Table of Content:
- Introduction about Tiji festival in Upper Mustang region
- Information about the Tiji festival.
- Some of the trip highlights.
- Detail 19 days Tiji festival Trek itinerary in Upper Mustang.
- Necessary Trekking Gears.
- Scenic flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara and then Jomsom
- Tibetan Buddhist villages indicating unique lifestyle, culture and tradition
- High Himalayan passes above 3,800 meters
- The walled city Lo Manthang exploration
- Observe the most vibrant festival of the Mustangese people
- Visiting the ancient monasteries of the ethnic villages
Tiji Festival Upper Mustang trek is a must-do journey once in a lifetime that takes you to the Northern Himalayas. The Last Forbidden Kingdom of Lo Manthang is a popular restricted area trekking in Nepal in which you can observe many festivals. If you plan Upper Mustang hiking in the third week of May, you can be a part of Tiji festival. It is the most colourful festival celebrated by the people living in this wonderland of the trans-Himalayan region. This trek also rewards you with the Tibetan Buddhist culture and tradition that has a high amount of influence over there.
Tiji Festival is the greatest festival celebrated in Upper Mustang to mark the victory of virtue over vice. If you want to be a part of this fabulous Buddhist celebration, plan your Upper Mustang region trek during the appropriate time. Tiji Festival trek in Upper Mustang shows you the typical cultural rites and rituals of the Hidden Kingdom Lo Manthang. This festival is celebrated to commemorate the legendary figure, Dorje Jono who used to be incarnation of Lord Buddha. According to the myth, the Buddha incarnation got victory over the demonic activities planned to destroy the kingdom through natural catastrophes.
There are many myths related to the celebration of Tiji Festival. The most agreed anecdote opines that Dorje Jono fought against his demon father who designed to destroy the kingdom by creating drought and water shortage in this arid land of Lo Manthang region. Tiji Festival is celebrated at the premises of Choede Monastery in the ancient capital of Lo Manthang. Also known as The Chasing of the Demons Festival, Tiji has been celebrated since 500 years back to mark the peaceful co-existence of people of Upper Mustang and the prayer for the World Peace.
The monks of the monastery organize this festival for three days when they perform mask dances in front of the head Lama. The local people of Mustang region also take active part in the celebration of the festival, which shows that they are dedicated to keep their ancient festival intact so that they can hand over to the coming generations. However, this year Tiji Festival is scheduled to celebrate on the 19th, 20th and 21st of the month of May. If you want to participate in this joyful moment being a part of it, you should plan Upper Mustang trek in the third week of May.
Apart from the most vibrant festival, you can enjoy the amazing view of the Himalayas of the Annapurna Massif and Dhaulagiri Massif. The walled city Lo Manthang, Thungchen Gompa built in the 15th century and Choede Monastery is the significant milestones of the ancient art and architect of the hidden kingdom of the trans-Himalayan region. The monasteries, chortens and mani walls embroidered with the colourful prayer flags decently justify the glorious existence of Tibetan Buddhist culture and tradition in this region.
Mustang Muktinath trek takes you to Muktinath Temple (3,710m) that is equally respected by the Hindu and Buddhist followers. The core attractions of this pilgrimage site are the 108 waterspouts continuously cycling water and the natural flame that never burns out. The other temples and idols of Hindu deities and Buddha incarnations are equally sites of the Maktinath area. More importantly, trekking to Upper Mustang region rewards you with the glorious natural beauty of the Nepalese Himalayas bordering with Tibetan Plateau. As this region lies in the rain shadow area of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna Himalayan ranges, Nepal Mustang hiking is best to do in the rainy season as it receives low or no rainfall at all.
This restricted area trekking of Nepal introduces you with a group of about 10,000 man-made caves known as the Sky Caves. The Sky Caves that stand on the backdrop of the Kali Gandaki River are which often compared with the ‘Pyramids of Egypt’, stand on the backdrop of the Kali Gandaki River. The art and architecture, inscriptions and manuscripts preserved in these caves proved that they are nearly 2,000-3,000 years old. It is believed that these caves were made to mummify the dead bodies as per the religious and cultural rituals of the contemporary time. The thorough study of these caves can give a new testament to the human history.
As Mustang Tiji Festival trek is a remote trek of Nepal, there are a few challenging factors possible to come during the journey. The obvious challenges that arise during the trip are hiking hours, climate, altitude sickness, and remoteness of this region. You have to walk up to 9 hours a day to cover a large distance in changing altitude. Change in altitude may result into Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) that you may not be able to complete the Upper Mustang dream. As this is one of the remote area treks, you may not find the luxurious facilities of accommodation and food items. You must be flexible for all these challenges and cooperate with the trekking guide to accomplish this moderate to strenuous trekking.
One of the pioneer travel and trekking agencies located at the tourist center, A1 Excursion Adventure has designed Upper Mustang trek itinerary for 16 days. To experience the wonderful landscapes, Himalayan views, flora, fauna, culture and tradition of Upper Mustang, you take a flight to Mustang via Pokhara. You formally begin this trek from Jomsom, the administrative headquarters of Mustang, which is one of the ‘districts across the Himalayas’. You have to go across four Himalayan passes all above 3,800 meters including the highest pass, Marang La Pass (also known as Chogo La Pass: 4,230m).
Tiji Festival- Upper Mustang Trek 19 Days Itinerary:
Day 01: Reception in Kathmandu (1,350m)
On your arrival day, the representative of our trekking agency receives you at the Tribhuvan International Airport. Then, s/he transfers you to the hotel booked for your accommodation. After taking a short rest at the hotel, you can visit the Monkey Temple for the astonishing view of the entire Kathmandu Valley while visiting the top Buddhist Shrine of Nepal. In the evening, our agency organizes a welcome dinner at a cultural restaurant.
Day 02: Self Explore Kathmandu and Trek Preparation
Today is the rest day, so you can take a sightseeing tour around Kathmandu Valley. There are seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu. You can visit Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, Boudhanath Stupa, Pashupatinath Temple, Bhaktapur Durbar Square and Changunaryan Temple. In the evening, the trekking guide gives you all details about Tiji Festival Upper Mustang trek itinerary.
Day 03: Flight to Pokhara (910m) – 35 Minutes
After breakfast, you head towards the Kathmandu Airport to fly to the lake city Pokhara. During the flight, you enjoy the scenic beauty of the snowcapped peaks of Manaslu, Ganesh Himal and Annapurna range. The aerial view of the amazing trade centers and diverse landscapes further makes your 35-minutes’ journey more memorable. Alternatively, you can reach Pokhara by using a private jeep right from the hotel you are staying. You travel along the Prithivi Highway, the oldest highway of Nepal by enjoying the Himalayan views, diverse landscapes, and distant human settlement areas. After reaching in Pokhara, you visit the major natural and cultural sites like Phewa Lake, Begnas Lake, Devi’s Fall and Tal Barahi Temple.
Day 04: Flight to Jomsom (2,720m) and Trek to Kagbeni (2,900m) -4 Hours
Today, you catch a flight to Jomsom, the district administrative center of Mustang district. You will enjoy the in-flight scenery of the snowy peaks of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri including distant view of Manaslu region. From there, you trek down to Kagbeni, the gateway to Upper Mustang region trekking.
Day 05: Trek to Chhusang (2,935m) / Chele (3,100m) – 8 Hours
After taking breakfast, you get your special restricted area permit checked at Kagbeni and move further through the Mustang Valley. You might encounter with some herds of yaks and sheep which are the good carriers of the Himalayan region. By walking past Tangbe village beautified with the chortens, mani walls and prayer flags, you reach Chhusang village. While walking along the confluence of the Narshing Khola and the Kali Gandaki River, you enjoy the breathtaking view of Nilgiri Peak. Following the uphill and downhill trail that goes across the Narshing Khola, you reach Chele. Chele is the best example of the Tibetan Buddhist lifestyle, culture and tradition existing in Nepali Himalayan villages.
Day 06: Trek to Syangbochen (3,800m) – 6 Hours
Today, you move uphill by witnessing the panorama of the landscapes looks quite different from the previous days. The villages are sparsely populated and their culture, tradition as well as housing style are completely typical. To see the arid landscapes with no crops cultivated amazes you the most. It is so because this region lies in the rain shadow area of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Himalayan Range. By moving across Sammar Village, you have to cross two more ridges and natural caves named: La Gyakar Cave and Chungsi Cave, you reach Syangbochen. On the way, you have to go across Chele La Pass (3,660m) from where you can have a breathtaking view of the Annapurna Himalayan Range.
Day 07: Trek to Ghami (Ghemi) (3,510m) – 6 Hours
Following the trail that moves uphill and downhill, you walk through the lush juniper forests. Then, you move along Syangbochen La Pass (3,850m) to reach Tama Gaun located in a quite large valley. Then, you continue the walk along the valley and then the steep arid trail that goes past Nyi La Pass (also called ‘Jaite La’: 4,020m). By descending gently along the barley fields, you reach Ghami where you can see the houses made up of stones and muds with white and brown paintings having straw roofs.
Day 08: Trek to Tsarang (Charang) (3560m) – 6 Hours
After breakfast, you move further following the track that goes across the bridge of the Tangmarchu Khola and the broad plain. There you find a 400-meter long and 2.5-metere tall mani wall colored with attractive signs and symbols. Enjoying the Himalayan view of the Annapurna region, you traverse through a rocky trail by crossing Mui La Pass (4,170m). Although there are a few routes to reach Ghami to Tsarang, you follow the trail that the interesting site at Gyakar for making your trekking more memorable is the 1200-year-old Ghar Gompa (3,931m) headed by Guru Rimpoche. You can speak with Guru Rimpoche to get more interesting facts about Ghar Gompa and its history. Famous for its rock paintings, Ghar Gompa is a holy place that makes your every wish comes true! It is one of the windiest places in Upper Mustang, so, you need to begin the trekking early in the morning.
Significant passes in Upper Mustang trekking. Finally, descending slowly and cautiously, you reach Tsarang. From this stopover, you can relish the majestic sight of the rugged Himalayan countrysides and mountains. A huge dzong (fortress) and a red gompa decorated with Buddhist statues and thanka paintings are the alluring things to see and visit here.
Day 09: Trek to Lo Manthang (3,840m) -3 Hours
After having your breakfast, you start on the most memorable day of your Upper Mustang trek to reach the walled city Lo Manthang. Lo Manthang has a historical importance as it used to be the capital of the ancient Mustang Kingdom. Lo Manthang trek offers you the glimpses of Nilgiri, Tilicho, Annapurna I and Brikuti Peak. Moving ahead, you ascend through a windy pass, Lo Pass (3,850m) giving the enchanting view of Lo Manthang valley.
Day 10: Exploration of Lo Manthang
As you stay around Lo Manthang for acclimatization purpose today, you can visit the remaining sites of Upper Mustang trek. You will explore the mysterious Sky Caves also known as Jhong Cave that is located in Choser Village. To reach Choser Village that is the last human settlement area of Upper Mustang area connected with the Tibetan Plateau, you have to hire a horse to ride on its back. Riding for about two hours, you reach Jhong Cave which indicates the best example of the Cave Civilization. Here, you can see the multi-storied caves with different chambers built for crematory and safety purpose. From the windows of this amazing cave, you can have the astounding view of the entire Choser Valley. The breathtaking view of the snowcapped peaks, mountain villages and thousands of manmade caves make your Upper Mustang trek more memorable.
Day 11: Rest Day at Lo Manthang
Today, you will enjoy visiting the remaining attractions of the Last Forbidden Kingdom of Lo Manthang. The four-floor-palace of the Mustangese King is the vantage point to witness the superb sights of the surrounding. While in Lo Manthang that you can visit the ancient monasteries still intact in the historical city. The must-visit Buddhist shrines in the walled city are Jampa Lhakang, Thubchen Gompa, Chodey Gompa and Choprang Gompa. Chodey Gompa (also Choede Monastery) is the place where the most colorful Tiji Festival is observed for three consequent days. Similarly, you take a short walk to Namgyal Gompa, situated on a small hilltop by enjoying the mesmerizing view of the Annapurna Massif. Namgyal Gompa is the local monastery that stands as the local court if any conflicts come among the villagers.
Day 12: Trek to Yara (3,650m) -6 Hours
Today, from Lo Manthang, you move towards south direction to go past the cliff-top monasteries of Luri Village. Then, you follow the dusty off-road up to Lo La Pass (3,950m) by witnessing the last glimpses of the walled city. While descending from this pass, you can see the beautiful landscapes surrounded by the arid ridges. Now, you cross Dhi La Pass(3,950m) and reach Dhi Village, which has a gompa painted in orange color. Then, walking past Surkhang and the valley with numerous caves, you reach Yara, which is the last village before the high passes of Damodar Himal. Although in an arid landscape of Upper Mustang region, Yara is a fertile village that grows different seasonal vegetables and crops. In Yara Village, you can take a short walk to Tashi Kabum, a mysterious cave that houses a stupa and some paintings in the Pala Script.
Day 13: Trek to Tangye (3,340m) – 9 Hours
From here, the trekking track descends through a few tributaries streams to the Kali Gandaki River. You can find the shaligrams (the spiral fossils) for which the Kali Gandaki is famous for. Then, you go past the stream originated from the Holy Damodar Kunda (Lake). Moving further along the uphill and downhill trail and enjoying the wonderful scenery of the arid landscapes and snowy peaks, you reach Tangye for the night station. Tangye is a small village with around 30 households attached with each other and having the roofs of dry wood to protect from chilling cold temperature.
Day 14: Trek to Chhusang-6 Hours
After having breakfast, you begin today’s trekking towards Chhusang Vilage. Enjoying the windy ridges in the desert-like landscapes, you reach Tetang Village that is located between the two hills. The fierce wind of the Kali Gandaki River Valley keeps this village away as the hills block it. Tetang Village is the upper part of Chhusang village, which you visited a few days back. More importantly, as you have to walk for about 9 hours to reach Chhusang from Tange, you shouldn’t forget to pack lunch and drinking water.
Day 15: Trek to Muktinath (3,760m) -7 Hours
Chhusang to Muktinath trek moves along a river valley, then a few rustic villages of Jomsom valley. On the way, you can witness Shaligram (holy stones as described by the Hindu mythology) which is found only in the Kali Gandaki River Valley. Then, the trail further ascends to Gyu La Pass (4,077m) rewarding you with the thrilling panorama of Annapurna Massif, Dhaulagiri Massif and Tukuche Peak. As today is a quite long duration walk, you should keep dry food or lunch and drinking water in your bag pack.
Day 16: Trek to Jomsom -5 Hours
Today, before you start the trekking, don’t forget to make a short sightseeing tour around Muktinath Temple. It is a sacred place for both Hindus and Buddhists that the pilgrims from the Asian countries throng to Muktinath to pay home to the deity. After doing the prayer or enjoying the pilgrims worshipping their gods, you follow the trekking trail along Jharkot village, one of the traditional villages of Upper Mustang.
Day 17: Flight back Pokhara – 25 Minutes
Today, by leaving Mustang region, you fly back to Pokhara by enjoying the enthralling vistas of the mountain ranges and high altitude villages for the last time this season. On the other side, if you want to you can catch a bus or private jeep to Pokhara via Beni, the gateway to Dolpo region trekking. However, the flight is shorter while the drive takes quite long time. What to choose and do depends upon your itinerary and mutual understanding with the company. You will have a relax day in Pokhara, the most popular touristic center of Nepal. You can visit different interesting sites of the lake city as well as try some adventure sports activities like hot air ballooning, paragliding, etc. Boating on the Phewa Lake is a fantastic idea to make your Pokhara tour more meaningful and memorable.
Day 18: Return Kathmandu by Air or Bus.
After having breakfast, you begin the journey to Kathmandu by bus or plane as per your settlement with our company. After you arrive in Kathmandu, the representative of A1 Excursion escorts you to the hotel. In the evening, our agency invites you for the farewell dinner program at a restaurant around Thamel as a part of hospitality.
Day 19: Departure or New Package
Today is the concluding day of Upper Mustang trek 19 days itinerary designed by A1 Excursion. So, the crewmember of the agency accompanies you up to the Tribhuvan International Airport for bidding you farewell. In case you have more time to spend in Nepal and want to let us help you find the right tour or trekking package, consult with us. We are always ready for this!
Necessary Trekking Gears:
- Duffel or Rucksack bag (Provided)
- Down Sleeping bag (Provided)
- Down Jacket (Provided)
- Hiking pants
- Waterproof & Windproof jacket
- Rain coat or Umbrella
- Full-sleeves shirts
- Jumper or Fleece jacket
- Pair of T-shirts
- Trekking Boots (water proof is better)
- Sandal, Toilet paper
- Cotton thick socks (2 pair), Woolen socks to wear with boots
- Sun-hat & fleece hat
- Sun block for lips
- Sun lotion
- Goggles or Sunglasses
- Thermal long underwear sets
- Insulated pants
- Trekking poles
- Wind breaker pants
- Water bottle
- Flash light or Head light, Batteries
- Swiss army Knife
- Personal Dry Towel
- Personal toiletries and medication which should be labeled
- Snow leg Gaiters