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Rajan Jung Adhikari

When Do People Celebrate Tiji Festival?

  • 6 months ago

When do people celebrate Tiji Festival?

There are several destinations recognized for festival treks in Nepal. As a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation, one can find more festivals and feasts than days of a year.

Every ethnic and religious community has their own festivals observed in typical ways. Nepal’s festival trek has drawn attention of thousands of international tourists as well.

Trips - When Do People Celebrate Tiji Festival?

From Mani Rimdu Festival of the Everest to the Tharu Festival of the Terai, from Hindu festivals to Tiji Festival of Upper Mustang; all are different in their performance and occasion. However, we find some similarities among them as well.

Among several festivals celebrated in the Upper Mustang Region, Tiji Festival is the most colorful one. We are sure that you would really love observing this festival once for a lifelong experience in Nepal you do it.

Before that, you would love to know “When do people celebrate Tiji Festival, right?” The core objective of this blog is to inform you the time when Tiji Festival is celebrated in Lo Manthang Kingdom.

When do people celebrate Tiji Festival?

Most often, Upper Mustang Tiji Festival is celebrated in the third month of Tibetan Calendar. According to Gregorian calendar, it falls in the month of May. Initially, the festival used to be celebrated around the end of the 12th month of the Tibetan calendar.

The term “Tiji” comes as the short form of “Tempa Chirim” meaning “Prayer for World Peace.” It is a 3-day long festival observed at the Choede Monastery belonging to the Sakya Sect of Buddhism.

Located in Lo Mantang, Mustang, Choede Monastery is one of the prominent shrines of the Tibetan Buddist religion in Nepal. Over 65 monks from Lo Manthang, Nhenyul, and Chhosyer headed by a Rimpoche live in the monastery.

Tiji Festival Trek takes you around the Upper Mustang located in the Trans-Himalayan Region close to the Tibetan Plateau. The trekking route detaches from Kagbeni, the gateway to Upper Mustang Trek leaving the Annapurna Circuit Trek route.

This trek lies in the rain shadow area of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Massifs. The amount of rainfall is very low or no in the rain shadow areas. Just like Upper Dolpo Trek, you can also make this trek in the monsoon season (June-August) as well.

Following the trail moving along the arid landscape of the Himalayan Desert of Nepal, you move from one monastery to the other. You also go past some of the high passes such as Nyi La Pass (3,660m), Taklam La Pass (3,625m), Dajong Pass (3,660m) and Bhena La Pass (3,830m.

In addition to Tiji, other festivals such as Yartung, traditional archery festival, Ghar Gumba and Luri Gumba festivals, Losar, especially, Gyalbo Losar are also observed in the Upper Mustang Region at different intervals. Therefore, Upper Mustang Region is a perfect destination for Festival Trek in Nepal.

Besides Choede Monastery, Thumbchen and Jamba are some of the monasteries. These sites are the wardrobe of true Tibetan Buddhist culture and tradition. The outstanding feature of Jamba Gompa is 1,500 mandalas representing the spiritual cosmos.

The legend behind Tiji Festival celebration:

Tiji Festival is celebrated to mark the victory of God over evil and virtue over vice. Behind the celebration of this festival, there is an interesting anecdote that’s often heard from the mouths of local people.

According to the legend, once, a demon namely Ma Tam Ru Ta troubled the Kingdom of Mustang and its people. He was about to collapse the kingdom by some havocs. Meanwhile a reincarnation of Buddha was born to protect the kingdom and its people.

Each of the 3 days Tiji Festival is celebrated by symbolizing the activities done by the demon and Dorji Sonam respectively. The monks represent these activities by performing different chhams (dances) by wearing masks and scary props. To list out the day, dance and activities in the table:

Day Dance Activities
1st Ba Chham The monks dance representing the havoc caused by the demon.
2nd Nga Chham The monks perform the role how Dorji Sonam tried his best to send the demon back to its realm.
3rd Rha Chham This dance indicates how Dorji Sonam got victory over and became successful in banishing the demon from the Kingdom of Mustang. The monk who plays the role of Dorji Sonam throws an effigy of the demon. The effigy is beautifully made by using Tsampa (barley straws).

When do people celebrate Tiji Festival 2022?

People celebrate Tiji Festival 2022 on 27 – 29 May, 2022. Enjoy the excellent views of the snowcapped peaks of the Annapurna Massif and the Dhaulagiri Massif.

Beside romantic vistas of the arid landscapes, the joy of Tiji Festival is more than enough for a lifetime experience in Nepal.

What are the Tiji Festival Trek permits?

Upper Mustang Tiji Festival Trek is a restricted area trekking in Nepal. Therefore, you don’t need TIMS Card for doing this trek.  The following are the required permits for Tiji Festival Trek:

  • Upper Mustang Restricted Area Permit

This permit cost is USD 500 for 10 days and then USD 50 from the 11th day. To do this trek, you need a special trekking permit and there must be two-member group accompanied by a government registered trekking guide.

Sometimes, you might also do this trek by joining with other groups or fellow trekkers. A local tour operator in Kathmandu can purchase the permit of restricted area trekking with other trekkers as well.

  • ACAP Entry Permit

Another permit for Upper Mustang Tiji Festival Trek is the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP). The ACAP entry permit is given even for individual trekkers from NTB Offices in Kathmandu and Pokhara.

Where to get the permits for Tiji Festival Trek to Upper Mustang?

ACAP entry permit can be obtained from the NTB Offices located in Kathmandu and Pokhara. But for restricted area trekking permit, you must be two in your group. The trekking company you book the trip with will purchase it.

You cannot find the restricted area trekking permit as individual trekkers. Similarly, an individual trekking guide is also not allowed to obtain such permit such permit. The only option is the trekking agency authorized for running such trekking in Nepal.

Concluding Words:

Upper Mustang Tiji Festival is one of the major attractions for festival treks in Nepal. The 3-day Tiji Festival and its celebration process show the cultural richness of Upper Mustang Trek.

This trek gives you a different experience of cultural beauty combined with beautiful landscapes of the Trans-Himalayan Region.

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