surrounding of Chhode monastery is full of magnificent views of the great barren landscape and cultural sites.
  • The feeling of enjoying the Tiji festival in the middle of the mountains ranges is exhilarating.
  • Mustang is mostly famous for the apple and apple wine, Marpha.
  • Muktinath temple is the highest altitude temple in the world, in addition to this, it is the holiest place for the pilgrimage.
  • Going through the deepest gorge in the world Kali Gandaki and getting an aerial view of the great city Pokhara.

Tiji Festival Permit:

Normally for upper mustang trek, with maximum 10 days itinerary cost US$500 per person. However, during the Tiji festival since you will be spending only three days, it will cost US$150. US$50 increase per day if you want to extend your trek on the upper mustang. Upper mustang is the only place where single trekkers are not allowed to, you must have at least two people in your group for getting the permit. You will need a password copy (if foreign), a citizenship copy (for Nepalese), and a couple of photos.  You can make this permit either in the tourism board Kathmandu or Pokhara.

Tiji Festival 2022 Date:

This year in 2022, the Tiji festival will be celebrated from 16th May to 18th May 2022. These three days you will be exploring the mountains, culture, snow, and lifestyle of local people. If you are lucky, enough then you can observe the snowfall in the mountains.

 

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