Mani Rimdu festival is one of the ancient festivals of the Sherpa people living in the Everest region. This festival is a total of 19 consecutive day festivities. It concludes with the last three days allocated as public viewing of the festival. The meaning attributed to “Mani Rimdu” is that ‘Mani’ means “part of the chant of Chenrezig” and ‘Rilbu’ or ‘Rimdu’ means small red pills that are blessed during the festival. The red pills are blessed repeatedly and then distributed to all those who attend.
History of Mani Rimdu Festival
The Mani Rimdu festival is known to have started from Rongbuk monastery. This festival signifies the establishment of Buddhism in Tibet by Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava). The dances performed during the festival refers to the mythological events of destroying demons and evil from the world by the positive forces.
In Trulshik Rinpoche‘s estimation, Mani Rimdu started between 1907 and 1910 and moved to Solukhumbu in about 1940. Tengboche was the first monastery in Nepal to perform this festival. According to Jerstad and Furer-Haimendorf, the first Mani Rimdu in Tengboche was performed in 1938. Every year, this festival falls during October or November.
This festival is a re-creation of historic events, the inception of Buddhism in Tibet by the great saint Rinpoche. At the end of the festivities the resident Tengboche Rinpoche of the monastery blesses the general public after which the ‘Mask Dances’ are performed by the monks.
One of the sought after trekking destination in Nepal is Everest Base Camp Trek. The trek starts from Lukla and concludes at Kala Pathar. Tourists prefer to lodge around the Tengboche monastery to witness the Mani Rimdu festival during Autumn season. Many routes to Everest Base camp passes through the Tengboche monastery. The Tengboche monastery sees a total of around 15,000 visitors annually, whereas during Autumn, it sees an estimated 600 visitors weekly. Thus, Tengboche Monastery and Mani Rimdu are major attractions for tourists in Nepal.
Dates for the Mani Rimdu Festival
This year the dates of the Mani Rimdu festival for public viewing have been fixed as following:
- November 4, 2017
- November 5, 2017
- November 6, 2017