The Upper Mustang region of Nepal was only opened to international visitors relatively recently and visitor number are quite small. As a result Upper Mustang provides an unspoiled glimpse into traditional Tibetan life and culture in one of the most amazing landscapes in the entire Himalaya.
The Upper Mustang valley sits at the head of the Kali Gandaki River and visitors must pass through the enormous river gorge to the south in order to reach the “Kingdom of Lo” as the region was once called. This awe inspiring gorge is considered the deepest in the world. Upper Mustang lies in the northern Himalaya Mountains and so experiences a perpetual rain-shadow that blocks most of the rain clouds reaching Nepal from India. This makes Upper Mustang a very dry region, but it also makes the landscape intensely beautiful.
The culture of the traditional Tibetan people who live he is also beautiful. And it can be seen at its best in early May 2016 during the annual Tiji Festival. In 2016 the three-day festival starts on May 2nd, so international visitors will need to arrive in Kathmandu on April 24th to reach the Mustang capital of Lo Manthang by May 2nd. Click here for our 19 day itinerary at attend the 2016 Upper Mustang Tiji Festival.
The festival is known as “The Chasing of the Demons” as it focuses on banishing evil demons who threaten to stop the rains and dry up all the region’s water supplies. For a desert region this is a serious threat that requires some serious “demon chasing” through music, dance, singing and hypnotic chanting. This is one of the most colourful and enticing festival in Nepal.
The Tiji Festival is timed to occur in the spring season just before the annual monsoon rains are hoped to arrive from the south. So the energetic singing, music and chanting are designed to chase the demons away and allow the monsoon clouds to reach into the Upper Mustang valley. The festival also has a strong Buddhist influence as the name Tiji is derived from the Tibetan ten che meaning “hope of Buddha Dharma prevailing in the world”.
So, now is a great time to plan and book your trek to Upper Mustang, Nepal, for the May 2016 Tiji Festival. Help the people of Upper Mustang scare those demons away.