Mani Rimdu Festival Trek takes you to the Tengboche Monastery of Everest Region. Mani Rimdu festival is celebrated in Tengboche Monastery and lasts for 9 days. The main celebration is for three days. It is believed that this festival was originated from Rongbukh Monastery in Tibet. The first celebration of Mani Rimdu at Tengboche monastery dates back to 1930s. Mani Rimdu festival draws large crowd from all villages in the Khumbu region. The festival also attracts numerous international tourists during the festive season.
It is believed that the Sherpas belong to the Nying-Mapa sect of Tibetan Buddhist. Guru Rimpoche (Padma Sambhawa; An Indian Yogi) is regarded as the founder and spiritual leader of this ancient sect. The Buddhist mythology suggests that he was born of a lotus in the middle of a lake. The Buddhist prayer “Om Mani Padme Hum” (meaning-Hail to the jewel of the lotus) scripted in Mani walls is dedicated to Guru Rimpoche. Out of many traditional festivals celebrated in the Everest region Mani Rimdu is one of the most important festival that is celebrated with lots of joys and happiness. The festival is celebrated offering prayers and chants to Guru Rimpoche.
Mani Rimdu festival is held during the tenth lunar month of the Tibetan calendar i.e. corresponding to October-November of the Gregorian calendar. The word Mani means part of the chant of Chenrezig and Rimdu means small red pills that are blessed during the festival. The red pills are later distributed to all the participants gathered to celebrate the festival. This religious festival commences with an elaborate depiction of Mandala diagram made with colorful sand. It takes approximately four days to draw the Mandala. The mandala is then covered so that nobody could see it. Different ceremonies are held in the monastery that includes chants and prayers.
After all the devotees have left, the monks perform special fire rite to dispel all harm to the world. The mandala is then formally removed chanting prayers for the benefit of entire living beings. The festival concludes with the final blessing from the Rimpoche to the general public followed by Mask Dances performed by Buddhist monks. The mask dances are performed by the monks to please the deities and also as an offering to the legendary saint Guru Rimpoche. The mask dance also symbolizes the victory of truth over the evil. The mask dance is the main attraction for the visitors visiting this reason to witness Mani Rimdu festival.
Mani Rimdu Festival Trek begins from the medieval City of Kathmandu where we carry out a guided city tour in the city and its vicinity. You will visit natural and cultural wonders of Kathmandu including the world heritage sites like the famous Hindu Temple Pashupatinath, The Monkey Temple (Swoyambhu Nath), Buddhist pilgrim of Boudhanath, Kathmandu Durbar Square etc. After a day of hangout in Kathmandu we will fly all the way to Lukla (2800m) the next day. Lukla is the heart of Solu Khumbu and the starting point of our trek.
The trek continues through Sagarmatha National Park which is a habitat for different types of vegetation and animals of the Khumbu Region. Namche Bazaar (3440m) is yet another attraction of the Everest region. Namche Bazaar is a trading point for local merchants and a junction for trekkers and climbers in the Khumbu region. We trek all the way to Tengboche where we spend few days enjoying the Mani Rimdu Festival. We would consider ourselves lucky enough to be a part of this big event in the Khumbu region. We wrap up our expedition trekking back to Lukla and finally boarding a flight back to Kathmandu.
Highlights of Mani Rimdu Festival Trek
- Sightseeing tour to various historical/natural/cultural world heritage sites in Kathmandu
- Magnificent flight to Lukla from Kathmandu (Enjoy the view of Himalayan range from the flight)
- Step inside and experience the lifestyle and traditions of people living in the Himalayas (esp. Sherpa)
- Trekking in Sagarmatha National Park (Listed in UNESCO world heritage natural site)
- Discover numerous Buddhist monasteries and other cultural monuments.
- Variety of floras and faunas to witness
- Explore the Sherpa Museum in Namche Bazaar, a busy Sherpa settlement at the altitude of 3440m
- Visit to Tengboche Monastery and observe the famous Mani Rimdu Festival
- Discover rich Buddhist and Tibetan culture and traditions
- Eye-popping view of world’s highest mountains including Everest.
- Visit to Sir Edmund Hillary School in Khumjung.
Day 01: Arrive in Kathmandu
Day 02: Kathmandu Sightseeing and trek preparation
Day 03: Fly to Lukla and Trek to Phakding (2652m) [3 hours of trekking]
Day 04: Phakding to Namche Bazaar (3440m) [6 hours]
Day 05: Acclimatization in Namche (3420m)
Day 06: Trek to Tengboche (3860m) [5 hours]
Day 07: Tengboche: The Blessing
Day 08: Tengboche: The Mask Dance
Day 09: Tengboche: The Festival Closing
Day 10: Tengboche to Namche Bazaar
Day 11: Namche Bazaar to Lukla [6-8 hours]
Day 12: Lukla to Kathmandu [40 minutes flight]
Day 13: Leisure Day in Kathmandu
Day 14: Transfer to airport for your onward destination.
After your arrival at the airport in Kathmandu you will be greeted by one of our representatives who will later escort you to the hotel. After hotel check in you can decide whether you would like to have a relaxing rest at the hotel. O/N you stay at the hotel.
Today after breakfast we will set out for a guided city tour where you get to discover several historical and spiritual attractions of Kathmandu. You will be seeing the world heritage sites like historical Durbar Square, the sacred Hindu temple of lord Pashupatinath, Buddhist pilgrimage Swoyambhunath (famous by the name of Monkey temple among tourists), Boudhanath Shrine and many more cultural and natural monuments. The Kathmandu City tour will more or less familiarize you with Nepalese urban lifestyle. Later we will have a discussion session where we discuss about our trek plan and preparation. Our trek leader would be obliged to brief you about our expedition and answer your queries. O/N you stay at the hotel.
After breakfast you will be escorted to the domestic terminal of the Kathmandu airport to board a flight to Lukla, a gateway for our trekking expedition. The scenic flight to Lukla is surely going to be a once in a lifetime experience for you. The air route to Lukla is one the most beautiful air route in the world. The 40 minutes flight above the majestic mountains will land you at Tenzing-Hillary airport in Lukla. Upon arrival at Lukla we start our trek until we reach Phakding. The trail to Phakding lets you discover the green landscape with a scenic view of Kusum Kangraru. 0/N we stay in a guest house.
Today we take a stiff walk through a beautiful pine forest that leads us along the Dudh Koshi River and Hillary Suspension bridge to reach the check post and the entrance to Sagarmatha National Park. The trail follows the confluence of Dudh Koshi and Bhote Koshi rivers. Walking further we reach chautra where we have the first glimpse of Mt. Everest peering over the Lhotse-Nuptse ridge. Two hours of more walk eventually lands us in Namche Bazaar(3440m) which is a gateway to Mt. Everest and trading point for many Sherpa people and Tibetan merchants. Namche Bazaar is an ideal market for visitors to purchase traditional crafts and other mementos. We will spend two days in Namche for acclimatization and visit local markets and traditions of the people living in the Himalayas. O/N we stay in a guest house.
We have set this day for acclimatization. We have all the options today whether go for hiking to Thame or visit Khunde or relax and explore Namche Bazaar itself. Namche Bazaar is the center of the Khumbu region and it has governments offices, internet cafes, Shops, restaurants and colorful market each Friday evening and Saturday. A few hundred vertical feet of trekking will really us to properly acclimatize. Our guide will take you to the Tourist Visitor Center near the headquarter of Sagarmatha National Park (UNESCO world natural heritage site) where you can observe an assortment of things related to the first Everest ascenders, Sherpa culture and learn about the various plant and animal life of the Everest region. A day full of hangout at the Namche Bazaar lets you discover the Himalayan beauty of the Khumbu region. O/N we stay in a guest house.
Today after breakfast in Namche we set off for Tengboche. We will have all the pleasure en route with the majestic views of Mt. Everest, Mt. Nuptse, Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Ama dablam and Thamserku. The trail is more or less smooth with few ups and downs. We are least bothered about the trail as the majestic views of the Himalayas makes our expedition full of excitement. The trail passes through Kayangjuma and reaches Sansa which is the major trail junction to Gokyo valley and Everest base camp. Walking further crossing the Dudh Koshi Bridge we reach Phunki Thenga which is a small settlement with few teahouses and lodges. Now we will gear up for a slightly rougher climb to reach Tengboche . Tengboche is a wonderful place to have scenic views of Mt. Everest, Mt. Nuptse and Mt. Ama Dablam. It has the biggest Buddhist monastery called Tengboche Monastery (3860m) where the Mani Rimdu Festival is celebrated. Upon reaching Tengboche we hang around the village and witness some ceremonies and festival preparation. Overnight, we stay in Tengboche.
Today is the first day (out of main three days) of the Mani Rimdu Festival. The ceremony begins with the blowing of horns in the afternoon. We can see many monks with elaborate masks and costumes perform series of traditional dance while chanting prayers. The Rimpoche of the monastery accompanied by other monks in their maroon robes arrives on the stage. The prayers are chanted and gratitude is extended to all who are present in the monastery. The magical aura around the monastery is filled with prayers and chants. The magnificent aroma coming from the monastery adds more excitement in this religious event. The people and the devotees will then rise to their feet to receive blessings, holy water and auspicious pellets from the Rimpoche. The blessing thus received is believed to bring luck, prosperity and longevity. Overnight, we stay in Tengboche.
Today is the second important day of Mani Rimdu festival. The second day begins with the musical orchestra of horns, flutes, conch shells and cymbals. We can see crowd of local denizen as well as international visitors thronging to the monastery to watch the second day ritual. The magical sound of music played by the monks is followed by the traditional mask dances in which monks dressed in colorful robes and huge glowering masks perform traditional ritual dances that symbolizes the destruction of demons and evil spirits. A series of sixteen dance are performed by the masked monks. In one of the dance, a group of monks dressed in bright silk and black headgear perform special dance to the deities and pray for the divine protection from the evil forces. The comic interlude in the dance adds more charm in the performance. The ceremony continues till late night. After a day full of fun and joys we get back to the guest house for the night’s rest.
This is the final day of the main three days celebration of Mani Rimdu Festival. The monastery is crowded with people and people seems excited to witness the closing ceremony of the festival. The special ritual is performed to conclude the festival. A dummy made of dough (Torma is the exact word for the dummy) are consigned to a sacred fire that marks the end of the festival. The Torma destroyed in the fire implies the end of negative forces and the start of a blessed new year. We hang around the monastery and vicinity till late night and get back to the guesthouse for the nights rest.
After spending some days participating in Mani Rimdu festival we trek back to Namche Bazaar today. We follow the trail through the hillside filled with Rhododendron, Pine and Juniper trees. The trail offers superb view blended with natural vegetation and the high Himalayas. After crossing the prayer flag festooned bridge over the Dudh Koshi river, the trail then follows the Dudh Koshi gorge further descending through the pine forest eventually reaching Sansa. We may also get chance to see the wild lives of the region such as mountain goats, snow leopards, pheasants etc. while travelling via forest. Trekking further we pass through a Chorten and reach army camp of Namche Bazaar. Upon reaching at Namche we may choose to hang around and take beautiful pictures of Mt. Lhotse, peak of Mt. Everest and Tengboche from this juncture. Overnight, we stay at a guest house.
We will be wrapping up our trekking expedition today. Leaving Namche Bazaar behind we descend down the rocky trail crossing suspension bridges over the Dudh Koshi river. As we walk the trail becomes more smooth and easy. We find the environment really warm and cozy compared to previous days of our expedition. We can feel the fresh air blowing from Himalayas that makes our expedition more energetic and vibrant. We pass through beautiful forest filled with Rhododendron, pine trees and different natural vegetations. We get to snap beautiful mountains and the panoramic views on our way. We will be pleased passing through Sherpa villages that offer a unique blend of Sherpa culture and tradition. Upon arrival at Lukla we conclude our long expedition and have a relaxing time with our friends and crew members. Overnight, we stay in Lukla.
We will wave our final goodbye to the beautiful mountains today. The flights from Lukla to Kathmandu are usually scheduled for the morning because the windy afternoon may cause difficulties flying the aircraft. The early morning scenic flight over the Himalayas drops us at the domestic terminal of Kathmandu airport from where you will be escorted to the hotel. Today we have the whole day to relax at the hotel or hang around in the city at your convenience.
Today you have relaxing day in Kathmandu. You have all the day to hang around in the streets and bazaar of Kathmandu. You may spend time in buying gifts and mementos for your friends and family. If you are interested you may choose to have a guided city tour to explore Kathmandu and its vicinity. You will be joining a special farewell dinner in a cozy traditional Nepali restaurant hosted by Breakfree Adventures and its team in the evening. Overnight, we stay at the hotel.
Your trip to the majestic country of Nepal comes to an end today! You will be escorted by one of the representatives of Breakfree Adventures to the international terminal of Kathmandu airport approximately three hours before your flight schedule. We exchange our last good-byes and now you will be leaving Nepal with all the good memories you had during the wonderful trekking adventure. We hope you had a lovely time with us. Breakfree Adventures would be obliged to be your travel partner during your next adventure in Nepal. Have a safe flight back home!