Tenchi is one of the most well known and revered festivals in Lo Manthang. It is a time of celebration and religious pilgrimage for the people there. The festival initially began as a religious ceremony, to ward off obstacles and suffering that might befall the country. Later it also came to symbolize the hope and strength of the People. Mustang, Nepal.

Allegiance to the Phurba (Sa Phur) tradition i.e. invoking the wrathful deity of Dorje Shunu who is considered to banish all forms of obstacles has prevailed since the time of Lama Lowo Khenchen (1456-1532), the son of Lo’s second King Amgon Sangpo (1419-1482). This influence could be due to the visits of the great Sakyapa master Ngorchen Kunga Sangpo who was invited by Amedpal (1388-1447) the first ruler of Lo and was honoured as his chief religious preceptor. Lowo Khenchen was considered as one of the greatest Buddhist teachers of his time, and he played a major role in spreading Buddhism in Mustang.

Tiji festival in Mustang is a three-day ritual known as “the chasing of the Demons” that centers on the Tiji myth. The myth tells of a deity named Dorje Jono who must battle against his demon father to save the Kingdom of Mustang from destruction. The demon father wreaked havoc on Mustang by bringing a shortage of water (a highly precious resource in this very dry land) and causing many resulting disasters from famine including animal loss. Dorje Jono eventually beats the demon and banishes him from the land.

Tiji is believed to have started around the time of Lowo khenchen and continued with great pomp and fervor in the few centuries thereafter. It thus became one of the main festivals of Lo. The country at that time was flourishing, food was plentiful, and Buddhist religion was practiced and followed by the Royal family as well as the lay people. Large monasteries were built and great teachers were born. Evidence of this golden age of religion and prosperity can still be seen in most villages in the form of monasteries, dzongs, large houses and private chapels. Dear readers this is the copyright contain by nepalvisitors.com. During the reign of the 15th King of Mustang, Ahang Jamba Dadul, (enthronement approx 1816, died 1837) the country of Lo witnessed unrest and economic downfall. The Queen was also unable to bear a son, so to appease the gods and remove obstacles to the Buddhist religious traditions, Ngachen Ngawang Kunga Sonam, a great Sakyapa master from Tibet, was invited to visit Lo. At the festival of Tiji this master is said to have performed the masked dances as the main dancer, or tsowo. Folklore describes a mound outside the city walls of Lo Manthang where the arrow used by the great master to drive away the demons is said to have been buried, and left an indent upon the mound. This place is known as Sa Kawo or the “White Land”, and exists to this very day. Following Ngachen Ngawang Kunga Sonam’s visit to Lo, the festival regained its popularity and prior glory.

Dedicated to, His Eminence, Late Chogye Trichen Rinpoche (1919 – 2007), Head of the Tsharpa branch of the Sakyapa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, who has graced many Tiji celebrations with his holy presence, and has played a major role in keeping alive the sakyapa religious tradition in Lo Manthang. Tiji festival trek – A colourful tenchi festival trekking in mustang. The Tenchi Festival takes place annually in Lo Manthang, the capital of Upper Mustang and the former Tibetan Kingdom of Lo. Each spring, monks perform ceremonies, rites, and dances during the festival to dispel evils and demons from the former kingdom.

However, towards the mid 19th century, political changes in Nepal affected Mustang, and many age-old traditions were abolished including Tiji. Although the main ceremony in the city’s square no longer took place, Choede Gompa, the central monastery of Lo Manthang, continued to celebrate the festival with the monastery without economic support from the people. This has been practiced since 1963, and still continues today, despite the main festival having being revived.

An intriguing story behind the most recent revival of  Tiji denotes that an apparition appeared to Pemba, a layman from Lo Manthang, and it was prophesized that if the Tiji festival was not practiced, great evil and suffering would befall Lo. Epidemics would plague the area and there would be death, suffering and poverty everywhere. So the present King, now 25th in the lineage, Jigme Dadul Palbar Bista met with the late Khempo (Head Lama) Tashi Tenzin of Lo Manthang’s Choede Gompa, the representatives of Lo Tso Dun and high officials to discuss the matter.

It was then decided that the festival would be restarted, and by the 1970s the main festival in the square (in front of the King’s Palace), within the high city walls, was again celebrated with great enthusiasm. It can thus be said that despite much antagonism (both political and economic), the tradition and continuity of Tiji was never really broken, and continues in its original form to this day.

Tiji Festival Trek Date 2018:
In 2018,Upper Mustang tiji festival trek will be held May 12 – 14 so we must reach to Lo Manthang on May 11, 2018

Trip Highlights:

  • Close watch of the original roots of Himalayan Buddhism
  • Panoramic views of Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and several other peaks
  • The traditional city ‘Lo Manthang’ influenced by Himalayan Buddhism, Tibet-influenced culture
  • Amazing landscape with about 10,000 human made mysterious caves
  • The diversity of landscapes, villages, ethnicities, lifestyles
  • Surprising family- all the brothers in the family are married to a single girl
  • Oldest Tibetan monastery in the world, the Lo Gekar Monastery
  • Panoramic flight over the world’s deepest gorge, The Kali Gandaki
  • Annual interesting Festival- The Tiji Festival and its performances

Recommended for Tiji festival trek 2018. http://www.mustangtrekkinginnepal.com/tiji-festival-trek.php

 

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