Trekking Region: Everest Region
Trekking Name: Mani Rimdu Festival Trek
Best Season: May, November & December
Trekking Type: Teahouse Trek
Maximum HIght: 5600m.
Transport: Car / Bus /Flight
Duration: 22 days
Celebrating Mani Rimdu Festival
Experiencing Sherpa culture
Stepping at an altitude of 5,333m.
Close-up views of world's most impressive mountains
Physical, cultural and religious diversity
Famous trek of Everest region.
Along with Tibetan New Year (Lhosar), Mani Rimdu festival is one of the important festivals of the year. The festival is celebrated at the monasteries of Tengboche, Thami and Chiwang. The monks dramatize the triumph of Buddhism over Bon, the ancient animistic religion of Tibet wearing elaborate masks and costumes. The first day of Mani Rimdu is called Ong and involves prayers by the lamas in the monastery courtyard. The second day is called Cham which is the coloruful lama dancing. Lamas wear brocade gowns and wonderfully painted papier-mache masks in the festival. The performance is attended by hundreds of Sherpas from all over the Khumbu region. Besides, it is an important social occasion as well as an entertaining spectacle. The lamas also dramatize two absurd comic sequences along with the serous and intricate dances which make the entire performance a grant and amusing event. The villagers join in an all-night Sherpa dance on the final evening of Mani Rimdu.
The celebration of Mani Rimdu differs from one place to another. Mani Rimdu at Tengboche usually takes place at the November-December full moon. In Thame, a spring celebration of the Mani Rimdu festival is held on the day of the full moon closest to the middle of May each year. Mani Rimdu at Thame tends to be a little more spirited than the autumn festival at Tengboche because the rimpoche ( reincarnate lama) at Thame is more liberal than the Tengboche Lama. At Chiwang gompa in the Solu, Mani Rimdu is held in autumn usually on the same day as of Tengboche. The Chiwang gompa celebration may be more authentic version because it is presided over by the head lama of Thubten Chooling, who is the reincarnate lama of Rongbuk, where Mani Rimdu had its origin.
Amplified by the clear mountain air, the cacophony of sound is deafening. Conversation becomes impossible and all attention turns to the temple entrance, whence a procession of solemn faced monks is emerging. Dressed in orange silk robes, and with yellow crescent-shaped hats perched precariously on their heads, they carry an assortment of instruments including bugles made from human bones, giant conch shells and long, brass horns.
From the tiny airstrip at Lukla (altitude 9,400 feet), we load our gear onto yaks and begin our journey through Sherpa villages, forests and glacial lakes to our high point of over 18,000 feet. From Gokyo Ri, we gaze upon the roof of the world — the awe-inspiring panorama of Cho Oyu, Lhotse, Lhotse Shar, Nuptse, Makalu and Everest, five peaks that rise above 25,000 feet! During our trek we cross a 17,778 foot pass, visit a Saturday market and local monasteries, discover Tibetan Buddhist culture and meet the Sherpa people, who are as memorable and captivating as the Himalayan peaks that tower above their home. This will be an enjoyable experience if you like physical activity and the outdoors. With a positive and flexible attitude, we will enjoy the challenge of this trip creating many fond memories and great pictures. It's the experience of a lifetime!
Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu (1320m.)
Upon our arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), we would be received by our representative and transfer to our hotel.
Day 02: Kathmandu
It is the day of our preparation for the trek. All the documentation, buying of trekking gears, etc. will be done today. The remaining time will be utilized for sightseeing around the Kathmandu valley.
Day 03: Kathmandu to Lukla (2886m) and then to Phakding (2640m.)
We take early flight from Kathmandu to Lukla (2886m.). After breakfast we start our trek to Phakding (2640 m.). We trek following a gentle climb up the mountainside on the left bank of the Dudh Koshi. Nupla (5885m) can be seen in a stone throwing distance on the opposite bank. In the late afternoon, we reach Phakding.
Day 04: Phakding to Namche Bazzar (3440m.)
Having breakfast at Phakding, we commence our trek to Namche Bazaar (3440 m.).The trail goes along the right bank of Dudh Koshi. Thamserku is standing majestically skyward on the opposite bank. We then reach Bengar. The trail now climbs from the riverbed on the left bank into the mountain, through a forest to Chumoa. We continue along the trail with many ups and downs; cross a stream, and pass by the tiny village Monjo. We then come to Sagarmatha National Park Service where a park entrance fee is to be deposited. We follow a short walk along the riverbed of this V-shaped valley where the river forks Dudh Koshit to the right Bhote Koshi to the left. Now we begin steep ascent to Namche Bazar. On the way, we would have excellent views of Everest (8848m) and Lhotse (8516m.).Surrounded on three sides by mountain ranges, Namche Bazar (3440m) is a central hub of the area for food, trekking gears and other necessary goods.
Day 05: Acclimatization at Namche Bazzar
We take rest at Namche Bazaar (3440 m.) for acclimatization. It is considered as an ideal place for acclimatization to the high altitude before heading towards Tyangboche. We go up to Khhumjung monastery. It is a small settlement of Sherpa community. We enjoy the splendid view of Mt. Everest, Ama Dablam, Thamserku, Nuptse, Lhotse, Tawche, Kwangde and so on from here. While returning to Namche, we would visit Museum just above the town that exhibits Sherpa culture.
Day 06: Namche Bazaar to Kunde (3840m.)
As soon as we pass Namche village we trek along the hillside that offers excellent views of most of the Khumbu valley panoramically surrounded by Mt. Everest and Lhotse on the north and Amadablam to the east. As we trek through ups and downs, the trail then descends to Phungi Thanga, where a few small teashops are set on the bank of Dudhkoshi River. After crossing the bridge, it's straight uphill until we finally reach the small plateau of Tengboche monastery where we find relief as we set up tonight's camp. After settling at the camp, walk to the Tenboche Monastery to witness the famous festival of Mani Rimdu.
Day 07: Kunde to Dole (4040m)
The trail up the Dudh Kosi River transports us to summer yak-grazing country. Today’s hike is a long one and includes two long ascents (over 1,000 feet) as well as one long descent. On average, we should accomplish it in about six to seven hours.
Day 08: Dole to Macherma (4410m.)
Walking along the alpine meadow enjoying yaks and alpine highland birds and flowers, with view of Cho Oyu (8153m) to the North is rewarding one. We'll take a break today with a short day on the trail— just about two hours of hiking. As we have gained our altitude, we won't go higher or push harder. We'll have most of the day to explore remote spots to the west, climb into the craggy mountains or simply kick back surrounded by a blissful panorama.
Day 09: Macherma to Gokyo (4750m.)
We amble along the banks of a melted glacial river that snakes down the west side of the Ngozumpa Glacier. As we pass two small, deep–blue glacial lakes, we finally reach the yersa of Gokyo poised on the stark eastern shore of the third lake. These are the rough stone huts that are the summer homes for the herders.
We climb up the moraine on the far side of the village and then walk gently downhill to the village of Fanka. The path enters a very steep region where the path is cut into a cliff. Arrive at the foot of a rock staircase and begin the slow climb upwards. We then enter at a wooden bridge over the Dudh Kosi and mark the first of the Gokyo Lakes, populated with its amazing high altitude ducks. Just before Gokyo, there is a chautara (resting place) covered with prayer flags. Gokyo village can be seen from here.
Day 10: Gokyo Lake to Gokyo Ri (5,333m.) and back to Gokyo Lake
We climb up to the top of Gokyo Ri early in the morning to have stunning views of the upper Gokyo valley, the massive Ngozumpa Glacier and an incredible panoramic view of the whole Khumbu Himalayas like- Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Makalu (8481m), Cho-Oyu (8153m) and Gychung Kang (7922m) and many more.
Day 11: Gokyo to Thangnak (4661m.)
Today, crossing the Dudh Kosi, we hike within clear sight of the terminal moraine of Ngosumpa Glacier before climbing up to our lofty, open campsite. We are hiking in the very rare air between 15,000 and 16,000 feet for six to seven hours through breathtaking hanging glaciers and astounding 360 degree mountain vistas. We walk purposefully as our eyes take in the amazing contrasts of earth and sky which surrounds us.
Day 12: Thangnak to Dzongla (4830m.)
Today our focus will be aided by good Glacier Glasses as we climb the Cho La Pass (5330m) across blindingly–bright snowfields. We pass close views of hanging glaciers above us as we continue on a steep descent through loose rock and large stone slabs. Later we arrive at the yersa of Dzongla — perched on a shelf of land sporting fine views in every direction.
Day 13: Dzongla to Dingboche (4410m)
We descend passing lush alpine pastures and temporary summer villages. In summer, villagers from lower altitudes bring their stock here to graze as well as cultivate several crops nearby. Our trail passes under majestic Tawoche (21,462 feet) and crosses the Imja Khola River to reach the beautiful stone village of Dingboche. We are now surrounded by fields of winter wheat.
Day 14: Dingboche excursion or Kala Pattar ascent (5550m.) to Chhukung (4730m.)
It is the day of excursion for those who are not taking the side trip to Kala Pattar. There are many areas of hiking for those who are not going to Kala Pattar.
Day 15: Those who go uphill to the summit of Kala Pattar (Black Rock) (5550m.) will view Everest Base Camp and Mount Everest, with a clear close view of the Ice Fall and the South Col. Black Rock is actually a spur of Pumori, a beautiful peak whose Tibetan name means "Daughter Peak." Afterwards, we continue crossing the Kongma La (over 18,000 feet) for more inspiring views before finally rejoining the rest of group at Chhukhung.
Day 16: Chhukhung to Pangboche (3930m.)
Today we make a long but moderate descent to Pangboche, the highest year-round settlement in the Imja Khola Valley. There is a gompa above the main village which was built some 300 years ago when Buddhism was first introduced in the Khumbu. We could also see relics of the Yeti or abominable snowman in the monastery in some years back, however they were abruptly stolen a few years back.
Day 17-19: Pangboche to Thangboche (3860m.)
Out short but steep climb brings us to Thangboche (3860m.). Thangboche is famous for its age old monastery. It is also the spiritual center of the Everest region and enjoys stunning panoramas of the Himalayas. The main gompa was burned in January 1989, but was beautifully reconstructed later.
It is the place where we enjoy Mani Rimdu festival with the locals. As already mentioned earlier, the celebration of the festival usually takes place at the November-December full moon.
Day 20: Tengboche to Namche
We return to familiar territory as we head "down the hill" to the Sherpa capital, Namche. En-route, one can enjoy the alpine forests, rich Sherpa culture and typical Himalayan Nepali way of life. Overnight stay at Namche.
Day 21: Namche to Lukla (2800m.)
Having breakfast at Namche, we trek down to Lukla (2800m.). lunch would be served at Monjo. En route, we gradually descend along the bank of Dudh Koshi River. We would have plenty of opportunities to walk over suspension bridges.
Day 22: Lukla to Kathmandu
We board our early flight to Kathmandu from Lukla. Upon arrival at TIA, we would be received by our representatives and transfer to hotel. In the afternoon, we would go for shopping.In the evening, a farewell dinner would be served at Nepali typical restaurant.
Note: The departure schedule can be changed on any unavoidable circumstances such as weather hazards, trail slides, and avalanches.