Upper Mustang Tiji Festival 2024

Color, Splendor, chanting, and dancing are all unexpected elements during a regular hike. However, on the Mustang Tiji festival hike, you will experience all that and more. Tiji festival or the Tenchi festival is locally referred to as Tenpa Chirim. An eagerly-awaited festival, Tiji marks the end of a long drought and consists of prayers for a bountiful harvest.

Dance Performance at Upper Mustang Teji Festival
Dance Performance at Upper Mustang Teji Festival (Credit: Roberta Elefante)

It is believed that the ancient walled kingdom of Lo Manthang had once been plagued by a demon who spread drought and disease. As per the legend, the Buddhist deity Vajrakila (more commonly known as Dorje Jono) defeated the demon and brought prosperity upon Lo. 

Why embark on the Tiji festival tour?

In honor of a Buddhist miracle, the monks of Chhode monastery perform the special Vajrakila ritual for the well-being of all sentient beings, while dispelling all negative elements in Mustang. Thus, every year, in the third month of the Tibetan calendar, religious dances are performed over three days in the courtyard of Mustang Royal Palace.

foreigners attending upper mustang teji festival
Foreigners attending Upper Mustang Teji Festival (Credit: Roberta Elefante)

Preparations for the festival start approximately three months earlier. However, during your Tiji festival tour, you will see the once-forbidden kingdom of Lo Manthang coming together to celebrate this grand Buddhist festival. Mustang’s unique topography, along with the three-day celebration is sure to leave you spellbound.

Tiji festival dates for the year 2024

Nepal follows a lunar calendar, and religious or traditional festival dates may alter according to the lunar cycle that year. Traditionally, the festival is said to be celebrated on the 27th, 28th, and 29th day of the 3rd Tibetan month. Translated to the Gregorian calendar, these are the tentative dates:

1st day5th May
2nd day6th May
3rd day7th May

Mark your calendars for an adventure!
With Himalayan Glacier, you can plan your trip to perfectly coincide with the Tiji festival! Don’t miss out on experiencing the most significant festival of Mustang by starting your trip preparations now!

How to get there?

Lo Manthang is tucked into the northern-most corner of Mustang, in the Gandaki province of western Nepal. There are various ways you can reach Lo for your Tiji festival tour. 

1. Rumble by on a bus 

Rumbling along dusty roads with the majestic Himalayas as your constant backdrop. Now, there’s an even more economical and culturally enriching option available – taking a bus to Upper Mustang. Opt for the convenience of a direct bus ride from Kathmandu to Muktinath, located approximately 45km south of Lo Manthang, and immerse yourself in the captivating landscapes along the way.

traveling to upper mustang via bus

A considerably more comfortable route would be to split the journey into two. 

  • Take a bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara (about 6-7 hours)
  • Pokhara to Jomsom (about 7 hours)
  • Drive from Jomsom to Lo Manthang (about a 7-8-hour drive, via Ghami)

2. Zip by on a Jeep 

A more private, and comfortable option to travel to Lo Manthang would be to book a jeep. You will find public jeeps as well, which will be a little more crowded. However, it is one of the most convenient ways to travel to the arid and gravelly Upper Mustang. 

traveling to lo manthang via jeep

The journey by jeep will be split into a few days. Here’s a rough overview of the jeep journey: 

  • Drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara (approx. 6-hour drive)
  • Drive from Pokhara to Jomsom (approx. 6-hour drive)
  • Jomsom to Chuksang (approx. 6-hour drive)
  • Chuksang to Lo Manthang, via Samar, and Tsarang (approx. 6-hour drive) 

3. Fly and Hike: get the best of both worlds

Experience the enchanting magic of the Upper Mustang Trek as you hike through the arid valleys. Immerse yourself in the vastness of the Himalayas, allowing for a detailed exploration of Upper Mustang, the last Forbidden Kingdom in Nepal. Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect from this extraordinary trek:

Jomsom Airport
Jomsom Airport

  • Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara (approx. 30 min)
  • Flight from Pokhara to Jomsom (approx. 30 min)
  • Trek from Jomsom to Kagbeni (approx. 4-hour hike)
  • Kagbeni to Chele (approx. 6-hour hike)
  • Chele to Syanbochen (approx. 7-hour hike)
  • Syanbochen to Ghami (approx 6-hour hike)
  • Ghami to Tsarang (approx. 6-hour hike)
  • Tsarang to Lo-Manthang (approx. 4-hour hike)

Looking to travel with knowledgeable guides? 
Our well-experienced, English-speaking local guides will ensure you don’t miss out on a single magical thing. See the best of Lo Manthang during your Mustang Tiji festival tour with Himalayan Glacier. 

Must-knows before traveling for the Tiji festival:

1. Delays, technicalities, and how to be prepared.

Due to difficulties in topography and climate, flights to Mustang are known to get delayed often. However, it is better to fly a little later than to suffer an unfortunate consequence. Make sure you’re well prepared with little snacks and comfortable clothes to wait at the airport for a longer time than you initially expected. 

2. Get to know Mustang better

The demographic of Upper Mustang is mostly of Tibetan and Thakali descent. They are one of the few communities that practice pure Tibetan Buddhism. Apart from religious customs, certain olden social practices still remain. One, in particular, is the practice of fraternal polyandry (brothers of the same family all marrying the same girl). It is still a socially acceptable custom. 

3. Make friends with the locals! 

While there are certain lost dialects of the dry valley, most inhabitants converse in Nepali. Some greetings phrases you can use to familiarize yourself with the locals are: 

  • Namaste: Greetings, hello.
  • Dhanyabaad: Thank you
  • Tapai Lai Kasto Cha?: How are you?
  • Yo Ke Ho?: What is this?
  • Maile Bujhe: I understand. 

4. Reach dizzying heights

Don’t be hasty to reach Lo in your excitement to witness the festival! Lo Manthang, lying in Upper Mustang is at 3,730m (12,238ft.) above sea level. If you aren’t experienced with high-altitude hiking in Nepal, take necessary precautions. Don’t forget to take your time during your ascend!

The mystique of the Hidden Kingdom

Lo Mathang is actually considered Nepal’s hidden kingdom, founded in 1380 AD. Lo was closed to visitors until the early 1990s. Today, shrouded in the mystique of its people and the magic of Tibetan Buddhism, it remains one of Nepal’s most exclusive trekking areas. The entrance permit required by visitors is issued to small organized groups only, as a result of which, approximately only 1,000 visitors are able to visit Lo Manthang in a year.

Do you want to know more about traveling to Mustang and witnessing the Tiji festival? You can message us on Facebook or Whatsapp us at +1-860-593-1567 to talk to our travel experts. Happy travels!

Leave a Reply

Planning a Trip?

We have a pool of travel experts working in this industry for more than a decade. Consult to get started.

Book a Call Back