Traveling is a better way to explore the culture, tradition, and way of life. Nepal is not the only country in the Himalayas, but a nation to learn about the lifestyle, tradition, and festivals. The culture and tradition of Nepalis in the high Himalayas are quite similar to that of Tibet. Tiji festival, celebrated in the 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 the Mustang district.
The Tiji festival is generally celebrated in May or June. 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 festival’s first day to represent the harassment done through the dance called Tsa Chham. Draped in their traditional attire, the monks from the Chhoedde monastery perform this unique dance.
Similarly, on the 2nd day of the festival, Lamas performs 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 the masked devil swinging wooden swords widely toward the terrified spectators.
The monks use an ancient musket to fire an arrow at the red devil made of tiger skin. More than five demons are thrown into the sand to indicate that the city has been rid of the demons.
The unrolling of the Thanka and mask dances are common cultural practices in the Nepal Himalayas and Tibet. Tiji festival Trek dates for 2022 will hold in Lo-manthang from May 27 to May 29 this year.
Getting to Upper Mustang
Upper Mustang is the most popular trekking area in Nepal. It is a restricted area, which means trekkers have to take the 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 and spectacular views of snow-capped mountains like Annapurna, Nilgiri, and Dhaulagiri, among many others. The Mustang region is opened to foreigners in 1992 only. Because of the isolated regions that helped maintain a way of life almost unchanged for centuries.