There is no better time to visit the Mustang region than during the Tiji Festival! The whole district has a spiritual aura around it during this auspicious 3-day festival, which celebrates the victory of God over Demon and Good over Evil. While on the Upper Mustang Tiji Festival Trek, you feel like you’re in some faraway land, frozen in time, participating in age-old rituals. Well, that’s not too far off from reality. Not to mention, The Upper Mustang Tiji Festival Trek leads you through one of the most well-preserved landscapes in the world. Characterized by gigantic Himalayan peaks, ancient sky-caves, and desolate wilderness, the trail never ceases to amaze those seeking an unparalleled trekking experience.
The allure of the Tiji Festival lies in the rich mythology and animated rituals that take place. The monks of Choedhe and surrounding monasteries in Lo-Manthang dress in elaborate costumes to re-enact the story and celebrate its significance. The story has it, the Mustang region was in trouble years ago. A demon was wreaking havoc on the area, spreading disease and taking away the people’s water. Then, Dorje Jono (an incarnation of Buddha) defeated the demon, sparing the Mustang region from destruction.
While on the Upper Mustang Tiji Festival Trek, you are not just an onlooker of the festival; you get to actively participate in it with the local people. Absorb the energy and excitement radiating from the monks and the Lobas (natives of the Mustang region). After three days of festivities in Lo-Manthang, we take our time descending. There are more remote monasteries to visit and ancient Buddhist monuments to see! The final destinations of the Upper Mustang Tiji Festival Trek are Muktinath and Jomsom. Muktinath has a famous pilgrimage site with an incredible viewpoint, and Jomsom is a wonderful place to wind down and celebrate the end of a once-in-a-lifetime spiritual adventure.
Upcoming Tiji Festival Dates
Tiji Festival 2020 will be celebrated from May 19th to May 21st. This lies at the beginning of the monsoon season in Nepal, but have no fear! Upper Mustang lies in the Himalaya’s rainshadow, so you’ll be nice and dry throughout the trek. The date for Tiji Festival 2021 has not been finalized yet.
Permit for the Upper Mustang Tiji Festival Trek
All foreigners must obtain a special permit to enter the Upper Mustang region. You have to have a Restricted Area Permit (RAP), which costs $500 USD for 10 days, and $50 per day for each additional day. Restricted areas also require that you go with a licensed guide. To get a RAP, you must also be in a group of 2+ people. If you don’t have a partner, don’t worry. We can find another group for you to join so it is possible for you to take the Upper Mustang Tiji Festival Trek. Also, because the area belongs to the Annapurna region as well, you have to get the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) permit, which is $20 USD and is valid until the end of the trek. Note that the standard TIMS card is not required for this trek.