The Mani Rimdu Festival Trek can educate you on the essence of the ceremony for the welfare of the world and, at the same time, amuse you to the full. You get to pray with the monks and enjoy the dance by Lama wearing brocade gowns and wonderfully painted paper-mâché masks.
The only trek that is meant for the spectacle and entertaining view of the most important festival of the Sherpa people, Mani Rimdu, is called the Mani Rimdu Festival Trek. Filled with unique natural diversity, this Everest region trek is another excellent opportunity to discover the essence of the Sherpa people and learn about their cultures and festivals.
The Mani Rimdu Festival usually falls on the 9th lunar month, October/November, and involves vast preparations and decorations for the primary day. Mani Rimdu Festival 2023 dates are October 28 to 30. Mani Rimdu Festival Trek requires the trekkers to stay at Tengboche, the central place for the event, for three whole days to spectacle the entertaining Lama and Buddhist dance pujas. The festival covers The Sand Mandala, The Empowerment, The Fire Puja, and the Mask Dance by monks, with other minor ceremonies.
The roots of the Mani Rimdu Festival can be traced back to Tibet, where it was initially celebrated as a form of Tibetan Buddhism. Guru Rinpoche, revered as the founder of Tibetan Buddhism, played a pivotal role in bringing this sacred festival to the Solu-Khumbu region of Nepal. The festival made its debut at the Tengboche Monastery in the 1930s, serving as a spiritual cornerstone for the Sherpa community in the Everest region.
Over the years, the Mani Rimdu Festival has evolved, incorporating various elements of Sherpa culture and Tibetan Buddhism. While the core rituals and beliefs have remained consistent, the festival has adapted to the unique cultural landscape of the Solu-Khumbu region. Tengboche Monastery continues to be the epicenter of these celebrations, attracting both locals and trekkers interested in the Mani Rimdu Festival Trek.
The festival’s growth over the decades has been remarkable. What started as a localized celebration at Tengboche Monastery has now spread to other monasteries in the Everest region. This expansion signifies the festival’s importance not just to the Sherpa community but also to those interested in Tibetan Buddhism and Himalayan culture. The Mani Rimdu Festival Trek has thus become a sought-after experience, especially during the full moon of October or November.
Upon your arrival for the Mani Rimdu Festival journey, one of our company representatives will greet you right outside the arrival gate and escort you to your hotel in Thamel. The drive typically takes 25 to 30 minutes, although it can vary depending on Kathmandu’s traffic conditions. If you arrive during peak hours, the journey might take a bit longer. After reaching the hotel, you’ll check in and have some time to relax.
Should you need to make any last-minute purchases for your Mani Rimdu Festival adventure, feel free to explore the bustling Thamel Street, a popular tourist hub. Later in the evening, your guide will provide a brief orientation about the upcoming trip.
To cap off the day, Peregrine Treks and Tours will host a dinner for you at a local Nepali restaurant, complete with a cultural show. You’ll spend the night at the hotel, resting up for the exciting Mani Rimdu Festival experience that lies ahead.
Today, after your mouth-watering breakfast, your guide picks you up to go to Tribuvan domestic airport. You will have the flight about 40 minutes to Tensing Hilary Airport Lukla with the amazing splendid view of the landscape and snow-capped mountains. Lukla is a small hill town with trekkers, shopping stores, and a Police checkpoint.
After arranging your trekking stuff, we start our trek to Phakding for 3 hours along the paved stone steep through the Rhododendron forest. We pass some Sherpa villages and cross the suspension bridge on the way. You will take some shots in the well-painted Mani stone on your steep. The first view of the snow-capped mountain is also seen on the way to your trek. Overnight in the Lodge
You will reach Benkar village after one and a half hours of walking along the Dudhkoshi River. You get an excellent view of Mt. Thamserku (6008m) from this village, where we will have a tea break and continue to the Monjo for another hour. Monjo has a Sagarmatha National Park check post, so we have to enter our permit here, or we can buy a license and then descend to Jorsalle for lunch.
Again we continue our trek crossing the suspension bridge; then, we walk on the sandy rock trail on the bank of the river. We start steep climbing until Namche crosses the Hillary Bridge. You will get a panoramic view of the mountain from Namche, known as the Sherpa capital. Overnight in the Lode
According to the health and great Himalaya trekking expert, this level of altitude is recommended to have acclimatization, so our itinerary designer wants to have a rest day here to adjust the trekker’s body in this thin air. But you try to come out in the morning because it is a high chance of having a clear view.
After your breakfast in the late morning, we will start a short climb to the Everest View Hotel for two hours, where the supper view of Mt. Everest and other jaw-dropping scenery of the snow-capped mountain is. You can’t stop yourself from capturing more and more shots of mesmerizing beauty with your group and back descent to the Namche for the overnight.
After breakfast, we climb stone steps for half an hour. We start level walking for another two hours, approximately with the eye-catching sceneries of Thamserku, Kyoungde, Ama Dablam, Lhotse, and Mt Everest.
Then the trail descends to Fungithanka for lunch beside the river. Again ascending along the dusty path, we reach Tengboche, the biggest monastery in the Everest region, and have a close-up view of Amadablum Mountain. This is the Wang blessing Ceremony Overnight in the lodge.
Today is the primary day of the trek, the Mani Rumdi festival, which starts on the October full moon; you will get the chance to learn about the fundamentals of Buddhism and its culture. After breakfast, we will visit the Tengboche monastery nearby the lodge, a lively place. The significant rituals of the festival are empowerment, the mask dance, the fire puja, and more cultural rituals.
The empowerment ritual is to give vows to the monks who perform the rituals. The dancing rituals depict the victory of Buddism over the ‘Bon religion.’ Have lunch and dinner at the nearby lodge and enjoy the divine Buddist theological festival. Overnight in the lodge
This day is the Closing ceremony of the Mani Rimdu Festival. After breakfast at the hotel, you can observe the final day traditional mystic cultural program and the end of the Mani Rimdu Festival.
After breakfast, we will head back to Namche. The descending trail takes you to Fungithanka, where you will have lunch. After some steep ascends, the trail goes straight until Namche. Overnight in lodge
After breakfast, descending from the Namche bazaar, the trails go through the pine forest, crossing the high suspension bridge over the Dudh Koshi river. Then the trail goes along the river to reach Jorselle and continue our walk to Phakding crossing several bridges.
Have lunch there. After lunch, we will continue our walk to Lukla, passing the ascending and descending trails. Overnight in lodge
After breakfast, early morning flight to Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel. Have rest.
You will sightsee Pashupatinath (Holy temple of Hindus), Boudhanath (a sacred place for Buddhists), Swyambhunath (Temple of Hindus and Buddhists), and Kathmandu Durbar Square (Ancient Royal Palace). This is also leisurely for you.
After breakfast at the hotel, you will depart three hours before then your flight schedule.
The Mani Rimdu Festival Trek offers a deep dive into a multi-day celebration, rich in rituals and activities that reflect Sherpa culture and Tibetan Buddhism. One of the most captivating rituals is the crafting of a sand mandala. This intricate artwork symbolizes the universe and is a spiritual focal point during the festival. Created with meticulous care at Tengboche Monastery, the sand mandala serves as a conduit for prayers and blessings, especially during the full moon of October or November.
Masked dances, known as Cham, are another highlight of the Mani Rimdu Festival. These dances narrate the eternal conflict between good and evil, embodying the essence of Tibetan Buddhism. The dances also serve to depict the quelling of demons and the reward of the pious, resonating with the spiritual teachings of Guru Rinpoche. Accompanying the dances are mantras, sacred syllables believed to wield immense spiritual power. These mantras are chanted throughout the festival, adding a layer of spiritual depth to the celebrations in the Solu-Khumbu region.
The festival is not just about rituals; it’s a social event that brings the Sherpa community together. Offerings and prayers, including Jinsak (fire puja), are integral to the festival. Wong (empowerment) is bestowed upon attendees, and Rilbu (long-life pills) are distributed as symbols of longevity and good fortune. Feasts and social activities add to the festive spirit, making the Mani Rimdu Festival Trek a holistic experience that combines spirituality, culture, and community bonding in the Everest region.
The Mani Rimdu Festival Trek is not just a journey through the stunning landscapes of the Everest region; it’s a spiritual odyssey that introduces trekkers to unique elements deeply rooted in Sherpa culture and Tibetan Buddhism. One such element is Rilbu or long-life pills. These are not ordinary pills; they are imbued with prayers and blessings, often distributed during the festival at Tengboche Monastery. Rilbu serves as a tangible representation of the festival’s focus on longevity, good health, and the reward of the pious.
Masked dances, commonly known as Cham, are another unique aspect that adds vibrancy to the Mani Rimdu Festival. These dances are more than mere performances; they are spiritual enactments that depict the quelling of demons and the eternal conflict between good and evil. Choreographed to perfection, these dances take place under the full moon of October or November, adding a mystical aura to the festival. Guru Rinpoche’s teachings come alive through these dances, making them a must-see for anyone participating in the Mani Rimdu Festival Trek.
These unique elements do more than just add color and excitement; they deepen the spiritual significance of the Mani Rimdu Festival. Whether it’s through the empowering Wong rituals, the transformative Jinsak (fire puja), or the communal feasts, these elements make the festival a multi-layered experience. They offer a blend of spirituality, culture, and community bonding that is unparalleled, making the Mani Rimdu Festival Trek a once-in-a-lifetime experience in the Solu-Khumbu region.
On the first day, you get sacred Mani Rilwu (holy or blessed pills) and Tshereel (pills for long life); the next day, you enjoy dances on conquering demons and rewarding virtuosos, and later you take part in various ceremonies like fire puja, Ser-Kym, Chhingpa and so on. The Mani Rimdu Festival Trekking also allows you to experience the Himalayan beauty and its charismatic snow-covered peaks like Mt. Everest (8848m), Lhotse (8516m), Nuptse (7855m), Amadablam (6812m), Kongde Himal (6200m), Thamserku (6430m) holy mountains Khumbila (5761m), etc.
Though the significant visit is done at Tengboche, the Mani Rimdu Festival Trek lets you hike through the rugged terrain; and quickly gives you the complete Everest region introduction.
The three-star hotel will be provided in Kathmandu and good lodges in the trekking area. In Lukla, Phakding, and Namche, we will provide a hot shower, and in Tengboche, we won’t recommend you take the hot shower because of the high altitude. You must stay three nights in the Tengboche during Mani Rimdu Festival Trek.
Luxurious hotels and guesthouses are also available in Lukla, Phakding, and Namche, where you will spend five nights (On days 2, 3, 4, 8, and 9). You need to pay an additional USD 800 for two people.
The Mani Rimdu Festival is played in Tengboche Monastery during the tenth Tibetan month, which as a rule, matches with the full moon in October or November. The Mani Rimdu Festival will be held on October 28, 29, and 30. The festival date of 2024 hasn’t been decided yet. We will update the dates after confirmation.
In Kathmandu, a Farewell dinner is included, and three meals will be provided during the trek.
During the Mani Rimdu Festival Trek, we will provide typical Nepalese dishes like dal (soup made of lentils), Bhat (rice), achaar (pickle), and Tarkari (vegetable curry), Momo (dumpling), Dhindo (typical Nepali food), Chowmin, etc. You can also enjoy international cuisines like Tibetan, Indian, Continental, and Italian as per your choices. Breakfast and dinner will be served at lodges or teahouses where you spend the night. As per the lodges or teahouses menu, we will serve breakfast. During your trekking, continental and American breakfast will be made, and a Buffet breakfast will be made in Kathmandu.
This is a moderate trek, and it is suitable for enthusiastic hikers. The hiker must be able to walk at least 5-6 hours per day with their light bag. You can see the details in our itinerary. Hiking at a higher altitude is more challenging than at a lower height; however, if you have good health, average physical fitness, optimism towards hiking, and muscular strength of mind, you can successfully finish this trek. Technical skills and experience are not required for this trek. However, jogging and simple exercising are highly recommended before two weeks if you have no previous hiking experience.
If you have a heart problem, or lung and blood diseases, you need to consult with your doctor before this trek. Also, if you are an elder or child with poor physical fitness and still want to trek to Mani Rimdu Festival Trek, you need to customize this trek. Please feel free to detail about yourself; we will provide customized trekking packages for you and will try our best to make your trek memorable and successful.