Tiji is an attractive annual three-day festival in Upper Mustang. Tiji Festival is a Tibetan ceremony that celebrates the legend of a son who had to save the Mustang kingdom from destruction. The Tiji festival is indigenous to Lo-Manthang, Upper Mustang. "Tiji" the name is a short form of the word "Tempa Chirim" which means "Prayer for World Peace". Tiji festival memorializes the victory of Lord Buddha's incarnation Dorjee Sonnu over a demon called Man Tam Ru a vicious creature feeding on human beings and causing storms and droughts.
The Tiji festival usually takes place around mid-May and lasts for 3 days. The monks of Lo Manthang's "Choedhe" monastery perform ritual dances during the celebration. The harassment of Ma Tam Ru Ta (in a dance called "Tsa Chham" on the first day), the birth of Dorjee Sonnu as the demon's son (on the second day called "Nga Chham"), and the attempt to return the demon to Lord Buddha's realm (on the third and final day) are enacted during the performances.
The Tiji festival dances are all organized by the Choedhe Monastery, which belongs to the Sakya sect of Buddhism. The monastery is headed by a Rimpoche. About 65 monks from Lo Manthang, Nhenyul, and Chhosyer reside in this monastery. The trek to Mustang is a spectacular walk through Himalayan terrain that contrasts wildly with the lush fertile hills and valleys located to the south of the main Himalayan chain. Mustang is a barren landscape with only a few small green fields dotting a lunar landscape but boasts a remarkable spiritual heritage.
Tiji Festival Trek combines Mustang’s fascinating villages, alongside Buddhist shrines and temples and in the shadows of the Himalaya's most iconic mountains, before arriving at the fabled walled city of Lo Manthang for 3 days of dancing at the Tenchi Festival. Currently, it is not allowed to visit Lo Manthang 5 Story Palace.