Tiji is a vital Mustang festival, held each spring to kick off the planting season. It features lively dances, costumed dramas, and exorcism rituals. The festival’s climax occurs outside Lo Manthang’s walls, where the golden-robed king fires a shot from an ancient flintlock rifle. Masked monks then smash bowls symbolizing evil spirits responsible for natural disasters. Inside the town, people leap over a fire to rid themselves of any lingering demons. This vibrant celebration combines tradition, culture, and spiritual cleansing.
Yartung or Horse festival is another widely celebrated in Mustang, Nepal, taking place over three days each August. The first day is dedicated to the King’s activities, the second to the monks, and the third to the local community’s involvement in festive activities. The highlight of Yartung is the thrilling horse racing, but locals also partake in the celebration through singing, dancing, and revelry, which often includes traditional drinks.
The people of Upper Mustang celebrate two Losar festivals, known as Chhegu Emma and Chhegu Semma, following the Tibetan lunar calendar. Both Losar festivals span three days of joyous festivities. During these celebrations, locals visit relatives, come together to meet one another, organize lively parties, and revel in communal dances. These festivals serve as vibrant occasions for social bonding and merriment in Upper Mustang.
When it comes to food and meals, Mustang offers a delectable culinary experience. The iconic Thakali Dal-Bhat is often the first meal you’ll encounter in Mustang. It’s a hearty combination of rice, lentils, vegetables, and sides like Gundruk (fermented spinach), achars, Chatnis and meat. Momo, the infamous dumplings, deliver an explosion of flavors and richness. Thukpas, Nepali hot noodle soups, provide a warm and comforting sensation, particularly welcomed in the cold, windy Mustang region.
One particularly intriguing dietary item is the pudding made from buckwheat, maize, or millet, known as Dhido. This unique dish, more commonly consumed in higher-altitude regions, offers a distinctive alternative to rice. Local meats like Yak and Chauri, native to the mountains, are both appetizing and nutritious. Additionally, the cheese crafted from their milk is a culinary delight.