Mustang is one of the most fascinating regions of Nepal boarding with Tibet, inhabited by Tibetan people is the abode of Tibetan people. Due to its sensitivity, the region has been declared as a restricted zone for travellers, which means they require a special permit to travel to Mustang. The region has been blessed with an abundance of beauty and natural resources which includes uranium, apart from these the Himalayas, the origin of Kaligandaki River famous for ammonite/fossil and one of the holy rivers for both Hindu and Buddhist followers, numerous monasteries, caves, etc are the centre of attraction of the region.
Upper Mustang is also known as the last forbidden kingdom of Nepal is a Himalayan deserted area and the oldest trade route to Tibet, the panoramic view of massif Himalayas like Annapurna (8091m/26545ft), Nilgiri (7061m/23166ft), Dhaulagiri (8091m/26545ft), etc make Mustang one of the very attractive regions for the trekkers with magical wonder every step we take.
History Of Tiji Festival
Upper Mustang Tiji Festival Trek or Tiji Festival Trek is one of the most fabulous trekking itineraries, which is compiled with two programs at a time. Travellers can trek to the Upper Mustang region throughout the year, but to witness the Tiji festival is something different. Tiji is a 3-day festival that is observed in Lo-Manthang the capital city of Mustang, mainly inhabited by Tibetan origin lies in the restricted zone.
The history of the Tiji Festival can be traced back to Tibet and is related to Vajrayana Buddhism also known as Tibetan Buddhism introduced by Guru Padmasambhava also known as Guru Rinpoche in Tibet in the 8th century AD. He is the founding father to spread Tantric Buddhism in Tibet and the Himalayas of Nepal. So, Vajrayana followers referred to him as the second Buddha after Shakyamuni Buddha.
The history of the Tiji festival can be traced back to the time where the myth was popular and universal than modern science. It was the time when people believed in tantric practice and meditation, through tantric gurus they tried to find out the cause and effect of their common suffering.
According to the famous myth once the very powerful man-eating demon created havoc in the Mustang region, as he was not having sufficient humans to eat due to powerful tantric gurus who were creating trouble for the demon.
The tantric gurus were creating trouble for the demon through their powerful practice of tantrism, to take revenge the demon created a shortage of water and spread unknown diseases in the valley of Mustang and the surrounding areas, as water is very important for human civilization and in the Mustang region the main source of snow melted water was limited due to its remoteness and the massif Himalayas surrounding the villages.
This incident let lots of trouble and the death of animals and humans due to lack of water and diseases. Even the main gurus (spiritual teachers) were not able to stop the damage created by the demon. Finally, they invited Dorje Jono who was a very powerful tantric spiritual teacher, who helped to chase the demon from the region through his powerful spell of the spiritual practice and guarded the whole valley through his spell, so that the demon won’t be able to enter the region again. This made the demon to keep away from entering the valley and the lifestyle remained normal till to date.
To mark the victory over evil Tiji Festival is celebrated every year. It has now been observed for a broader sense, as it is also a ritual ceremony for World Peace and Victory of Good over Evil. Native believe the ritual 3-day ceremony will bring eternal blessing to all sentient beings.
Time Schedule of Tiji Festival 2021
Tiji Festival is a very popular festival of the Upper Mustang region which includes seven villages of the region. The main 3-day festival is observed with colourful ceremonies, dances, and ritual songs by the monks of the monastery.
The festival is guided by the royal family members of the kingdom along with the villages. It is a tantric dance by the monks, the main dancer/performers also know as Two are chosen before three months of the festival and do all the training and ritual ceremonies until the final day of the festival occurs. Royal family members, villagers, and travellers from the globe observe the colourful festival, as we believe being part of the ceremony will lead us to eternal bliss.
The date for the Tiji Festival is not predictable, it is celebrated according to the Tibetan calendar and the main monks of the surrounding monastery decide the date through ritual technique. This year the 3-day Tiji Festival 2021 will be celebrated from 8th to 10th May 2021.