All You need to know about Tiji Festival

Nepal is a country with hundreds of festivals celebrated by different ethnic groups at different times. Among the many festivals, the Tiji Festival is the one celebrated by Buddhist people.

Tiji Festival is a great Tibetan-Buddhist festival that is celebrated in the Lo-Manthang City of Upper Mustang. This festival is of great importance to the people of Upper Mustang. The word “Tiji” stands for “Tenchi.” These are the short forms of Tenpa Chirim, meaning “prayer for world peace”.

It is a three-day festival. During each day, special performances are done and the crowd gets thicker and full of excitement. 

Day 1 of the Festival

The Tiji Festival officially starts at noon on the first day. Throughout the day, the villagers get ready for the event to begin. The festival starts early, with the sound of double-reeled horns, drums, cymbals, and Tibetan horns, or Dhungchen, being heard.

Tiji Festival Tour
Image: Tiji Festival

The entourage, which consists of regional performers and monks, starts at the monastery. Heading to the plaza, the monks take a seat beneath the huge Thangka, or painting, that hangs on the square’s southern wall. Next up is the “Tsa Chaam,” a masked dance. This dance with a mask narrates the tale of Dorje Jono’s triumph over evil.

Day 2

The monks perform the “Nga Cham” dance on the second day of the celebration. The story of Dorje Jono, who attempted to bring the demon back to the Buddha realm, is told on the second day. Female entertainers appear in the main square dressed in traditional clothing and jewelry. The primary practice showcasing the generation of celestial mansions and deities is the performance on the second day.

Day 3

The final day of the show falls on the third day of the Tiji Festival. The ceremonial music opens, and then comes the “Rha Chaam,” a masked dance. The performance emphasizes the defeat of evil and has a lively beat. 

Also Read: All about Pokhara Street Festival

All of the performers exit the stage for a closing ceremony, which is followed by more dancing, music, and gunfire. A barley effigy, representing the demon “Ma Tam Ru Ta,” is thrown by the monk performing Dorjee Sonam.

History of the Tiji Festival

The Tiji Festival has its roots in Tibetan Buddhism and is specific to the Mustang region, which was once part of the ancient Tibetan Empire. The festival is celebrated to commemorate the victory of good over evil and is based on the myth of Dorje Jono (also known as Vajrakila), a deity revered in Tibetan Buddhism.

According to legend, Dorje Jono, a revered deity, is believed to have battled against a demon named Ma Tam Ru Ta, who was causing havoc by bringing drought and destroying crops. The deity Dorje Jono ultimately defeated the demon, bringing peace and prosperity to the region.

The Tiji Festival is a three-day event filled with colorful rituals, dance performances, and religious ceremonies. Monks from the local monasteries perform masked dances known as “Chhode” to reenact the triumph of Dorje Jono over the demon. These dances depict various elements of the mythological battle, showcasing the victory of good forces over evil.

Tiji Festival

The festival holds immense cultural significance for the people of Mustang. It not only symbolizes the triumph of good over evil but also serves as a way to pray for peace, prosperity, and the well-being of the community. The colorful performances, music, and rituals also attract visitors from around the world, contributing to the preservation and promotion of the region’s unique cultural heritage.

In recent years, the Tiji Festival has gained popularity beyond the local community, attracting tourists and travelers interested in experiencing the rich cultural traditions and witnessing the vibrant festivities of the Mustang region. The festival has become an essential aspect of Mustang’s identity and serves as a window into its ancient traditions and beliefs.

When is the Tiji Festival celebrated?

In Mustang, Nepal, the Tiji Festival is celebrated by the Tibetan lunar calendar, specifically in the third month, which is referred to as “Sakadawa” in Tibetan Buddhism. This generally corresponds to the Gregorian months of April through May.

Treks by us in the Upper Mustang region

A unique and remote area in the Mustang region that was formerly inaccessible to outsiders is the Upper Mustang Trek, which includes the Tiji festival. Envision a hidden Buddhist kingdom encircled by massive mountains, such as the 8,000+ meter-high Dhaulagiri and Annapurna. Tight laws governing visitors to this region have been crucial in maintaining long-standing customs.

Tiji Festival of the Forbidden Kingdom
Image: Tiji Festival of the Forbidden Kingdom

The Upper Mustang was one of the world’s best-preserved areas because of its isolation from the outside world and designation as a limited demilitarized zone until 1992. The bulk of people continue to speak traditional Tibetan languages when interacting. The word “Mustang” comes from a Tibetan phrase that means “Plain of Aspiration.”

After the Upper Mustang trip became accessible to foreigners only in 1992, this area has grown in popularity as a trekking destination, drawing tourists all year long, no matter the season.

Tiji Festival Itinerary

The Trek concludes in a total of 30 days which is almost a month following the listed itinerary:

  • Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu
  • Day 2: Sightseeing in Kathmandu
  • Day 3: Visit Bouddhanath and Kapan Monastery
  • Day 4: Visit Pharping Monastery
  • Day 5: Kathmandu to Namobuddha
  • Day 6: Kathmandu to Bandipur (Drive duration: 5/6 hours.)
  • Day 7:  Bandipur to Lumbini (Drive duration: 5/6 hours.)
  • Day 8: Visit Tilaurakot and Lumbini sightseeing
  • Day 9: Lumbini to Pokhara, (Drive duration: 7/8 hours)
  • Day 10: Sightseeing In Pokhara
  • Day 11: Drive from Pokhara to Tatopani (Driving Duration 5 Hours)
  • Day 12: Drive to Kagbeni via Muktinath. (Driving Duration 5 Hours)
  • Day 13: Drive to Charang (Driving Duration 6 Hours)
  • Day 14: Tsarang to Lo-Manthang and Explore Lo-Mangthang ( Driving Duration 1 hour)
  • Day 15: Tiji Festival in Lo-Mangthang (1st day)
  • Day 16: Tiji Festival in Lo-Mangthang (2nd day)
  • Day 17: Tiji Festival in Lo-Mangthang (3rd day)
  • Day 18: Drive back to Marpha (Driving Duration 5/6 hours)
  • Day 19: Drive Back to Pokhara (Driving duration-7/8 hours)
  • Day 20: Pokhara Monastery visit
  • Day 21: Drive back to Kathmandu
  • Day 22: Enjoy in Kathmandu or Free day in Kathmandu
  • Day 23: Departure 

Cost for the trek

The cost for this tour has been made keeping all the factors in account and made very affordable and reasonable. The total cost for this tour is $3099 per person.

The cost includes the following:

  • All land transportation by private vehicle with the driver is based on the above-mentioned program.
  • 7-night hotel accommodation at Hotel Yatri Suites & Spa or Similar at Thamel on a Breakfast Basis.
  • 1-night hotel accommodation at Old Inn or Similar at Bandipur on Breakfast Basis.
  • 2-night hotel accommodation at Sakya Guest House or Similar at Lumbini on a Breakfast Basis.
  • 4-night hotel accommodation at Hotel Crystal Palace or Similar at Pokhara on a Breakfast Basis.
  • 8-night hotel accommodation on an available local lodge (during the mountain) on a Full board basis (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner).
  • As mentioned the hotel accommodations are a twin-sharing basic.
  • An experienced, English-speaking, and government-licensed holder guide entire your trip
  • Staff costs include their salary, insurance, equipment, food, and accommodation.
  • Restricted Area Permit for Upper Mustang & other required permits and park fees.
  • All government and local taxes.

Leave a Reply

Plan Your Trip