Upper Mustang, Religious Trek, TrekkingEasy

Religious Treks

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  • Destination:Nepal
  • Trip Grade:Easy

Tiji festival-Religious Treks

Tiji falls at the fall of May lasting three days and is celebrated in the Mustang District. An ancient trade route between Nepal and Tibet, Upper Mustang offers the best blend of observation of nature and colorful culture during this important festival, Religious Treks. Tiji means the Chasing of the Demons in the local language is based on the myth of deity – Dorje Jono who battled against his demon father to save the Kingdom of Mustang. The whole event and story is re-enacted in a colorful ceremony and feast.

This centuries-old festival still remains rarely seen by any outsiders due to the remoteness of the Upper Mustang.  It is observed in Lo Manthang of upper Mustang every year.  Two huge Thangkas are displayed during the festival. Over three days, the monks of Lomanthani Chhyode Gumba perform dances, one called “TsaChham” on the first day of the Tiji, and “Nga Chham” on the second day. On the third day final ceremony is performed by the Dhorje Sonam, and to perform this role, the monk has to go into seclusion for three months prior.  Dhorje Sonam hurls an effigy at Tsamppa, the representation of Ma Tam Ru Ta (demon father). It is believed that this act purifies the village from evil spirits. The Tiji festival shows the acts of the masked people who reenact the legendary tale of how Dorje Ono saved Mustang from his demon father who has hexed Mustang of water shortage. After days of costume dancing, religious music and feast, the Tiji festival ends in the third day.

Upper Mustang lies in the north of Kagbeni around the Kali Gandaki river and beyond the Annapurna massif. It resembles the Tibetan plateau with its yellow and gray rolling hills which were eroded by violent winds. It is a challenging trekking trail off the beaten track crossing also a difficult pass. The trails are rugged, cutting high into cliff sides and pass villages that have changed little over the last centuries. The spiritual trekking will take you to a promised land with views of Himalayan peaks dominated with the ridge of Annapurnas and Dhaulagiri accompanying you throughout the entire trek.

You require the permission to enter this Buddhist Kingdom of Mustang reflecting the medieval and unique ways of life of the Upper Mustang people. The religious treks also offers a view of the breathtaking experience of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna range as well as the majestic Kali Gandaki River. You will get the opportunity to visit beautiful Buddhist monasteries and nunneries built in hostile mountain ledges and stern cliffs, greeted by the dry wind.

For your convenience, you will have to fly from Pokhara to Jomsom and start the trek from there. Flying through the deepest gorge in the world itself, is a great adventure – which runs between the Dhaulagiri and the Nilgiri mountains.

You will reach Lo Mantang after five days of trekking through Jomsom to Kagbeni, Chaile, and Geling. And after spending four days take a long way back to Jomsom for the return flight.

Tengboche Festival

Mani Rimdu Festival is one of the fascinating Himalayan Buddhist festivals in Nepal. It is celebrated in the Everest region. Observed in November, the festival is three days long, open to the public and performed in the Tengboche monastery. It is 9 days sequence of sacred ceremonies and series of empowerment culminating 3 –day public festival. It also includes meditation, called Drupchen. It concludes with a special blessing ceremony by resident Rinpoche to the general public followed by the world-renowned Mask Dances performed by the monks. The festival completes with 3 noisy and colorful days of public celebration.

Tengboche monastery is located at 3800 meters in Everest region and holds a deep history within it that you will come to know once you get there. The Tiji festival starts with mask dances performed by the monks depicting victory of good over bad. Before the Mask dances are performed, the monks prepare Sand Mandala, the Empowerment, Fire Puja etc. as the final preparation. Hundreds of local Sherpa of this region attend the special performance with due respect. The dances depict conquering and converting demons by Guru Rinpoche and the introduction of Buddhism into Tibet.

Mani Rimdu festival for centuries has been observed annually at the Tengboche monastery. The monks all dress up in a mask to represent the old ghosts. The festival starts with an elaborate depiction of the Mandala diagram made with color and that is being taken from the holy hills. It usually takes four days to draw the Mandala and then it is covered. The mandala is the center of the religious festival that lasts for the next 9 days. The program includes 16 dances with interludes of comical effects.

You will experience the combination of the adventurous feeling of trekking, mesmerizing views and breathe of fresh air of new unseen culture. You will witness the stunning view of the world’s highest peaks Mt. Everest, Amadablam, Nuptse, Lhotse, Thamserku, Kantaga etc. The tall rhododendron forest is the home of Impeyan Pheasant, the national bird of Nepal, while the huge vultures dominate the skies above. Yellow-billed chough and black ravens play on the wind. One can also see the thar, goral and musk deer grazing on the steps terraces. Rocks are carved into with prayer and a bright flag hung in high passes that carry the message of peace and compassion around the valleys. 

Gosaikunda Festival

Gosainkunda Lake is a holy lake located in Langtang region of Nepal. It is a placid lake that is considered holy by both the Hindus and Buddhists alike in their own senses. Located at an altitude of 4360m in Langtang national park in Rasuwa district, Gosaikunda Lake is one of the most visited pilgrimage sites, religious treks in Nepal. The lake is surrounded by mountains. The lake is accompanied by nine other lakes.

This can be categorized as a short, easy and scenic trek situated near from Kathmandu. The trek offers panoramic scenery of Mt. Langtang range, Himal Chuli 7893m, Mt. Manaslu 8156m and Ganesh Himal range as well as often chance to see Annapurna Range in a clear day. The trail ascends across the forests from Dunche or Syabru. Also, on the way one could pass through a monastery and a cheese factory. The views on the trail are splendid and the sights of the mountains and the numerous small and big lakes are captivating.

You can amplify the joy of trekking to this lake with the cultural and religious value by visiting the area Janai Purnima, a festival that falls in the month of August every year. Large numbers of devotees come to perform various religious activities and take the chilled holy bath in the lake. There is a large rock in the middle of the lake which is believed to be the remains of Shiva shrine. It is also said that a medium carries water directly from the lake to the tank at the Kumbheshwar Temple in Patan in the Kathmandu Valley.

There is a legend that the lake is believed to have formed from digging the land by the Lord Shiva’s trisul (tridents) after he drank poison from the Samudra Manthan (churning the ocean by demons and gods) and wanted cold water to quench the burning in his throat. The holy lake water is considered significant particularly during the Janai Purnima festival. 

Every year thousands of pilgrims, Hindus mostly particularly from Nepal and India visit the lake for the religious treks and festivals.  

Yartung Festival

Yartung is centuries old festival and is one of the well-known festivals in Nepal. The people of lower Mustang eagerly awaits the day of Janai Purnima that falls in the month of August. The festival lasts for four days and concluded with the Horse riding contests. Locals from Muktinath and Thakali communities sing, dance and drink. The local king actively participates and witnesses the happenings. Colorful dresses, decorations, and custom of Tibetan origin exhibit the different fantasy world within the country, expressing the ancient culture of high Himalayas.

Yartung is traditionally celebrated to mark the safe return horses and other livestock from the high mountain pastures. The men also take the event as the opportunity to demonstrate the strength and agility of their horses and their own ability in animal husbandry.

You can enjoy the superb trekking into high Himalaya in the Annapurna region and also attend the traditional grand Yartung horse racing festival. This religious treks has many fantastic elements to it. For those who have never been to Nepal or even to other central Asian countries, it is hard to describe the richness and sheer contrast of the culture in this part of the world. You will see sights both human and natural that will expand your horizon immeasurably.

Your journey begins from the classically exotic city of Kathmandu with its warm, bustling and colorful streets and calms quiet temples. Then you will drive up through the ascending lowlands towards the inconceivably large wall of the Himalayan range. Over the next few days, you will ascend up through small mountain villages, arguably the most interesting and spectacular part of the legendary Annapurna Circuit trek. After the conclusion of the religious treks, you will set off to return or head to additional adventurous trekking as per your package.

Customize this Trip

Our trip to Nepal such a memorable one

I am part of a group of 4 girls who coordinated with Jagat for our 'mini' version of the Annapurna Circuit in early September 2017. We wanted to do the circuit badly but did not have enough time. Jagat and his team came up with a customized itinerary for us to start the trek from Jagat and end at Jomsom which we then flew to Pokhara to take a bus back to Kathmandu. The whole itinerary was very flexible and day to day arrangements can be altered by just communicating with our guide, Gopi. He will come up with the best plan to accommodate our wants and needs. 

From the moment we landed at the airport in Kathmandu to the moment we flew out of Nepal, everything was extremely well taken care of by Jagat and his team. Our guide, Gopi and porters, Raju and Tej (whom we call Dada) were like family to us during the entire trek. They were always checking on us to see if we have enough to eat, enough drinking water or can we cope with the trek. They even offered to carry our day packs when they saw us struggling. In fact, I think at most times, if not all, our interests were placed above theirs. They will go all the way out just to help you if there is anything you need at all on the trek. 

I don't think we'll be able to find another more patient, caring, trustworthy and detailed team of guides and porters. It was our pleasure to be able to trek with them. They had made our trip to Nepal such a memorable one that all of us didn't want the trip to end. Thank you for the great hospitality. I really look forward to visiting and trekking in Nepal again.

I would readily recommend Jagat and his team to anyone planning to trek in Nepal.

Love from Malaysia,

WanLing  

WanLing ,
Malaysia

This was my third trip to Nepal and most enjoyable.

I recently had the great pleasure of climbing Island Peak in the Khumbu, Nepal. Jagat Lama was a passionate and dependable resource for trekking and mountaineering in Nepal. He was on the spot as far as preparation for the trip. This was my third trip to Nepal and most enjoyable. Hiring a light and independent team allowed for a cost-effective, flexible and efficient way to climb in Nepal. His assistance was with me from the airport arrival through to departure. He took care of my every need and allowed me to focus on my goal of the summit of Island Peak. My climbing guide, his brother Lal, was competent, caring and successful. I left Nepal with new friendships. I readily endorse his services and would encourage anybody to go with the Independent Trekking Guides. They are honest, caring and willing to make your holiday the most memorable you have ever had. Please, don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about my experiences in Nepal.
Mark Lui,

It was my dream trip come true.
2010

I am 66 years old and have done a lot of hiking in the USA as well as climbing Mt. Fuji, Orizaba and Iztaacchuatl volcanoes in Mexico. We have hiked to the bottom and back of the Grand Canyon at least 25 times on most of the various trails to the bottom. For me, the crowning trek was to hike in the Himalayan range. We contacted Jagat Lama in Kathmandu, Nepal and signed up for our adventure to hike for two weeks with porters and guides. Our group of friends included three men and three women aged from 60 to 75. I'm sure this would be a daunting task for Jagat and his guides.

We all hiked from Lukla to Namche which was Bill's goal (he's the 75-year-old). One of the guides stayed with Bill, and we continued with the two outstanding guides, Chet and Chandra. These two guides did everything for us; got all of our bags from the porters and put in our rooms, took our menu selections to the cooks, and discussed the plans for the following day. The guides made allowances for some who were having some altitude adjustment issues and gave positive feedback to everyone. They were very patient with all of us and really tried hard to ensure we stayed healthy and happy. I can honestly say that these were two of the best guides weíve ever had. On our hikes, the guides had to work around some of us who liked to take pictures but needed to do some additional acclimation at higher altitude. As a result three of us were able to hike all the way to Mt. Everest base camp. It was like a moonscape. We met the Korean team that was going to climb Everest as soon as the weather looked better. The base camp is awesome with tents all over the place with prayer flags, and ice towers and rocks everywhere.

At 5:00 am we were going to climb Kalapathar (5545m.) When we went out it was snowing and foggy. The weather in the valley is usually clear in the morning, foggy in the afternoon, and big clouds in the later afternoon. Chandra said we should start for Kalapathar as he felt it would clear up - and sure enough, the snow stopped and the sun came out. We made it to the summit in snow and ice.

From this mountain, we took fantastic views of Mt. Everest and Lhotse. We saw an avalanche and heard the cracking sounds coming from the Khumbu glacier. The valley we hiked was very interesting. It surpassed my expectations. I had no idea how many memorials there would be erected for the Everest climbers. It's a sight to see. There were many stupas and monasteries. There are many rock faces that have a Buddha painted or adorned with prayer flags and the rows of prayer wheels to spin. The landscape goes from lush vegetation to flower trees, to pine trees and then the tree line to tundra and almost a moonscape. The children were fun to play with and photograph. As we headed down the valley to Lukla, my wife became sick and we saw that she couldn't hike all the way down. Our great guides arranged for a horse for her to ride so we wouldn't miss our plane. At Lukla, I took my wife to a new, wonderful hospital where she was treated and given medicine. When we reached Kathmandu, there was a strike by the Maoist Communist Party that closed all of the businesses. Jagat again came to our rescue by getting a van and getting us to the airport. He, Chet and Chandra babysat us to make sure we got through the security hassle and on to the right plane. I can't imagine anyone doing anything more or better that Jagat, Chet, and Chandra could have done to make this a wonderful experience that exceeded our expectations. I recommend his services to you if you're planning to go anywhere in Nepal or Tibet. It was my dream trip come true.
Everest Base Camp Trek
Bob Hacken / Catherine L. Bordner,
HOOD RIVER, OREGON 97031 USA

Dreams of trekking in the Himalaya.
May 2010

In April/May 2010 I was part of a group of nine individuals who used Jagat Lama to coordinate our trek to Kala Pattar and Everest Base Camp. From taking care of obtaining our TIMS cards on the first day all the way through to seeing us off to the airport in Kathmandu when our trip was finished, Jagat took care of everything. Trust me when I say that there are a lot of details that need tending to in between the two above events. Jagat and his crew exceeded all expectations and made our trip stress free. This fact allows one to concentrate of the arduous task of getting to Base Camp while trusting Jagat and his crew to care of the daily details such as obtaining food and shelter. I highly recommend that you do as I did and have Jagat and his crew work with you to meet your Nepali dreams of trekking in the Himalaya.
the-three-passes-trek
Tom Tracey,
Rose Valley, WA USA

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