Festivals take shape in many forms.
Whether centered around the onset of a new year, food, music, religion, or ancestry, festivals share a profound commonality in their ability to bring people together, the young and old, spiritual and secular, rich and poor, local and foreign.
Festivals often showcase the traditions, values and practices of a particular community. For the traveler, this sets a unique stage for learning about a place, about people and their particular culture.
Mani Rimdu takes place at Chiwong Monastery in the Solukhumbu district of Eastern Nepal. The festival lasts 19 days, with the final 3 being open to the public. The festival celebrates the establishment of Buddhism in Tibet by the revered Guru Rinpoche. Monks adorn themselves with elaborate masks and costumes and perform a series of ritualistic dances, telling tales of the great master. Lamas and Sherpas gather at the monastery to ensure the welfare of the world and through this celebration, the universe is realigned, illusions are destroyed, demons are conquered and the virtuous rewarded.
Exclusive use of a The Happy House, owned and cared for by Ang Tshering Lama and his team.
At 2,500 meters above sea level in the remote eastern Himalaya, The Happy House sits amid pine trees, rhododendron forests, and ancient yak trading routes. It offers 10 ensuite bedrooms, a large living room with several fireplaces, a library, meditation/yoga center and a bar.
The Happy House is a cozy abode where Everest explorers, including Sir Edmund Hillary and Count Guido Monzino, loved to stay. The name ‘Happy House’ was unofficially bestowed upon it by Hillary, describing it as his happy house. For long considered a salon for the mountain literati, it has now opened its door to a wider audience. Several excursions can be organized from here on a daily basis.
You will arrive in Kathmandu and be greeted by Ang.
Perhaps, you spend a night or two in the capital before heading off to the mountains.
To reach the Happy House, you will either fly by helicopter or take a small domestic flight into Phaplu.
From the Happy House, Chiwong Monastery can be reached by foot, mountain bike or by car.
Walking: 2.5 hours up / 1.5 hours down
Mountain biking: 1.5 hours up / 1 hours down
Driving: 40 minutes
Mani Rimpu is a moving festival, with the main empowerment day taking place on 9th full moon of the Lunar calendar. The celebration occurs between mid-October to mid-November of each year.
The first two open days of the festival are colorful, exciting & spiritually powerful.
Following the festival, you should spend the remainder of your week at the Happy House. There are wonderful hiking and biking trails which follow the old yak trading routes. Alternatively, you may curl up by the fire with a book and a cup of Sherpa butter tea.
Ang Tshering Lama, the owner of Beyul Experiences and The Happy House. He will guide you through your time in Nepal.
You will leave Nepal with a deeper understanding of Tibetan Buddhism and its role in the region. The Himalayan scenery, mountaineering lore, and Sherpa traditions will leave an undeniable imprint on your heart.