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Mustang Tiji Festival Trek 2025

Mustang Tiji Festival Trek 2025
Mustang Tiji Festival Trek 2025

Trip Facts:

Destination
Nepal/Mustang
Group Size
Max People: 2-12
Region
Annapurna Region
Trip Duration
16 Days
Activities
Trekking / Sightseeing
Culture
Tibetan
Meals
B/B in Kathmandu & Pokhara full board (B/L/D) during trekking
Accommodation
Hotel/ Lodge
Max Elevation
3840
Best Month
March to November
Trip Grade
Moderate / Adventure
Trek Starts / Ends
Kathmandu, Nepal
Transportation
Domestic flights/ Private Vehicle

Overview

Upper Mustang is a breathtaking trekking destination in Nepal, known for its ancient monasteries, mystical caves, and striking landscapes. Often called the "forbidden kingdom," it was opened to trekkers in 1992 but still feels like a secluded, ancient world. Located north of the Annapurna region near the Tibetan border, Upper Mustang is one of the last strongholds of untouched Tibetan culture. What makes this trip unique is, that whilst traveling through an unmatched landscape and culture, you do so during one of the most magical cultural festivals in the world: the ancient Tibetan Tiji festival!

Your journey begins in Kagbeni, a medieval village surrounded by apple orchards and snowy peaks and ends at the ancient capital of Lo-Manthang. This walled city of whitewashed mud bricks is alive with Buddhist prayer wheels and stupas. Because of its remote location, accommodations are sparse, requiring camping and carrying in all necessities, which adds to the trek's authentic adventure.

The trek covers elevations from 2,750 meters to 4,207 meters, spans ten days, and ranges from moderate to strenuous difficulty. It is best done in the summer to avoid harsh winter conditions. The experience is fully supported with all meals and equipment provided, and experienced local guides and porters help carry the load.

Upper Mustang, often referred to as "Tibet outside the Tibetan border," connects to Tibet to the north and the rest of Nepal to the south by a new road. This trek not only allows you to witness a region rich in Tibetan culture that survived the Chinese invasion of 1951 but also lets you step back in time and explore the enduring spirit of an ancient kingdom.

History

Mustang, located in the Himalayas of Nepal, was once an independent kingdom deeply connected by culture and language to Tibet. Between the 15th and 17th centuries, it prospered as a vital trading hub, controlling commerce between the Himalayan highlands and the plains of India. However, by the late 18th century, Mustang was annexed by Nepal, and although the monarchy was officially dissolved in 2008, the last king, Jigme Dorje Palbar Bista, remains a respected figure. He is a descendant of Ame Pal, who founded Mustang as a Buddhist kingdom in 1380 and established its capital, Lo Manthang. This walled city, little changed since its creation, stands as a preserved symbol of Mustang’s rich history and architectural heritage.
 

People of Mustang

In the historic walled city of Mustang, Nepal, around 1,100 Lobas live in 180 mud-brick homes. This community upholds a traditional caste hierarchy, with nobility and royalty (Kudak or Bistas) and the Phalwa (Gurungs) living within the city walls, while other groups like blacksmiths (Ghara), butchers (Shemba), and musicians (Emeta) reside along the nearby Lo-Manthang River.

The centerpiece of Lo-Manthang is the "Monkhar," a four-storied, white-washed royal palace built in the early 14th century by the founder of the kingdom, Ame Pal. The current Raja, his twenty-second descendant, still lives here.

Mustang’s economy is primarily based on livestock and agriculture, with additional income from seasonal trade migrations and barter trading with Tibet. The opening of Lo to tourism in 1992 has also introduced new economic opportunities.

To prevent the division of family property, some Lobas practice polyandry, where a woman marries all the brothers in a family, showcasing the unique and traditional social practices of this isolated region. 

Tiji Festival

The Tiji Festival, also known as Tenchi, is a vibrant annual celebration held in Lo-Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal. Rooted in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, this festival is a shortened version of the term Tempa Chhirim, which means "Prayer for World Peace." It commemorates the triumph of Buddha's incarnation, Dhorje Sonam, over the demon Ma Tam Ru Ta, a figure notorious for causing natural calamities and threatening the livelihoods of the local populace.

Spanning three days, the festival features monks from the Lomanthang Chhyode Gumba performing ritual dances that narrate the battle and ultimate subjugation of the demon, symbolically purifying the village of evil spirits. These performances include "Tsa Chham" on the first day, "Nga Chham" on the second, and the climactic "Rha Chham" on the third, where the effigy of Ma Tam Ru Ta is ceremonially cast out.

Held from the 16th to the 18th days of the third Tibetan month (24th-26th May 2025), the Tiji Festival is a focal point for the Sakyapa sect’s monastery in Lo-Manthang, presided over by Abbot Khempo Tashi Tenjin Rinpoche. Nearly 35 monks from Lomanthang, Nenyol, and Chhoser participate, supported by villagers from across the ancient kingdom of Lo who contribute resources and partake in the festivities.

Himalayan Dream Team Treks and Tours offers a special trip to the mystical kingdom of Mustang during this period, allowing visitors to experience "The Chasing of the Demons." This ritual, marked by elaborate costumes and masks worn by monks, attracts spectators from all over the region, who come dressed in their best attire to engage in the celebrations. This event not only serves as a spiritual cleansing but also as a cultural congregation that highlights the rich heritage and communal spirit of Mustang.

Trip Hightlights:

  • Visit historic sites like Durbar Square, Swayambhu, Pashupatinath, and Boudhanath.
  • Start your journey with a picturesque flight to Jomsom, the gateway to Mustang.
  • Experience the deep spirituality and vibrant faith at the Tiji Festival, celebrated in a secluded, naturally beautiful setting.
  • Watch monks meticulously prepare colorful Torma, a ritual cake, during the festival.
  • Immerse yourself in the local lifestyle and culture, heavily influenced by Tibetan traditions.
  • Feel the peaceful coexistence of Hindu and Buddhist faiths at the sacred site of Muktinath.
  • Drive through the world’s deepest gorge, offering breathtaking views and a sense of adventure.
  • Enjoy the tranquil yet distinctly different atmosphere of the Pokhara Valley.
  • Taste the region’s organic apples and locally produced apple brandy.
  • Visit the country’s oldest monastery and explore fascinating ancient cave dwellings.
  • Be accompanied by stunning views of Nilgiri and Tibetan mountains throughout your journey.
  • Learn about the Tiji Festival's history, significance, and the rituals performed, deepening your understanding of this unique cultural event.

Mustang Tiji Festival Trek 2025 Itinerary

Details Outline

Himalayan Dream Team will pick you up at the international airport in kathmandu for your transfer to the hotel. As a welcome you will have a typical Nepalese dinner with some of the staff members. Learn about momo's and Dal bhat and do not forget to try our typical Nepalese drink with great mood of cheers.

Food
Dinner
Accomodation
Hotel
Highest Altitude
1335 m

After breakfast, we'll take you on a tour of Durbar Square, Pashupatinath Temple, Swayambhunath Stupa, and Boudhanath Stupa, all UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Durbar Square offers insights into the lives of royals in ancient times. Pashupatinath Temple holds great significance as a pilgrimage site for Hindus. Swayambhunath, also known as the Monkey Temple, and Boudhanath Stupa, one of the world's largest stupas, are both iconic landmarks.

Food
Breakfast
Accomodation
Hotel
Highest Altitude
1335 m

After breakfast you will drive most enchanting city, Pokhara (200km). On the route we will see more of the amazing countryside of Nepal that offers greeneries, rivers, villages, farms and beautiful mountain sceneries. In the afternoon, we will arrive. The city is famous for its magnificent views of Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, Machhapuchhare, the five peaks of Annapurna. It is the starting point for all the adventurous trekkings. Pokhara is also called the city of lakes and has numerous beautiful lakes. You can explore the most accessible and beautiful of it, Fewa Lake during the afternoon -also by taking a boat. Explore, relax and dine by this tranquil Lake Fewa. You can even do some shopping during evening hours in the colorful streets alongside the lake.

Food
Breakfast
Accomodation
Hotel
Highest Altitude
822 m
Walking Hours
6/7

In the early morning, we drive to the domestic airport and embark on a scenic flight across the Himalayas to Jomsom, the district headquarters of the Mustang Region. Here, we commence our journey either on foot or by vehicle, as this is the starting point of the Upper Mustang Trek and where you'll also meet the rest of the trekking staff. Along our initial easy trail, we are greeted by the breathtaking peaks of Nilgiri, Dhaulagiri, Tukuche Peak, and Dhampus until we reach Kagbeni, a typical Tibetan village marking the entry point to Upper Mustang.

Food
Breakfast-Lunch- Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
2804 m

Our journey starts with the usual permit check up and then we are really off onwards to the riverbank of Kaligandaki. During this walk we will stop at scenic picturesque places along the sandy and windy trails. First we reach the village of Tangbe with its narrow alleys amongst white washed houses, fields of buckwheat, barley, wheat and apple orchards. From there we trek forward to Chhusang and after crossing the river head up till we see the huge red chunk of conglomerate , that once broke from the cliff above, and now forming a tunnel through which the Kaligandaki flows. We head on over small ridges to arrive in Chele.

Food
Breakfast-Lunch- Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
3070 m
Walking Hours
5/6

Morning after breakfast, we leave the village and climb up the unstable pebble road and will come to a plateau. We keep climbing the gentle slope and enter an area with the big canyons. We follow the trail that cut out of the cliff and after passing the canyons we will reach a small pass. Then, we move to a gentle mountain flank and continue the slightly descent and will reach Samar village surrounded by a poplar grove. We will have our lunch here. After lunch, we descend steeply to a stream, then climb up and descend steeply to another stream, then climb up to a plateau. We keep climbing up the right fork to the Chungsi-La and countering through the amazing canyons until reaching Ranchung Cave whose large stalactites resemble Rangchung (self-arisen; ie not man-made) chhorten. The Buddhist saint Guru Rinpoche is said to have meditated here in 8th century during his traveling in Mustang. Himalayan griffons nest in the surrounding cliffs. After visiting the cave, we climb gradually past pasture to Syangmochen. Again we climb up to a small pass where there is a colorfully painted square chhorten. We will see a large valley of Ghiling spreading out in front of us. We continue descending to the right towards Ghiling, cross a stream and move on along the stone walls in the farm fields. Here is two ancient monasteries and big huge chhortens and we will visit in the evening. 

Food
Breakfast-Lunch- Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
3570 m
Walking Hours
6hrs

In the morning after breakfast, we walk through the big village and climb up the gentle slope with shrubberies and will join in mail trail. From here, a long ascent continues to Nyi-La. When we cross over this pass, we will enter the center of the Mustang, which used to be called the Lo Region. We descend the gentle slope and go around the valley ahead towards the left. We will be overlooking Ghami village and we descend steep zigzag slope and will reach the village. We will have our lunch here. After lunch, we leave the village and cross a river using the suspension bridge. We climb onto the terrace and pass along the longest Mani Wall in Mustang. The effect of the erosion on the cliff ahead attracts attention by its strange forms and the varieties of colors such as red, blue, white, etc. it is like a Mandala painted on the cliff. We keep going in level trail passing the big chhortens and cross a stream. Then, we keep walking along the upstream through the terraced fields until reaching Drakmar.

Food
Breakfast-Lunch- Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
3450 m
Walking Hours
5/6

Today after breakfast, we leave the village and ascend a steep eroded gully overshadowed and the route cross some alpine meadows. Now will come to a plateau and then, across a valley to a cairn. We climb to a ridge and keep descending until Ghar Gompa. It is also known as Lo Gyaker which means ‘Pure virtue of Lo’. Ghar Gompa means ‘house temple’ and is affiliated with the Nyingma Lineage. This is one of the oldest Gompa in Mustang. After visiting Gompa, the trail steep descends to a wooden bridge and climb up to a plateau. We keep walking along a grassy valley and come to a ridge. We will make our lunch break here. Then, we continue the level trail until reaching Marang-La Pass. This is a high pass in this course. Then, we keep descending a large cairn and come to a small ridge from where first view of Lo-Manthang City. Again we continue crisscrossed with herder’s trail until reaching Lo-Manthang, a medieval ancient Wall City of Mustang.

Food
Breakfast-Lunch- Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
3840 m
Walking Hours
6/7

Tiji Festival at Lo-Mangtang 

Food
Breakfast-Lunch- Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
3840 m

Tiji Festival at Lo-Mangtang 

Food
Breakfast-Lunch- Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge

In the morning after breakfast, we leave the castle village of Lo-Manthang and cross a small stream. Then, we gradually climbing steep sandy slope until Lo-La Pass from where we see the last view of ancient wall city of Lo-Manthang. We keep walking across the wide plain ahead with viewing the numerous caves on the terrace’s rock face. We continue the trail passing the big isolated chhorten that marks the boundary between Lo-Manthang and Tsarang till Tsarang Khola. We cross by an iron bridge and climb up until reaching Tsarang Village. We will have our lunch. After lunch, we visit the huge five-storey white Tsarang Palace (fortified palace) and the 14th century Gompa are perched on the edge of Kaligandaki gorgr at the eastern end of the village.

Food
Breakfast-Lunch- Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
3560 m
Walking Hours
3/4hrs

Morning after breakfast, we start our trek from our camp site and exit from the village passing huge chhorten. The trail goes a long gentle ascent until reaching to a ridge and after traverse the route down a rocky gully until reaching in Ghami passing again spectacular Mani Wall in Nepal. We will have our lunch here. After lunch, the trails continue steep up till Ghami-La and again a long gentle ascent brings to us on Nyi-La. Then, we climb down to Tamagaon and continue a steep set of switchbacks down a rocky canyon leads to a stream, then the trail climbs to a huge painted chhorten before rejoining the Ghiling trail near the ridge. We cross the small pass and descend to a Syangmochen.

Food
Breakfast-Lunch- Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
3500 m
Walking Hours
6/7hrs

In the morning after breakfast, we walk short level trail and steep climb up until reaching Yamdo-La. Then, we slightly climb down to Bhena. After passing the hamlets, namely Yamdo and Bhena, a long descent start to Samar crossing small streams. We will have our lunch here. After lunch, we continue the trail passing the big canyons and we reach in Tsaile. After that, we steep descend to the Kaligandaki River and cross by an iron bridge, then continue the trail along the Kaligandaki River until reaching Chhusang and drive to Jomsom.

Food
Breakfast-Lunch- Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
2743 m
Walking Hours
5/6hrs

After breakfast, we head to the airport for our flight back to Pokhara. This 30-minute scenic journey flies between the towering Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountains. Upon landing in Pokhara, our guide will take us to a lakeside hotel. There, we'll relax by the lake and reflect on the incredible memories from our trek.

Food
Breakfast
Accomodation
Hotel
Highest Altitude
820 m

There is a choice between a 25-minute flight to Kathmandu or, we start our 200 kilometers drive by tourist bus back to Kathmandu. In both cases you can enjoy the scenery, but from the car you will witness the beauty of Nepali nature far more better when you drive along the Trisuli river. On arrival in Kathmandu, you will be transferred to your hotel. 

Food
Breakfast
Accomodation
Hotel
Highest Altitude
1335 m
Walking Hours
6/7hrs

After breakfast or lunch, depending on your flight time, we will transfer you to the international airport or if you leave by evening, you can put your luggage at the Hotel and enjoy the city one final day

Food
Breakfast

Not satisfied with this itinerary?

If the above itinerary does not meet your needs, we can design individualized travel plans based on your preference and specification.

Service Included on Trip Cost

Cost Includes

  • Arrival and transfer to and from the international and domestic airports in Kathmandu and Pokhara
  • Authentic Nepali-style welcome dinner upon arrival in Kathmandu
  • Cultural guide and private transport during Sightseeing in Kathmandu 
  • Hotel accommodation with bed and breakfast provided in Kathmandu and Pokhara
  • All standard meals during the trek (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner), including seasonal fruits.
  • Experienced, first-aid trained, government-licensed, English-speaking trekking guide
  • Permits for Annapurna Conservation Area (ACAP) and Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS)
  • Restricted Area Permit (RAP) at a cost of US $500 per person
  • Porters during the trek for luggage carrying (1 porter for every 2 clients)
  • Wages, accommodation, meals, gear, insurance, and medications for all staff
  • Round-trip airfare between Pokhara and Jomsom, including airport departure taxes at Jomsom airport
  • All administrative expenses and government taxes
  • Private transport as per the program.

Cost Excludes

  • International flights
  • Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu and Pokhara
  • Nepal entry visa, easily acquired upon arrival at the airport in Kathmandu (USD 50 for a 30-day visa)
  • All beverages
  • Entrance fees for any monasteries visited during trekking
  • Personal trekking equipment, travel and medical insurance, helicopter rescue, and personal expenses
  • Tips for staff (guide/porter and driver)
  • Any other expenses not mentioned in the inclusive section above

Mustang Tiji Festival Trek 2025 Altitude Profile

FAQs

Where is Upper Mustang located?

Upper Mustang is located in the Mustang district in the northern part of Gandaki Pradesh, Nepal.

The Tiji Festival is an annual three-day religious celebration in Mustang, Nepal. It marks the triumph of good over evil and is centered around the Tiji myth, which tells the story of a deity who protected the region from destruction.

In 2025, the Tiji Festival is scheduled for May 24, 25, and 26. However, the specific dates can vary each year as they are determined by the Tibetan lunar calendar.

 

The trek is of moderate difficulty, involving daily walks of about 5-7 hours at high altitudes, without the need for technical climbing skills.

Highlights include exploring Tibetan-style villages, visiting ancient monasteries, witnessing the colorful Tiji Festival ceremonies, and enjoying panoramic views of the Himalayas, including Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri.

 

Yes, a guide is highly recommended due to the cultural significance of the festival and the challenging nature of the trek. A local guide can provide insights into the local culture and ensure that you follow the correct routes.

 

You will need an Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) and a special permit (USD 500 for 10 days) for the restricted area of Upper Mustang

Yes, since the trek reaches high altitudes, there is a risk of altitude sickness. Acclimatization days are usually included in the itinerary, and it’s important to stay hydrated and monitor your health throughout the trek.

The trek usually starts in Jomsom, which can be reached by a scenic flight from Pokhara. Pokhara is accessible by road or air from Kathmandu.

 

Yes, travel insurance is crucial for any high-altitude trekking in the country. The challenges you might face on these trails, such as altitude sickness and medical injuries, make it necessary. It’s important to have comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, accidents, delays, loss of belongings, theft, and other potential issues.

Along the trail, you can stay in lodges, tea houses, and guesthouses that offer twin beds, mattresses, sheets, warm blankets, and pillows. It's advisable to book these accommodations in advance, especially during the festival time, as the trails tend to get crowded..

The menu in teahouses varies from Nepali staples like dal bhat (rice and lentils) to pasta, pizza, and even some desserts. Vegetarian options are readily available.
 

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