Mustang is one of the most fascinating regions of Nepal boarding with Tibet, inhabited mainly of Tibetan origin. Due to its sensitivity, the entire region of Mustang has been categorized into Lower Mustang and Upper Mustang. And the Upper Mustang has been declared a restricted area for travelers, which means they require a special permit to travel to the Upper Mustang area.
The entire region is blessed with beauty and natural resources including uranium. Apart from these, the Himalayas, the origin of Kaligandaki River famous for ammonite/fossils and one of the holy rivers for both Hindu and Buddhist followers, numerous monasteries, caves, etc are the center of attraction of Mustang.
Upper Mustang which 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 makes Mustang one of the very attractive regions for the trekkers with magical wonder every step you take.
The upcoming Tiji Festival Trek of 2023 is scheduled to fall on 5th May-7th May 2024.
- 05 May 2024 Tiji Festival in Lo-Mangthang (1st day)
- 06 May 2024 Tiji Festival in Lo-Mangthang (2nd day)
- 07 May 2024 Tiji Festival in Lo-Mangthang (3rd day)
History Of Tiji Festival
Upper Mustang Tiji Festival Trek is one of the most fabulous trekking itineraries, which is compiled with two programs at a time. Travelers 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 Upper Mustang.
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 of to spread of Tantric Buddhism in Tibet and the Himalayas of Nepal. So, Vajrayana followers refer to him as the second Buddha after Shakyamuni Buddha.
The history of the Tiji festival can be traced back to the time when myths were more popular and universal than modern science. It was the time when people believed in tantric practice and meditation, through tantric gurus tried to find out the cause-effect and solution of their common suffering.
According to a famous myth, once a very powerful man-eating demon created havoc in the Mustang region due to a lack of live human flesh. This was so because tantric gurus were protecting the inhabited areas through their spells.
Tantric gurus were creating trouble for the demon through their powerful practice of tantrism, to take revenge 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 led to trouble, and the death of animals and humans due to lack of water and diseases started increasing. 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 to chase the demon from the region through his powerful spell of spiritual practice. Dorje Jono guarded the whole valley through his spell and the demon was not able to enter the region. This made the demon keep away from entering the valley and still does and the lifestyle remained normal to date.
To mark the victory over evil Tiji Festival is celebrated every year. It has now been observed in a broader sense, it is now 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 2024
Tiji Festival is a very popular festival in the Upper Mustang region which includes seven villages in the region. The main 3-day festival is observed with colorful ceremonies, dances, and ritual songs by the monks of the monastery in Lo-Mangthang.
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 are chosen prior to three months of the festival and do all the training and ritual ceremonies until the final day of the festival.
Royal family members, villagers, and travelers from around the globe join to observe the colorful festival. It is believed being part of the ceremony will lead one 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 techniques. This year the 3-day Tiji Festival 2024 will be celebrated from 5th-7th May 2024.