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Mani Rimdu Festival Trek

Abhishek Subedi July 15, 2020

Mani Rimdu Festival Trek is a three-day affair on October’s full moon which is carried out in the high elevation in the monastery of Tengboche in the Everest region. Every year, a Buddhist Dance Drama is performed by the monks of Tengboche Monastery, the most sacred monastery of Everest region. Sherpas and cultural enthusiasts from all over the world flock into the monastery during the Mani Rimdu Festival to celebrate Buddhism and also to understand the culture. Moreover, enjoying the masked dances with a panoramic view of Mt. Everest (8848m), Lhotse (8516m), Nuptse (7855m), Ama Dablam (6812m), Kongde Himal (6200m), and Thamserku (6430m) makes Mani Rimdu Festival Trek a satiating journey. 

Mani Rimdu Festival Trek

Mani Rimdu festival is the main festival of Sherpa ethnicities living at the Tengboche, Thame and Chiwong Monasteries of Solukhumbu Nepal. This is a holy festival that follows a series of sacred ceremonies and series of events of empowerment. Similarly, the festival is celebrated in a sequence of 19 days which concludes with a three days public festival. It is the festival that allows a Sherpas to gather together with the monastic community. Lama and Sherpa gather at the monastery for five days for the welfare of the world. This festival is mainly celebrated to wear off the evil powers and spirits from the earth and protect the earth surface. Grand shows are put up on three different occasions at the monasteries of Tengboche, Thame and Chiwong. Masked dances and Tantric rituals are put up by Buddhist monks at these monasteries, where huge crowds from nearby gather to celebrate.

About the Mani Rimdu Festival Trek

During this festival, demons are queued and virtuous are rewarded. The monks wear elaborate masks, costumes and ornaments. They perform a series of ritualistic Lama dances in which they dramatize the triumph of Buddhism over Bon. The main first days of the festival involve prayers, the second day for colorful lama dancing where they wear brocade gowns and wonderfully painted paper- mache masks. And the last of the festival is for some humorous dances and chanting prayers. Hundreds of local people and foreign tourists attend this beautiful and stunning performance. Many domestic as well as international visitors trek during this period to enjoy this beautiful yet traditional festival. Your visit this time will reward you to see the real and ideal culture of Sherpa people and great Himalayan picturesque views.

Moreover, Mani Rimdu Festival Trek is usually done in the month of October or November. Mani Rimdu festival date for the year 2020 is celebrated on 31st October, 1st and 2nd November. So, the visitors can come during this period and can enjoy this great festival of the Himalayas. It is celebrated in order to mark the founding of Buddhism by Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava.

Day 1 Fly to Lukla and Trek to Phakding

The trekking will start with the flight from Kathmandu to Lukla airport. Lukla airport offers you with lifetime experience as it is one of the dangerous airports in the world. The runway of the airport lies between the two hills which is the difficult runaway for the experienced pilot also. Its airfield is at high elevation and the difference between the two ends of the runway is about 60 metres. From here trekkers will begin their trek to the Phakding with green landscape and view of Kusum Kangaru. The trekkers will stay at the guesthouse here and enjoy the evening and night time with the local cuisine and dinner.

Day 2 Phakding to Namche Bazaar

From Phakding trekkers have to cross the river to reach the valley. The trail is near to the river valley with beautiful blue pine and rhododendron forest. After crossing the Dudh Koshi at Benkar , trekkers can get the sight of snow capped peaks of Kusum Kangaru and Thamserku. It is only the short walk to Monjo where trekkers gather around to have lunch. From Monjo , National Park is about a short distance. In the hours of daylight the walking is a little problematic and is an uphill way to Namche bazaar. The trail now goes to the generally flat terrain, crossing back to the right bank to the meeting point of the Bhote Koshi and Dudh Koshi Rivers.  The trekkers have to walk through the large suspension bridge.  

Mani Rimdu Festival Trek

Day 3 Namche bazaar to Everest View Hotel

This is the day for acclimatization to the trekkers. The trekkers will hike to Syangboche Airport 3700 metres, the highest airport in the world. Then continue to climb to the Everest View Hotel for great panoramic views of Everest, Lhotse, Amadablam and Tawache. On the way back you can visit Sherpa culture museum and Everest Photo Gallery.

Day 4 Trek to Tengboche

From here, trekkers have to walk towards the park headquarters and climb up above the Dudh Koshi River.  The path to Dingboche blesses with the monastery situated below the summit of Mt Everest and bordered by other snow capped peaks. The trekkers can also get the picture of local flora and fauna with the amazing Danphe( national bird of Nepal). After coming at the reforestation area of Trashinga, the track moves down until it comes across the Dudh Koshi River at Phunki Tenga 3250m. After this, it is initially steep through pine, fir, black juniper and rhododendron forests towards Tengboche.

Mani Rimdu Festival Trek

Day 5 Tengboche Mani Rimdu Festival First Day

The first day of the Mani Rimdu Festival is marked by the construction of Sand Mandala and Wong. Colored sand is used to build complex and representative design. The sharp defensive weapons referring to the divinities are kept surrounding the Mandala. Similarly, the container of Mani Rilwu pills which is regarded as spiritual medicine is placed in the center. The Mandala symbolizes the palace of the lord of dance, Chenpo. The statue of the Buddha of Kindness is the most important for Mani Rimdu. The mantras are chanted, and during meditation, they believe kindness flows in the form of the mantra, into the Mandala and the Mani Rilwu pills. Kindness is released from the Mandala, blessing those who attend the Mani Rimdu festival. 

Day 6 Tengboche Mani Rimdu Festival Second Day

The dances are shown on the 2nd day of Mani Rimdu. Triumph over the symbolic demons is shown in the dance. As the theme of the dance, positive energies fight with the demons through the dances. Moreover, the dances carry Buddhist teaching on many levels from the simplest to the most metaphysical state. During the dance, the monks are believed to enter a state of trance and become a godlike being. The dances are only performed during Mani Rimdu because they are considered to be very sacred hence cannot be performed for ordinary entertainment purposes.  

Mani Rimdu Festival Trek

Day 7 Tengboche Mani Rimdu Festival Third Day

The last day of the festival is the Fire Puja. The Fire Puja is done in the yard the day after the dances. Likewise, the Fire Puja is a gift to Agni (the god of fire), and to the Gods of the Mandala to dispel all harm in the world. The harm is envisioned as dissolving into the grain and butter being burned. Afterward, the sand Mandala in the temple is dismantled to pieces, and the sand is given as an offering to the Snake Gods (Nagas). With this, the exciting festival of Mani Rimdu comes to an end. 

Day 8 Tengboche to Namche

The trail from Tengboche is downward with a few sharp climbs uphill for an hour from the bridge at Phunki Tenga, near to Sanasha. The walk to Namche is very charming on a long windy track. Moreover, passing through the traditional villages of Khumjung and Khunde, an attractive and pleasant walk leads you to Namche for the overnight stay. 

Day 9 Namche to Lukla

This trekking trail follows a sandy path with strenuous walk. The trail is full of views of landscape and some mountain scenarios. The trekkers can explore Lukla bazaar and local shops. You can also celebrate your successful trekking with special brands of drinks.

Mani Rimdu Festival Trek

Day 10 Flight from Lukla to Kathmandu

Fly from Lukla Airport to Kathmandu Airport and enjoy the panoramic views of snowy mountains from the window of the plane.

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