The culture of the Sherpa people is filled with many colorful festivals. Here within the region of Mt Everest (Sagarmatha National Park) is the homeland of these mountain people well known for their ability to carry large loads at high altitudes.
This trek for the Mani Rimdu Festival is held in October of every year at the time of the full moon. At the famed monastery of Tengboche (the highest Buddhist monastery in the world) is the Buddhist Dance Drama, performed by the monks. This festival celebrates the fundamentals of Buddhism as celebrated by the Sherpa people. This festival celebrates the triumph of Buddhism in the region over the ancient Bön religion of Tibet.
In the course of the festival, there are the Sand Mandala, The Empowerment, The Fire Puja and the Mask Dance by the Buddhist monks. Sherpas from all over the Khumbu region attend as this is both an important religious as well as social occasion. The dates of the annual festival are in keeping with the Tibetan calendar and the chief monk at the Tengboche announces the date in advance. There are prayers, colorful paper-Mache masks and dancing lamas in elaborate mask and brocade robes.
Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition is pleased to be able to offer this 13 days trek. Besides the festivities, there is the opportunity to see the majestic snowcapped peaks of the eastern Nepal Himalayas, including Mt. Everest (8848 m). Surrounding Mt. Everest are the mighty peaks of Lhotse (8516 m), Nuptse (7855 m), Ama Dablam (6812 m), Khongde Himal (6200 m) and Tharmserku (6430 m). This festival will give any visitor a delightful mixture of culture and natural beauty. It is a wonderful opportunity to partake in this public declaration of faith and belief. Book early to insure availability of obtaining local lodging for this very popular festival.
DAY 1 - xx October, 2016 – Arrival in Kathmandu, transfer to airport
DAY 2 – xx October, 2016 – Sightseeing in Kathmandu, World Heritage Sites
DAY 3 – xx October, 2016 – Flight from Kathmandu to Lukla (elev. 2840 m), trek to Phakding (elev. 2610 m) 3 – 4 hours.
DAY 4 – xx October, 2016 – Trek to Namche Bazaar (elev. 3440 m) 5 – 6 hours.
DAY 5 – xx October, 2016 – Acclimatization Day
DAY 6 – xx October, 2016 – Trek to Tengboche (elev. 3860 m) 4 – 5 hours
DAY 7 – xx October, 2016 – Tengboche to Mani Rimdu Festival, 1st Day
DAY 8 – xx October, 2016 – Second Day of Mani Rimdu Festival
DAY 9 – xx October, 2016 – Third Day of Mani Rimdu Festival
DAY 10 – xx October, 2016 – Trek to Namche Bazaar (elev. 3440 m) 4 – 5 hours
DAY 11 – xx October, 2016 – Trek to Lukla (elev. 2840 m) 6 – 7 hours
DAY 12 – xx October, 2016 – Fly to Kathmandu.
DAY 13 – xx October, 2016 – Departure
DAY 1 – xx October, 2016 - Arrival in Kathmandu: You arrive at Tribhuwan International Airport where a representative of Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition will greet you and take you to your Three Star Hotel by private car. You will enjoy a welcome drink as well as an evening orientation about your trip as well as equipment check. Spend the night in the hotel.
DAY 2 – xx October, 2016 - Sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley: There is plenty to see and do in the Kathmandu Valley, and with our private vehicle and your own personal guide, you will spend the day seeing the highlights of the Valley. There are seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, plus a chance to see local culture, taste local foods and to immerse yourself in the local culture.
DAY 3 – xx October, 2016 - Flight to Lukla (elev. 2840 m), Trek to Phakding (elev. 2610 m): After breakfast, we will take a domestic flight to Lukla where we begin our trek in the Everest region. It is just a 45 minute flight, and what a flight it is! We literally follow the backbone of the Himalayas eastward. On the flight you will see not only Mt. Everest, but also the peaks of Kanchenjunga III, Mt. Lhotse IV, and Makalu V. Each of these peaks is over 8,000 meters, literally forming the roof of the world. We land in Lukla village where we begin our trek. There are no roads to Lukla, so this village is only accessible either by air or a seven day trek from Jiri village. We will be heading toward Phakding village. We actually go downhill from Lukla as we travel through the rugged foothills of the Everest region. Trekking time is around three hours and we will stay in a local lodge at Phakding.
DAY 4 – xx October, 2016 - Trek to Namche Bazaar (elev. 3440 m): Our walk begins early in the morning. It is a fairly easy trek, even starting out rather level as we follow the Dudh Koshi River. The land will start to move uphill gradually as we make our way toward the main district city of Namche Bazaar. We will cross the Hillary suspension bridge, and finally we come to the steepest part of today's trek that leads us to Namche Bazaar. There are plenty of views of the high mountains along the way, as well as becoming immersed in the local Buddhist culture of the Sherpa people. We will check into a local guesthouse for the night.
DAY 5 – xx October, 2016 - Acclimatization in Namche Bazaar: It is important to spend a day acclimatizing to the higher elevation as altitude sickness can be quite serious. The day will not be spent just lying around (unless you want to), but we will hike to Everest Viewpoint for a magnificent view of Mt. Everest. From here, you will see the spectacular peaks of Everest, Ama Dablam, Nuptse and many more. It is only a two hour hike to Everest Viewpoint and we will spend a few hours there enjoying the view as well as having lunch. We will return to Namche Bazaar where you can spend the afternoon exploring this delightful village. There is a lot to see here. We will spend the night in our local guest house.
DAY 6 – xx October, 2016 -Trek to Tengboche (elev. 3400 m): We start trekking after a hearty breakfast with a destination of what could be considered the spiritual center of the Everest Region: Tengboche. Here there is the highest Buddhist monastery in the world. It is a place filled with mystery and spirituality. One of the highlights is the preserved footprint of St. Milarepa, one of the most famous of the Buddhist lamas who brought Tibetan Buddhism to Nepal. We will overnight in a mountain lodge. Trekking time is 7 hours
DAY 7 – xx October, 2016 – MANI RIMDU FESTIVAL: Today is the first day of the festival. The famous Mask Dance will be performed by the Buddhist monks of Tengboche Monastery.
DAY 8 – xx October, 2016 – 2ND DAY OF MANI RIMDU FESTIVAL: Today the Chham Festival Dances will be performed. The dances symbolize the conquest of the demons as the positive forces defeat the negative ones. These are sacred dances that explain the various elements of Tibetan Buddhism. There is also an optional hike to Chiwong Cairn.
DAY 9 – xx October, 2016 – 3RD DAY OF MANI RIMDU FESTIVAL: Today is the Fire Initiation Ritual performed by the monks as well as an opportunity to see the sand Mandalas. The fire ritual dance is an offering to the Hindu god Agni, the god of fire. It is offered to all of the gods of the mandala to protect the world from harm. Later, the intricate sand mandalas (made of colored sand) are taken apart and the sand is offered to the Nagas or serpent god.
DAY 10 – xx October, 2016 – Trek to Namche Bazaar (elev. 3440 m): Our return trek starts today as we make our way to the district city of Namche Bazaar. We will spend the night in a local lodge. Trekking time is 4 – 5 hours.
DAY 11 – xx October, 2016 – Trek to Lukla (elev. 2840 m): Today we trek through pine and rhododendron forests, crossing the Dudh Khola River on a very high suspension bridge. This is our final day of trekking and we will spend the night in a local lodge. Trekking time is 6 – 7 hours.
DAY 12 – xx October, 2016 – Fly to Kathmandu: We leave in an early morning flight back to Kathmandu. It is a free day, where you can further explore the Kathmandu Valley or do some shopping.
DAY 13 – xx October, 2016 – Departure: All good things must come to an end, and your trip to Nepal is no exception. Before leaving, why not talk to your representative at Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition about returning to Nepal for your next holiday. The vast majority of people make a return trip to Nepal because they are impressed by not only the beauty, but also the local people. Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition offers trips into neighboring Tibet, Bhutan and India. Be sure to discuss your interests and plans with them today.
While traveling with Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition, your all-around safety and satisfaction is of our paramount concern. Please not that the Trip Leader has the authority to cancel or amend any part of this itinerary if it is considered necessary due to any safety concern. We leave no stones unturned to keep the itinerary mentioned above, but as this adventure includes traveling to remote areas of the Himalayas, we can't guarantee that we will not be forced to make last minute changes in our plans. Factors enter into these decisions include extreme weather conditions, unexpected natural disaster, health concerns of any of our group members, etc., can all contribute to the necessity of make unexpected changes. Your SNFT trip leader will try to insure that the trip runs as planned, but we kindly request that you please be accommodating if such changes do occur.
Please note that the Kathmandu-Lukla-Kathmandu flight often gets delayed by a few hours or even cancelled due to critical weather conditions. The Lukla airport is notorious for fog which we have no control over. Swiss Nepal Family Trekking will do everything it can to avoid such a situations. Mr. Kishan Gurung, the managing director of Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition has developed a strong relationship with the manager of the Lukla airport as well as with local helicopter companies. Mr. Gurung will try to arrange alternative flights if necessary if flights are cancelled. We have a 99% success rate for arranging such flights for our valued clients in case of flight delays and cancellations. For the successful flight in rescue or cargo helicopters, the cost is around USD 200 to $250 per person additional cost. If we must charter a helicopter, then the cost is around USD 3500 for up to five people. It is advisable to always be able to stay an extra day should weather conditions require. Normally, we can usually fly out the same day, but it is a good idea to be prepared.
If everything runs smoothly and you still have a few of your buffer days left, you can arrange alternative activities to participate in with Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition upon your request. There are plenty of things to see and do in the Kathmandu Valley, including seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
In case of flight delays or cancellations at the start of the trip, you can also choose an alternative trip, which includes trekking in the Annapurna Region, Manaslu, Langtang, Mustang or any other region in Nepal. Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition can offer you some really wonderful trekking opportunities in a variety of great locations. You can also choose to spend the time in Kathmandu exploring the Valley and all it has to offer. There is no need to be stuck in a hotel room; we can provide some great experiences as you wait for the weather to clear so you can fly to Lukla.
It is recommended that you set aside two to three days as "buffer days" at the end of your trip before having to depart Nepal when trekking in the Everest region. This is just good planning and will make for a much more pleasant trip. We apologize in advance for any difficulty the weather may contribute to. It is just part of being at the roof of the world.
THE TREKKING GROUP:
For this trip, there will be a Trek Leader and Sherpa Porters for carrying luggage (2 trekkers = 1 porter). This arrangement ensures that if anyone in the group is sick, the trip can still go ahead as planned. However, Swiss Nepal Family Trekking can run this trek for the group of any size. Generally, the maximum number of trekkers that the company has found optimum is 12.
All accommodations for the Everest Mani Rimdu Festival Lodge Trek are on twin-sharing basis with inclusive costs and are chosen based on standard hygiene and standard of food, services, locations, etc. There will be two styles of accommodations during this trek. We will spend three nights at a Three-Star Hotel in Kathmandu. During the trek, we will spend nine nights at standard tea houses or lodges with unheated rooms with wooden beds and foam mattresses. We can provide you with attached bath in some major towns; however, tea houses and lodges in some places have only shared washing and toilet facilities. We share a room with someone else of the same sex of our group if you are a solo traveler. If you prefer a single room, you may indicate your preferences and obtain a single room for an additional fee. Please understand that single rooms are not always possible at tea houses and mountain lodges. We will do our best to try and make the appropriate arrangements.
During this trek, you can enjoy the typical Nepali food along with different ethnic cuisines as well as all types of international cuisine (Tibetan, Continental, Italian, Indian, etc.) with items from pizza to chips to apple pie. You can even enjoy hot chocolates, a variety of breads, drinks and snacks. Breakfast of a day will be served from the tea house or lodge where we spend the night. Lunch will be served on the way to our destination with dinner served where we are spending the night. During your stay in Kathmandu, a farewell dinner along with breakfasts will be served.