Mustang Motorbike Tour with Tiji Festival

Lomash Dhamala

Mustang Region is becoming a very popular destination for motorbike tour. Since I am also a motorbike enthusiastic, I had wanted to travel Mustang region in my bike. I have a Honda CB 350 RS and I felt the bike was capable to complete this trip. Before the trip I made sure my bike was in perfect condition by changing brake pad and having a small maintenance to make sure there was no problem in the bike. Once that was completed I packed by bags and made sure to have all the equipment ready for this journey. I attached a Go Pro mount in my helmet so that I capture video from the trip.

First day I head to Chitwan as I had to attend a family wedding. The distance from Kathmandu to Chitwan is around 160 km. The journey took me around 5 hours to reach from Kathmandu to Chitwan. The ride was pleasant with lot of curves and twists. I stopped in Mugling for Lunch. Mugling is also the town from where the highway splits and you can either go to Pokhara or Chitwan. From Mugling is was around 1 and half hour to Bharatpur in Chitwan region. I went to my relative’s house, got changed and attended the wedding. Since it was in late May time, the weather was also quite hot there. The wedding was lovely and I enjoyed meeting my relatives from Chitwan.

Next morning I headed to Pokhara. The distance from Bharatpur in Chitwan to Pokhara is around 150 km. The ride took me around 5-6 six hours. Till Mugling the road was really nice but from Mugling to Pokhara the road is terrible and full of road construction and dust. The highway from Mugling to Pokhara is having a large construction work taking place where the road will be extended from 2 lanes to 4 lanes road. The project will take around 2 hours to complete so currently the state of the road is really bad and by the time I reached Pokhara me and by bike were completely covered in dust.

From Pokhara I made my way towards Mustang with today’s destination being Muktinath. Muktinath is a holy Hindu and Buddhist temple of Lord Vishnu. The drive was around 7-8 hours long. On the way we pass through the town on Beni, than Tatopani (natural hot springs) and Jomsom. After Beni the road is off road and around 20 km before the village of Marpha there is paved road. Today’s journey is beautiful and fascinating as we cross waterfalls, village, jungle, river and different terrain. In the end we reached the beautiful village of Muktinath which is located at an altitude of 3762 m. We than had dinner and drinks and had a good sleep in our nice and cozy hotel.

Before breakfast we headed to Muktinath temple to visit the temple and make prayers. I also sprayed my body with the holy water in the temple. There is 108 taps where people enter from one end and walk all the way to the end as a form of a shower of holy water and then there are two ponds where people take a dip after crossing the 108 holy taps. After the temple visit I made my way back to hotel for breakfast. After breakfast I continued my bike ride with today’s destination being Dhakmar. The motorbike ride to Dhakmar was around 5-6 hours long. The ride was quite tiring as the road as rocky so it became very bumpy while riding. Aside from the road, the view was amazing with amazing Landscape with unique rock formations and almost desert like environment. Since I reach Dhakmar in the afternoon around 3-4 P.M. i had plenty hours to rest and see the views of this beautiful village which had beautiful Tibetan design houses also amazing natural landscape as well.

Next day from Dhakmar I made my way towards Lo Manthang, the capital of Mustang. The drive was quite short around 4-5 hours with a stop in the middle to visit a beautiful monastery. Then I finally reached Lo Manthang. Lo Manthang located at an altitude of 3,840 m used to be the walled capital of Kingdom of Lo. It was founded in 1380 A.D. by Ame Pal was oversaw the construction of the city wall and many other structures that are still standing. Most of the wall and building are whitewashed mud-bricks that give the village its iconic look. Its beautiful village was narrow alleys with rich Buddhist culture. Today was also the first day of Tiji Festival. Tiji festival is the biggest festival in Mustang that runs for 3 days starting from 5th May and ending on 7th May of each year. The festival commemorates the victory of Dorjee Sonnu who is an incarnation of Lord Buddha against the demon called Man Tam Ru who used to feed on human beings and cased storms and droughts. The festival stared around 2 P.M. in the village center in from of the Palace building. The festival consisted of monks chanting prayers and also monks dancing in colorful traditional costume. It was very beautiful and amazing to see such a unique festival. The courtyard area was also packed from tourist and local people who came to witness and celebrate the festival.

On the second day of the festival I went to visit the Shija Jhong Cave near Chhoser village. It is one of almost 10,000 man-made caves in Upper Mustang that dates back more than 2500 years. Shija Jhong cave is 5 storey cave with more than 40 rooms. On the 5th floor there are some big holes that are carved to be windows. The view from the window was truly breathtaking. After the cave visit my made my way towards the Korala Nepal-China boarder. The ride was around 2 hours long from Chhoser village with the boarder being at an altitude of 4,660 m. There is a check post few km ahead of Chhoser from where only Nepali people are allowed to go to the border. After visiting the border I travel back to Lo Manthang to witness the second day of Tiji Festival. Today I go to witness more dances with different dresses and even masked dance.

The following day would be the start of my journey back to Kathmandu. That day I drove till Tatopani which is famous for hot springs. It was a nice place to relax and heal my body from the long motorbike journey. Next day I reached Pokhara and stayed in Pokhara for 2 nights to enjoy the beautiful town on Pokhara. After that I travelled back to Kathmandu. After reaching Kathmandu I was finished my motorbike trip and had covered more that 1000 km during the journey. It was an amazing trip with beautiful memories and experiences that will stay in my mind and heart forever.

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