Holidays in Nepal. Upper Mustang Teegee Festival

The Forbidden Kingdom of Mustang is known as the “roof of the world”. The mysterious country is located in the north of Nepal, where it is surrounded on three sides by Tibet. The spirit of the Middle Ages is still preserved here. The high peaks of the Himalayan ridge and remoteness from major cities have preserved this land and the influence of modern technologies.

Upper Mustang is a land where small villages, ancient monasteries are comfortably settled, inhabited by friendly people. It amazes with breathtaking landscapes. The Upper Mustang was once famous for its wealth, which it received from its location. It was a trading center on the Kali Gandaki River, which ran the Tak Khola trade route between Tibet and Nepal to India. It is still rich in monuments of Buddhist culture, history, customs and traditions that are rooted in the distant past.

We already wrote that in 2012 there was a book by photographer Taylor Weidman about the Upper Mustang. In the comments, he writes:
“Upper Mustang (Kingdom of Lo), hidden in the shadow of the Himalayas in one of the most remote corners of Nepal. Surrounded by the highest mountain range in the world from the south and closed by Tibet from the north, this tiny Tibetan kingdom has remained virtually unchanged since the 15th century. Today, the Mustang is the best surviving example of traditional Tibetan culture in the world. But this state of affairs will soon change. The new highway will connect the region with Kathmandu and China for the first time, ushering in a new century. It will change the villages, mountains and deserts of Mustang forever. ”

The Teegee Festival is a three-day ritual called “Pursuit of Demons”. The word Tiji comes from “Tenche” which means “Hope for the Buddha Dharma prevailing in all the worlds.” Tiji is the spring festival of renewal and transformation. The dry winter has passed and the wetter season begins, accompanied by a few rains, which help to grow a meager crop.

Teeji is linked to one of the myths that tells the story of Dorje Jono, who had to fight against the demon’s father in order to save the Mustang Kingdom from destruction. The demon caused great damage to the Mustang, creating a shortage of water. These actions rendered the land barren and people starved for years. Dorje Jono ultimately defeated the demon and drove him out of the Mustang.

On the morning of the first day of the festival, the sound of horns, huge copper pipes (dunchens), drums and cymbals heralds a three-story tanka unfolding on the south wall of the main temple of Lo Mantang. In the afternoon of the same day, eleven lamas in maroon robes decorated with gold, with red high caps on their heads, are located next to the tank, along the wall of the temple. The dancing of the masked lamas begins. The main theme is the myth of how Dorji Jono defeats the demon, frees the people from adversity and how the harmony of the life of all living beings is restored.

On the second day, residents of remote villages arrive at the monastery, and the square is filled with residents of the upper Mustang dressed in national clothes. The King of Mustang sits in a crown studded with tiny river pearls with bright large patterns of red coral and interspersed with huge turquoise stones. Costumes and masks, sounds of horns, golden cups filled with wheat, butter pies, snowy peaks of mountains surrounding the monastery, wind, sun, breath of a high-mountainous desert, rajahs, foreigners, dogs and yaks – all mix in one solemn and joyful rush.

The last day of the festival starts again with dancing and ends with a ceremony of destruction of evil. The demonic remains are laid down on an old tiger skin and finally attacked with arrows from a bow, old weapons and rope loops.

In the end, gunshots and stormy greetings from all present are heard. Smoke, shouts of delight, good defeated evil. The Teegee Festival ends.