Everest Mani Rimdu Festival Trek
No doubt you want to experience the beauty of the Everest Base Camp this upcoming autumn season. Why not make it extra special by adding a spiritual element to it? If you plan your trek properly, you can witness the sacred Mani Rimdu Festival this coming November 2020 during your Everest Base Camp Trek.
Autumn is the best time to visit the Everest region. The months of October and November are especially more beautiful in terms of mountain viewing. Not only is the weather ideal, but also Mani Rimdu, the biggest festival in the Everest region, falls during this month. This festival is celebrated in a grand fashion in Tengboche Monastery, the biggest one in the region.
Tengboche Monastery lies in Tengboche, a charming hillside village. The monastery lies at an altitude of 3867 meters and has a mother monastery in Tibet known as Rongbuk Monastery. Built in 1923, the monastery is surrounded by the towering peaks of Tawache, Nuptse, Everest, Lhotse, Thamserku, and Ama Dablam.
This monastery holds some of the most wonderful ceremonies related to the Mani Rimdu festival each year. It also serves as one of the biggest attractions of the Everest Base Camp Trek, especially in the winter season.
Sublime Trails is an elite trekking company that has organized a memorable trek to Everest Base Camp this year with a chance to observe the Mani Rimdu festival in full flow. You will also learn the tradition of Tibetan Buddhism as you get to be a part of this fantastic celebration.
When to trek to Everest Base Camp to witness the Mani Rimdu festival?
The public celebration of Mani Rimdu takes place on the full-moon day of the tenth month of the Tibetan Lunar calendar. This festival usually starts on 12th November and ends on 14th November. The celebration lasts 3 days. By focusing on the festival, we have designed an 18-day itinerary, in which we spend 3 nights at Tengboche Monastery to celebrate the Mani Rimdu Festival.
The itinerary for the Mani-Rimdu festival and Everest Base Camp starts on 6th November and ends on 23rd November.
What does the schedule of Everest Base Camp Trek with the Mani Rimdu festival look like?
The Everest Base Camp Trek with the Mani Rimdu festival begins with a flight to Lukla after you arrive in Kathmandu and spend a day sightseeing. Then, you will trek for three days before reaching Tengboche, where the Mani Rimdu festival begins the next day. By spending three days in Tengboche, you are also better acclimatized for the rest of your journey. After you have witnessed the festival for 3 days, you will head out to Dingboche, Lobuche, and Gorak Shep before finally making final push to Everest Base Camp. Then, you reach Kala Patthar for the most beautiful sunrise imaginable amidst the mountains of the Everest region including a splendid view of Mt. Everest itself. The returning route of this trek is similar to the regular Everest Base Camp Trek.
How is the Mani Rimdu festival celebrated?
3 monasteries in Nepal - Tengboche, Thame, and Chiwong Monastery- celebrate the Mani Rimdu festival. You will get to witness sacred ceremonies, dances, chants, and rituals that make up this festival. The whole celebration lasts nineteen days, though only the final three days are allowed for the public to experience.
Six Preparations of Mani Rimdu Festival
1. Construction of Sand Mandala
There are various steps that make up the Sand Mandala. The complex, yet artistic symbolic design is made up of various colors. The Sand Mandala is a reference to the palace of Garwang Those Chenpo (Lord of the Dance).
2. Wong (The Empowerment)
Wong is celebrated on the opening day of the public celebration. It falls on the full moon day of the tenth month in the Tibetan lunar calendar. Everyone who attends the ceremony today is given blessed pills (which are known as Mani Rilwu) and pills for long life (Tshereel).
3. Cham (The Mask Dances)
The Cham dance symbolizes conquering or chasing away demons. They are also thought to be transformed into Protectors of Dharma. The theme of the dance is a fight between the forces of evil and omen. This helps to convey the philosophical teachings of Buddhism.
Ser-Kyem is a part of the Mani Rimdu festival where the monks that conduct the rituals make tea offerings to Dharma guards such as Mahakala. Alcohol is the main form of offering. Such an offering is made in silver vessels and small tormas. It is presented to the Lama, Yidam, Khandro, and Shi-Dak (the Earth deities).
5. Jinsak (The Fire- Puja)
This ceremony is performed in an open yard. This ceremony is about paying homage to the fire god - Agni. It also is a devotion to the Gods of the mandala. All the evil spirits in the world are thought of as dissolving into the grain. During this puja, butter is burned.
The final dance of the ceremony has Four Protecting things on a display. They are depicted as defenders of Buddhism against evil spirits. The dancers hide their faces with masks. Different dancers wear different colored masks. They also feint a run towards the children to frighten them for fun.