The Tiji Festival is probably the most interesting as well as colorful event that is unique to the Upper Mustang area. Pronounced "Teeji", it is an abbreviated form for Tempa Chhirim which means Prayer for World Peace. The event celebrates the victory of Buddha's incarnation.
Tradition has it that one Dhorje Sonam defeated the demon Ma Tam Ru Ta. The demon feasted on human flesh and was thought to be the cause of storms as well as able to destroy both homes and livestock. The festival features colorful dances by monks of Lo-Manthang Chhyode Gumba for three days that commemorates the harassment of the evil demon by Dhorje Sonam who became enlighten as well as became a Buddha many centuries ago.
The dance is performed yearly to ward off evil spirits in the village. On the first day, the monks perform the Tsa Chham. The next day the monks perform a dance called Nga Chham where the final dance called the Rha Chham concludes the festival.
This festival is celebrated around the 27th to 29th of the month in April or May as dictated by the Tibetan calendar. The festival originated at Chhyode Gumba, a monastery of the Sakyapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It is an important festival to the people of the ancient Lo kingdom of Upper Mustang, and the people gather yearly for this important festival.
The area of Upper Mustang is a restricted area, and has only been open to the outside world since 1991. It requires a special permit which your representative of Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition can procure for you. The area is north of the Annapurna Mountains and contains unusual rock formations created by wind erosion.
It is a fun time as you will be able to mingle with the residents on the occasion of an important religious festival.
DAY 1 – xx May, 2016 – Arrival in Kathmandu, transfer to Hotel
DAY 2 – xx May, 2016 – Full Day of Sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley.
DAY 3 – xx May, 2016 – Drive to Pokhara (elev. 820 m) 6 – 7 hours
DAY 4 – xx May, 2016 – Fly to Jomsom (elev. 2720 m), trek to Kagbeni (elev. 2800 m) 3 – 4 hours
DAY 5 – xx May, 2016 – Trek to Tsaile (elev. 3100 m) 5 – 6 hours
DAY 6 – xx May, 2016 – Trek to Ghiling (elev. 3570 m) via Ranchung Cave Monastery 6 -7 hours
DAY 7 – xx May, 2016 – Trek to Drakmar (elev. 3450) 5 – 6 hours
DAY 8 – xx May, 2016 – Trek to Lo-Manthang (elev. 3840 m) via Ghar Gompa and Marang-La Pass, 7 – 8 hours.
DAY 9 – xx May, 2016 – Tiji Festival, Day 1
DAY 10 – xx May, 2016 – Tiji Festival, Day 2
DAY 11 – xx May, 2016 – Tiji Festival, Day 3
DAY 12 – xx May 2016 – Trek to Tsarang (elev. 3560 m) 3 – 4 hours
DAY 13 – xx May, 2016 – Trek to Syangmochen (elev. 3500 m) 6 – 7 hours
DAY 14 – xx May, 2016 – Trek to Chhusang (elev. 2980 m) 5 – 6 hours
DAY 15 – xx May, 2016 – Trek to Jomsom (elev. 2720 m) 6 – 7 hours
DAY 16 – xx May, 2016 – Fly to Pokhara, ½ Day Sightseeing
DAY 17 – xx May, 2016 – Drive to Kathmandu on 1st Class Luxury Bus 6 – 7 hours
DAY 18 – xx May, 2016 – Departure
DAY 1 xx May, 2016 – Arrival: Arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport where you will be met by your representative of Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition. You will be escorted to your hotel where there are complimentary welcome drinks and a short briefing with plenty of time to relax from your flight.
DAY 2 – xx May, 2016– Kathmandu: Your day will be spent visiting several of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This is a great day to get a feel of the culture, spirituality and the beauty of the famed Kathmandu Valley. The Valley is larger than the country of Singapore and is known for its temples, shopping and great hospitality.
DAY 3 – xx May, 2016 – Drive to Pokhara (elev. 820 m): The journey today is by 1st Class, Luxury Bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara. While flying will get you there in just 25 minutes, taking the bus is the best way to see the countryside. The trip crosses the pass out of Kathmandu and then down the mountain through beautiful canyons. We will pass waterfalls and fast flowing mountain rivers which are famous as great places to do rafting. There will be many villages the journey will pass through as well as along terraced farms. We will arrive around 2 pm in Pokhara and check into a Three Star Hotel near Lakeside. This will give you an opportunity to explore some of the Lakeside area, which is located on the eastern shore of Phewa Lake. There are great views along the way.
DAY 4 – xx May, 2016 – Flight to Jomsom, Trek to Kagbeni (elev. 2858 m): This morning we rise early to catch a 45 minute flight into the mountains to Jomsom. This is a principal village on the Kali Gandaki River. It has always been a major destination point, being on the ancient trans-Himalayan trail to Tibet. Our trek begins today as we make our way to the windswept village of Kagbeni. We will camp in Kagbeni. Trekking time is 3 – 4 hours, a short day.
DAY 5 – xx May, 2016 – Trek to Tsaile (elev. 3100 m): Today we enter the restricted region of Upper Mustang. We follow the left bank of the Kali Gandaki River. The first Mustang village we come to is Tangbe which has a medieval atmosphere. The train continues upwards to Chhusang Village. Further up, we pass 16 caves along the Kali Gandaki. We see some of the snowcapped peaks like Mt. Nilgiri Himal as we approach our destination of Tsaile Village where we will spend the night in camp. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours.
DAY 6 – xx May, 2016 – Trek to Ghiling (elev. 3570 m): We get up early and take a rather unstable local dirt road uphill to reach the plateau. From here, it is an easy ascent to a small pass as we make our way to Samar village. We will have lunch here and then the trail will be up and down as we trek to Chungsi Cave Monastery. This monastery features an incredible feeling of deep spirituality that touches every visitor. There are great mountain views along the way. We will see and visit several monasteries along the way, including one where Guru Padmasambhava meditated in the 8th century. We pass next to Syangmochen village, then climb again to a small pass were we will encounter a very large chhortens along with two smaller gompas with walls that are painted red. We will spend the night in Ghiling village at a local lodge.
DAY 7 – xx May, 2016 – Trek to Drakmar (elev. 3450 m): We begin the day by walking through the village of Ghiling which is a large village here in Mustang. We will ascend to the mountain pass of Nyl-La, and enter what is known as Central Mustang. In ancient times, this was the land of Lo. We descend into the valley and reach the village of Ghami with its terraced farmland that clings to the sides of the cliff. We pass incredibly long Mani Walls and then unique rock formations with stones of red, orange, blue and white. We will follow a small river upstream to reach our night's destination of Drakmar. Trekking time today is 5 – 6 hours.
DAY 8 – xx May, 2016 - Trek to Lo-Manthang (elev. 3840 m) via Ghar Gompa & Marang-La Pass (elev. 4230 m): Today is a day of climbing as we make our way to the capital city of Mustang. We will ascend to the top of Marang-La Pass for one incredible view of the region. From here, we can see the snowcapped peaks of the Himalayas plus look upon the plateau of Tibet. You also will have your first view of the ancient walled city of Lo-Manthang which is an awesome view of this forbidden place. We will descend to spend the night in the capital city. Along the way, we will see the Ghar Gompa, one of the oldest monasteries in the region. Trekking time is 7 – 8 hours.
DAY 9 – xx May, 2016 – 1st DAY OF TIJI – This is the first day of the Tiji Festival where the monks perform the Tsa Chham dance.
DAY 10 – xx May, 2016 – 2ND DAY OF TIJI – Today the monks perform their second dance which is called the Nga Chham
DAY 11 – xx May, 2016 – 3RD DAY OF TIJI –It is the final day as the last dance of the festival is performed. This dance is called the Rha Chham.
DAY 12 – xx May, 2016 - Trek to Tsarang (elev. 3560 m): We leave the ancient walled city after breakfast and climb up a steep, sandy slope to reach Lo-La Pass which will afford us our last view of Lo-Manthang. We will be walking on a wide plain as we look up and see numerous caves in the face of the rock. When we come to a very large, isolated chhortens, we are crossing an ancient boundary between Lo-Manthang and Tsarang. We will cross an iron bridge over the Tsarang Khola. Tsarang was once its own kingdom and we will see a five-storey palace there along with a 14th century Gompa situated on the side of the Kali Gandaki Gorge at the eastern end of the village. We will spend the night at a local lodge in Tsarang. Trekking time is 3 – 4 hours.
DAY 13 xx May, 2016 – Trek to Syangmochen (elev. 3500 m): We set out after breakfast and begin a long, gentle ascent to a ridge, passing magnificent Mani Walls. We will pass Ghami-La pass and then on to Nyl-La pass. From here, it is downhill to Tamagaon on a steep set of switchbacks into a rock canyon. We finally join the Ghiling trail near the ridge and then it’s a short trek to the village of Syangmochen where we will spend the night. Trekking time is 6 – 7 hours.
DAY 14 – xx May, 2016 – Trek to Chhusang (elev. 2980 m): We continue our trek as we are heading back to Jomsom. There are a number of small villages we will pass through on today's trek. We will see a big canyon and then a steep descent to an iron bridge that crosses over the Kali Gandaki River. We will spend the night in the village of Chhusang. Trekking time is 5 – 6 hours.
DAY 15 – xx May, 2016 – Trek to Jomsom (elev. 2720 m): It is our last day of trekking. We climb up to the picturesque village of Tangbe which will afford us an incredible view of the Annapurna Mountains. We will follow the Kali Gandaki River until we reach Jomsom. Trekking time is 6 – 7 hours and we will stay in a local lodge.
DAY 16 – xx May, 2016 – Fly to Pokhara, (elev. 820 m): Today is a short, 45 minute flight in the morning to Pokhara. From here, we can check into our Three Star Hotel where we can get a real hot shower. We will spend the day doing sightseeing in Pokhara, visiting places like the Buddhist Peace Pagoda and Devi Falls as well as an opportunity to do boating on Phewa Lake.
DAY 17 – xx May, 2016 – Return to Kathmandu: We leave early morning by bus for Kathmandu. We will stay at a Three Star Hotel in Kathmandu. In the evening will be a farewell dinner with cultural dancing.
DAY 18 – xx May, 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.
Your safety is of paramount importance while traveling with Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition. Please note that your leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary. However, since this adventure entails travelling in remote mountain regions, we cannot guarantee that we will not be forced to make last minute changes due to weather conditions, health conditions or any member of the group, unexpected natural disasters, etc. The team leader will do everything possible to ensure that the trip runs according to plan. Be prepared for any last minute changes. The Himalayas are big and wild, and worthy of your respect.
THE TREKKING GROUP
For this trek there will be one team leader/guide. We also provide an assistant leader (1 assistant per six trekkers), and Sherpa porters for carrying luggage (usual compliment is one porter for two trekkers). This arrangement ensures that anybody in the group gets sick; the trip can still go ahead as planned. Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition can run this trek for any size group, but the maximum size is 12 people in order to make it a pleasant and enjoyable trip. However, if you would like to have a larger group, Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition can make the appropriate arrangements as well.
All accommodations for Tiji Festival Trek in Mustang are on twin sharing basis with inclusive trip costs and are chosen based on standard hygiene, standard of service and food, location and more. There are two styles of accommodations during the trip. We will spend three nights in 3-Star Hotels in Kathmandu and two nights in Pokhara. For the remaining twelve nights, we will stay at local tea houses or local lodges. Some of these places have shared toilets and washing facilities. Solo travelers may share a room, or if requested, we can arrange for a private room for an additional fee. However, please understand that in some remote places single rooms might not be feasible, even if the extra fee is paid. These are remote villages that we are dealing with. We at Swiss Nepal Family Trekking & Expedition will do all we can to make your trip as pleasant and enjoyable as possible.
During the trek, we can enjoy typical Nepali food, different ethnic cuisines as well as all types of international cuisine (Tibetan, Continental, Italian, Indian, etc.) from pizza and chips to apple pie. We can even enjoy hot chocolates, variety of breads, drinks and snacks. Breakfast will be served from the tea house or lodge menu where we spend our night. Lunch will be served on the way to our destination and usually along the trail. Dinner and breakfast will be served at the tea houses where we will spend the night. Note that at the tea houses and lodges, the food is good, although the menus will be limited. A farewell dinner with cultural show and breakfast will be served in our stay in Kathmandu as well as breakfast served in Pokhara.