Traveling is the better way to explore the culture, tradition, and way of life. Nepal is not the only country of the Himalayas, but a nation to learn about the lifestyle, tradition, and their festivals. The culture and tradition of Nepalis in the high Himalayas is quite similar to that of Tibet. Tiji festival, celebrated in upper Mustang of Nepal, is one of the most famous festivals in the Himalayas of Nepal. Lo-manthang is a forbidden kingdom, now a rural municipality in Mustang district.
The Tiji festival generally celebrates in May or June. The King Samduk Rabden started the Tiji Festival in the 17th century. To commemorate the triumph of Dorje Sonnu – a monstrous being that ravaged human flesh. The monks offer prayers for world peace and also for overcoming any obstacles in the future. This festival is three days of annual events in Lo-manthang, upper Mustang.
Tiji Festivals: A Three Days of an annual Festival
Man Tam Ru marked the first day of the festival to represent the harassment doing through the dance called Tsa Chham. Draped in their traditional attire, the monks from Chhoedde monastery perform this unique dance. Similarly, one the 2nd day of the festival, Lamas perform a dance called Nga Chham, portraying the birth of Dorje Sonnu as a son of a demon. The traditional dance on the 3rd day of the celebrations represents an effort to reinstate the country to Lord Buddha from the devil’s hand.
The monks chant prayers and perform almost 50 separate religious dances to chase demons from Lo-manthang during the Tiji festivals. They are following with the masked devil swinging wooden swords widely towards the terrified spectators. The monks use ancient musket to fire an arrow to the red devil made of tiger skin. More than five demons are throwing into the sand to indicate that the city has got rid of the demons.
The unrolling of the Thanka and mask dances are common cultural practices in the Nepal Himalayas as well as Tibet. Tiji festival is being celebrated in Lo-manthang from May 31 to June 2 this year.
Getting to Upper Mustang
Upper Mustang is the most popular trekking areas in Nepal. It is a restricted area which means trekkers have to take services of government authorized trekking companies in the group (minimum size is 2) paying a special permit fee of US$ 500 per person for ten days. The Tiji festival trek begins from Jomsom where regular air service is available from Pokhara. Alternatively, you can get a bus to Jomsom from Kathmandu and Pokhara.
The Upper Mustang trek offers you a taste of Nepali ethnic culture as well as spectacular views of snow-capped mountains like Annapurna, Nilgiri, Dhaulagiri among many others. The area is opened to the foreigners in 1992 only. This isolation helped maintain a way of life almost unchanged for centuries.