Mustang Tiji Festival Trek – stunningly colourful Buddhist monks mask dance
Upper Mustang known as Lo is a remote Himalayan province situated north of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges which is being surrounded by the Tibetan plateau on all sides expect the south which links with Nepal. Due to its proximity to and long association with Tibet, Tibetan Buddhist lifestyle, religion, art and culture remain intact on this rain shadow upper Mustang. We can see its magnificent monasteries, palaces and the remains of massive, rambling forts due to its rich and flourishing independent walled kingdom in the 15th and 16th centuries. Most of monasteries in upper Mustang belong to the Sakayapa sect, represented by colored strips of grey, white and red. The People of Lo are highly religions and prayers and festivals such as Tiji form an integral part of their lives. This TIJI festival Mustang trek offer a great opportunity to all the trekkers to experience the local Tibetan culture at its best form.
Tiji is three days long annual festival celebrated at Lo Manthang in front of King’s palace, which is one of the most well-known and revered festival in the whole Mustang region. It is a time of celebration and religious pilgrimage for the people of Lo. The festival initially began as a religious ceremony, to ward off obstacles and suffering that might befall the region. Later it also come to symbolize the hope and strength of the people of Lo which is divided into seven provinces known as Lo Tso Dhun. People in Mustang strongly believed that the Tiji festival bring the hope and peace and protect them from evil forces. It base of the myth of a deity Dorje Shunu also called Vajrakila, who took rebirth to subdue all the evil forces and demons that created hell and suffering on earth. Through the power of Tiji festival dances and the variety of forms he takes, The deity defeats the demons and thereby bring peace and prosperity to the kingdom. Thus the festival depicts the victory of good over evil.
It is believe that people of Lo Manthang started to celebrate the Jiji festival from 15 century on the time of Lama Lowo Khenchen, one of the greatest Buddhist teacher and son of King Amgon Sangpo. During the three-day masked dance Tiji festival in Lo Monthang, upper Mustang, the chosen monk representing Dorge Shunu reveals his various forms and an ancient Thangka painting of Guru Rimpoche Padmasambhava is being displayed as the beating of drums and chanting fill the air of Lo Manthang.
In the days approaching Tiji, the trails from the surrounding villages to Lo Manthang are packed with local people and mule caravans and some driving on Jeep now a days to participate and celebrated their most waited annual festival. Thus Mustang Tiji festival trek become a special holiday trip to Nepal Himalayas for trekkers around the world to witness the diverse topography with spellbound festival at its best form, no where else can be seen. Mountain Monarch is regularly organising this special Upper Mustang Tiji festival trek each year and the booking for 2018 trip is already open, seats are limited. Thus hurry up and reserve your place to witness this Tiji festival in Lo Monthang upper Mustang in May 2018.