The Tiji festival is a three-day ritual known as “The chasing of the Demons”. And it is centered on the Tiji myth. Tiji tells the story of a deity named Dorje Jono. Dorje Jono is the person who battles against his demon father to save the Kingdom of Mustang from destruction. The demon father wreaks havoc on Mustang by creating a water shortage which, in this extremely arid land, is the most precious life-sustaining resource. Dorje Jono eventually defeats the demon and banishes him from the land.
Tiji is a celebration and reaffirmation of this myth. Throughout the festival, the events and story of the myth are re-enacted. The festival is timed to coincide with the end of the dry season (late winter/spring) and ushers in the wetter monsoon season. Tiji comes from the words “ten che” meaning “the hope of Buddha Dharma prevailing in all worlds”. And it is a spring renewal festival that also celebrates the triumph of good over evil.
In 1964 Michel Peissel was the first Westerner to observe the Tiji festival. At this time, the Mustang region was still completely closed off to foreigners. And one had to obtain special permission from the government of Nepal in order to enter the region. Despite his arrival on the last day of the celebration (he was unaware of the observance of Tiji, the experience left a lasting impression on him. “The scenes I witnessed were so extraordinary and so unexpected that I dared not believe my eyes and even today I have some trouble in believing in the reality of what I saw that day.”
Note: B=Breakfast, L= Lunch, D=Dinner, O/N= Overnight
Arrival and pick up from the international airport in Kathmandu, after some refreshment, we will invite you for a traditional Nepali dinner.o/n in a hotel.
Early rising for a lovely breakfast in the hotel and then it’s time to visit Pashupatinath- the most venerated Hindu temple of Nepal and Boudhanath, the biggest Buddhist stupa architecture of the world. It really will impress you for sure. In the afternoon the trip continues to the famous sightseeing of Bhaktapur and Patan -the medireview principalities of Kathmandu valley. You will visit the old royal palaces, temples, stupas, and monasteries and will see lots of striking intricate wood and stone works. In the late afternoon, we return to your hotel in Kathmandu.
This day we take 25 munites fly to Pokhara or early morning drive to Pokhara (200km) Enroute we will see more of the countryside of Nepal that offers greeneries, rivers, villages, farms and beautiful mountain sceneries. Afternoon, we reach Pokhara. Pokhara offers magnificent views of Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, Machhapuchhare, five peaks of Annapurna and others. Pokhara is the city of lakes and has numerous beautiful lakes. We can explore the most accessible and beautiful, Fewa Lake during the afternoon -enjoy boating too. Explore, relax and dine by tranquil Lake Fewa. You can even do some shopping during evening hours in the colorful town of Pokhara.
Early in the morning, after breakfast transfer to the airport for a morning flight to Jomsom, a super scenic flight of 20 minutes over the mountains with views of 8,000ers such as Annapurna & Dhaulagiri, brings you at Jomsom, the district headquarter of Mustang. This is a large town, headquarter of the Mustang region; it is also a major village on the Kaligandaki area linking the age-old Trans-Himalayan Salt Trade route to Tibet. From Jomsom onwards it is very windy in the afternoon, Continue on the gradual path on the Kali Gandaki river bed for about 3 hrs and finally reaching Ekley-Bhatti village. After a good stop here an hour of the easy walk takes us to Kagbeni, which lies at the bank of two rivers. Kagbeni is an interesting windswept village situated on the main age-old Trans-Himalayan salt trade route to Tibet via the Upper Mustang area. In Kagbeni a major tributary, Kak Khola, coming from Muktinath, meets Mustang Khola, and from there the river is called the Kali Gandaki
This day our journey starts with a special permit checkup and onwards to the riverbank of Kaligandaki upstream. During the walk, we have a scenic picturesque place to stop through the sandy and windy trails. This trail follows the up and downhill. Firstly we reach Tangbe village with narrow alleys amongst white washed houses, fields of buckwheat, barley, wheat and apple orchards. From there we trek forward to Chhusang and after crossing the river head up to the huge red chunk of a conglomerate that has fallen from the cliff above, forming a tunnel through which the Kaligandaki follows. We head on to small ridges reach Chele village.
The climb continues along steep, treeless and dry terrain, along the side of a spectacular deep canyon to pass a cairn of rock at 3540m. The trail then makes a long gradual descent to some chortens on a ridge and descends further on a pleasant trail to Samar. The Annapurna Range, still dominated by Nilgiri, is visible far to the south. Climbing above Samar to a ridge, we then descend into a large gorge and the trail goes into another valley along the surrounding of cool streams and junipers trees, crosses a stream and climbs up to a ridge at 3800m. Today we also pass by Ramchung Cave.
This day we will have a pleasant walk passing very long Mani walls a sacred store wall made of the Buddhism followers. The route makes a long gentle descent to Charang. The huge five-story white Dzong and the red Gompa are interesting and we will visit these to observe collections of statues and Thankas as well as many large paintings of seated Buddha’s. Tsarang is a large spread-out village inhabited totally by Lobas. Tsarang is a maze of trees, willow fields and houses separated by stone walls, at the top of the large Charang Chu canyon. The huge five-story monastery fortress is perched on the edge of the Kali Khandaki gorge, on the east end of the village.
This day we trek to Lo-Mangthang with a magnificent view of Nilgiri, Tilicho, Annapurna range and Bhrikuti peak. The trail first descends to Charang Chu Canyon and then climbs steeply after crossing the river. Further the trail ascends gently to the 3,850m windy pass of Lo, from where you can see the Lo-Mangthang Valley. While descending to Lo-Mangthang, views of the walled city appear magnificent with its hills on the Tibetan Border. As today is the starting day of tiji festival (start from 3pm to 5 pm), you can explore the first day by watching all the dances and celebrations that take place, including horse racing and a giant tug-of-war. We’ll see Tibetan women in their traditional clothing and colorful jewelry, monks in their robes and dancers in elaborate costumes.
This day we explore the surrounding areas of Lo-Manthang. This day will be spent in this mystical and isolated city. You will awake to the mystical sounds of monks chanting and the heady sent of temple candles. The King of Mustang wears a whole crown of tiny river pearls set off by dozens of large red coralline tones interspersed with matched ornaments of turquoise. Lo-Manthang is the western valley of Tingkhar, the site of the Raja’s summer palace and surrounding panoramic views of the Himalayas is worth exploring. Kimling and Phuwa as well as the Gompa of Namgyal (The Monastery of Victory is the newest and most active Gompa in Lo) are also here. In the eastern valley nestles the village of Chosar, also rich in Gompas, this valley is the main trading route to Lhasa. After exploring the lo-Manthang we ready for the Tiji festivals from 2pm to around 6pm.
This day is the last day of Tiji festival which ends with the ceremonial destruction of the evil remains, represented by some long black yak hair and red torma cakes minced to a dark red gurry. The demons red remnants are set out on an old tiger skin, where-upon they are attacked by bow and arrow, slings, and the old guns. The poor devils remains are over- turned upon the ground, each time to a wild cannonade from the old muzzle-loaders and a wave of cheers and smoke.
This day it is a challenging trail lead up and downhill, the trek from Lo-Manthang to Yara is harder but more satisfying and interesting then the west side of the valley crossing through river with the panorama views of Throung peak, Damodhar Range, the Yara village is one of the best village of whole Lo-Manthang and it seems more successful and it is established in a very suitable place.
After breakfast, get up and ready for trek, first few hours through River bank then after crossing River, the trail climbs up till the pass of 3850m then trail lead through grassless, bare hills, Tange is small village but most of the house are attached each other, on the roof tops can see piles of fry woods, which also reflect the prosperity in their society.
After breakfast, we trek downhill through river up to Paha then continue to trek uphill about 6hrs to Chusang.
Early in the morning after breakfast, we start trek, it is the hardest day today, cross Gyula pass 4077m, and continue trek to Muktinath with the best panoramic views of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Tukuche, the Muktinath is an important pilgrimage center for Hindus and Buddhist. The most well-known holy place is a Vishnu temple where are 108 spouts, fashioned in the shape of cows’ heads, pour forth water that is considered to be holy. This water is channeled from a stream running above the temple. The temple is built in Tibetan style and contains huge brass idols of Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma, and Kali.
An early breakfast, we better start early as the wind gets up after 11 am making walk a bit more challenging. Chill out on this section and enjoy the views of many different mountain ranges.
After an early breakfast we check in the airport for fly back to Pokhara, a 30-min dramatic flight to Pokhara between gorge of the two huge mountains, Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. On arrival at Pokhara airport, transfer to the lakeside hotel. We make use of the rest afternoon for discovering the beautiful Pokhara valley leisurely. While we walk along the bank of Fewa Lake, the second biggest lake of Nepal enjoying the Fish Tail Mountain reflected in the lake. You can also take a boat around the Fewa Lake or just can take an hour’s walk to the World Peace Pagoda. Evening time, we spend exploring around the lakeside.
It is a 25 minute flight to Kathmandu or, we start our 200 kilometers drive back to Kathmandu. Better to hold on the left pane of the vehicle to enjoy the sceneries through the route. Upon arrival in Kathmandu, you will be transferred to your hotel.