Explore the hidden mustang valley in the northwestern Nepal and traverse across the rocky landscape. The wind and…
18 Night 19 Days
Tiji festival is the greatest festival in Mustang region that lasts for three days and centered around a myth regarding Dorje Dojo – a deity who defeated his demon father and saved Mustang. As such, this festival is celebrated with utmost grandeur in front of the King’s palace. The Tiji festival takes place from 12th – 14th May 2018 in Upper Mustang.
Explore the fascinating barren landscape of the Mustang valley as you traverse through the rocky and uneven lands. The last forbidden kingdom of Nepal is considered a hidden gem due to its sheer beauty, the desert-like landscape with the backdrop of the magnificent Mt. Dhaulagiri (8,157m), Annapurna Range and Nilgiri mountains. Throughout our trek, we will pass through many villages- most of us which follow Buddhist religion. Along the way, the availability of the chortens, monasteries and prayer flags makes this a cultural tour along with a natural one. The walled city of Lo Manthang is also one the major attraction of the tour along with the Tiji festival.
The proceeds from the Tiji Festival trek will be given to the marginalized community residing the rural Nepal. You will be indirectly helping the people who don’t have access to fundamental needs.
Mustang is called the ‘The Last Forbidden Kingdom of Nepal’. It is one of the last remnants of the Tibetan and Buddhist religion in the world. Mustang has been able to retain all of its ancient cultures as it has been isolated from the outside world. It was only in 1992 that the route was opened for the tourists and even today you need a permit to enter this heavenly land. However, in such a short span of time, this trekking route has garnered much fame and today it has become a sensation. The trek to Mustang is considered of the most sought trek in the entire country.
Initially, the trail we take is that of Annapurna Circuit trek. However, we diverge our path from that route and enter the Mustang valley. Unlike many another trek with lush green vegetation and thick forests, Mustang has somewhat barren landscape. The harsh wind and rocky terrains make this trek different from others. Despite that, the natural scenery that one can enjoy cannot be underestimated as you will be exposed to the beauty of the Mustang valley and the view of the amazing western Himalayas at a distance.
Apart from the natural landscape that this trek provides us, the religious and cultural essence of this trek is no less powerful. From the unique lifestyle and culture of the ethnic people to the Buddhist chortens and monasteries and prayer flags, the Tiji festival trek blends the nature and culture perfectly. The uncharted Mustang valley mostly follows the Tibetan Buddhist religion which is unique to the region alone.
Tiji festival trek is slightly different from the traditional Upper mustang trek in a sense that this one is specifically tailored for the trekkers to get in time for three days Tiji festival held every year. So, compared to the Mustang trek, the trails will be crowded as many will be waiting to witness the grand festival in the walled city of Lo Manathang. This is tailored such that you will reach Lo Manthang on the date of the first day of the festival i.e. 12th May 2018. Throughout the festival, we can enjoy the exquisite mask dance done by the monk’s in the city as well as swordsmanship display that is praiseworthy on its own. The town square is filled with people who come to enjoy the characters who play the role of demons in their own flashy costumes and role play that leaves little to be said.
This is an easy yet long trek. Trekkers don’t have to do excessive climbing and the altitude won’t pose much of a problem. So, this is a perfect opportunity for the novice trekkers.
During this trek, you will get a chance to contribute something to the marginalized people in the rural area of Nepal. Volunteer’s Initiative Nepal is a social organization who will contribute the proportion of your fund that goes toward the expense of this trek to provide basic needs to the people. They are people who have been deprived of the fundamental facility and need the support of people like you. With this proceeding, they will be given food, clothes, shelter as well as education as per their requirement. So, this once in a lifetime journey to the Upper Mustang gives you the opportunity to not only witness the century-old Tiji festival and the beauty of the uncharted Mustang but also a chance to matter to someone and help make their life worth living.
Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu
You will arrive in Kathmandu – the capital city of Nepal via Tribhuvan International Airport and transported to your hotel. After settling your luggage, you can rest for a while after which you can stroll around the city and enjoy the nightlife at Thamel.
Day 2: Sightseeing in Kathmandu
This is a day when you get to visit some of the cultural and religious sites in Kathmandu valley. The list includes Pashupatinath – the holy temple for Hindu, Durbar squares – the palace of the ancient kings, Swoyambhunath – the monkey temple and holy site for Buddhist as well as Bouddhanath – the largest stupa in the world. At the evening, you will be briefed about the trek.
Day 3: Kathmandu – Pokhara
Early morning breakfast and we drive to Pokhara. Pokhara is the considered the tourist destination of Nepal. Throughout the way, we can enjoy the view of the stunning looking hills, the Trishuli river, and the wide terrains. We will also pass through various towns and villages. Reaching Pokhara, we can enjoy cycling in this clean city and stroll around in the nightlife of Pokhara.
Day 4: Pokhara – Kagbeni
We take our breakfast back to the hotel and drive to Airport and fly to Jomsom which is famous for its apple and the product made of it. From Jomsom, we start our trek. We trek alongside the great Kali Gandaki valley. As we traverse through the thin forests and shrubs we can enjoy the view of the western Himalayas including Mt. Dhaulagiri, Mt. Tukuche among others. We reach Kagbeni and stay for the night. 30 minutes of flight. 4 hours of walk. BLD included.
Day 5: Kagbeni – Chele (3,050m)
Kagbeni serves as an entry point to the Upper Mustang region. So, there’s a checkpoint where we have to show our permit to enter. Heading west we reach the valley of Chuksang. We ascend through a rocky trail with few trees in the area. After coming to a plain land, we have to cross a wooden bridge that takes us across the great Kali Gandaki River. Few stretches and we reach Chele. 6 hours of walk. BLD included.
Day 6: Chele – Syanboche (3,475m)
Initially we have to climb a rocky trail that takes us to the first pass of the day- The Taklam La (3,624m). From the pass, we can see the entire rocky landscape and the mountains at a distance.From there; we ascend through the rocky terrain and reach Dajori La (3,735m) to reach the Samar village. A few ups and downs and re pass thin forests reaching an open area with wild animals grazing. Continuing on we reach Syanboce where we stay overnight. 7 hours of walk. BLD included.
Day 7: Syanboche – Ghami (3,520m)
This is a rather difficult day as we have to climb three passes – the Yamda La (3,850m), the Nyi La (4,010m) and Ghami La. There are many Buddhist chortens and prayer flags that we can see along the way that signifies the prevalent Buddhist religion in the area. We reach the Ghami that is the third largest city in Mustang with a many red chortens and mani walls both within and on the outskirts of the city. 6 hours of walk. BLD included.
Day 8: Ghami – Tsarang (3,620m)
We trek rather early as the wind may obstruct the trek later on. So, we initially climb down through a slippery rocky trail. Then it’s a long suspension bridge that takes us over the Ghami Khola. Tsarang La(3,810m) is the only pass we have to cross. The landscape looks barren like a desert with no greenery till miles. We reach Tsarang – the second largest city in Mustang. There are more chortens in the city. We can also visit the monastery in the area. 6 hours of walk. BLD included.
Day 10: Tsarang – Lo Manthang (3,730m)
We start off by asending to Lo La (3,950m). From the pass, we can witness the beautiful rocky landscape and the view of the blue mountains in the distance, an amalgamation of which looks unsurpassable. Climbing down through the rock formation we reach the walled capital city of Lo Manthang just in time for the frist day of the festival which starts in the afternoon.
Day 11: Exploration in Lo Manthang – second day of Tiji Festival
We explore around the walled city and visit the monasteries in the area. There’s also a cave that we can visit. In the afternoon we enjoy the second day of the festival. Monks will dance with masks and the sheer peole witnessing this festival makes it a great experience.
Day 12: Exploration in Lo Manthang – last day of Tiji festival
In the morning we can witness the majestic mountains like Annapurna I (8,091m) and the Nilgiri mountains as the backdrop to the beautiful grey desert. This will be last day of the Tiji festival so we gather in the town hall and enjoy the iconic dances and people showing their artistic sword skills. We gather for dinner and interact with the friendly local people.
Day 13: Lo Manthang – Drakmar (3,730m)
We will use the alternative route to return. Since Lo Manthang lies in the foothills, we initially ascend above the hill from where we gaze at the walled city of Manthang for one last time. Then we descend downhill and reach the Gyakar village. The landscape is barren and rocky with the wind blowing fiercely. We continue through this trail and reach Drakmar. 7 hours of walk. BLD included.
Day 14: Drakmar – Ghliing (3,806m)
Trekking is very easy as we walkthrough the rocky landscape. We gradually ascend the brown hills from where the Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri mountains become more and more visible. Nearing the village of Ghiling we get exposed to some greenery after a long time. Few trees can be seen in the village along with the Buddhist mani paintings on the wall and red chortens. We stay overnight. 6 hours of walk. BLD included.
Day 15: Ghiling – Chhuksang (3,050m)
Some more trekking in the barren landscape with the uneven trail. We descend down the rocky hills and pass few villages to reach Chhuksan. This village is famous for the artistic rocks, the elegant painting, and red chortens. The friendly villagers are welcoming and entertaining as they will show you’re their lifestyle and food. 5 hours of walk. BLD included.
Day 16: Chhuksang – Jomsom
This will be the last day of the trek. Traversing through the rocky terrain we descend down the Mustang valley and reach its end. This departs us from the Mustang valley and takes us to the trail of Annapurna circuit. The brown barren landscape is substituted with some trees and greenery. You will feel like arriving in a different country. We stop by Kagbeni for some rest and after walking for few stretches reach Jomson. We stay overnight at a lodge. 7 hours of walk. BLD included.
Day 17: Jomsom- Pokhara
It’s a short flight to Pokhara. Form the plane, we can see the majestic mountains of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri at their full might. As we fly alongside this ice giants, the scenery makes for one of the greatest. The short flight ends in Pokhara and you will be taken to your hotel. You will have the entire day to yourself and Pokhara is by no means, any short of touristic destination. Boating in the great and pristine Fewa Lake is famous among the tourists. Cycling around town is another alternative. There’s a pagoda atop of the hill that we can visit. As the day falls, the city becomes lit with the exquisite light and live music. There are many pubs and bars you can visit. 30 minutes of flight. Breakfast included.
Day 18: Pokhara – Kathmandu
After our breakfast back in the hotel, we will leave for Kathmandu. The path is the same which we initially came from. The hills, villages, terrace plantation, as well as the river, makes an awesome time. Reaching Kathmandu, you will time to stroll around the city and go for souvenir shopping to take back home. 8 hours of drive. BLD included.
Day 19: Departure
The long yet short journey to the Upper mustang has come to an end. It’s time to bid farewell to the beautiful nation. Depending on the time of arrival you will be transported to the Tribhuvan International Airport where you have to wait until the time of departure.
-Flight Fair (Guest and Guide)
-Airport pickup and Drop.
-Budget Hotel Accommodation on bed breakfast plan
-All ground transportations as per itinerary
-3 meals per day during the trek (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner) and one cup of tea with per meal
-Accommodation on Tea-house during the trekking
-An experienced English Speaking Guide
-Necessary Porter 1: 2 (one porter for two Guests), the porter will Carry 15-20KG/
-All applicable taxes as per the government rules and regulations
-(TIMS) Trekker’s information Management System
-First Aid medical kit, Oxymeter to check pulse, heart rate and oxygen saturation at higher altitude
-General equipment for Porter during the adventure trip
-Guide and porter salary and insurance during the trek
-All organizational requirements
– Nepal visa fee
-Your International flights
-Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
– Mountain rescue service if required
-Personal expenses (phone, laundry, water, bar drinks, battery recharge, extra porters, hot shower etc.)
-Trip cancellation cost accident or Health, Loss Theft or Damage and personal effects