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About Mustang Region

Trekking to Mustang connects you to the third world, which seeks its own significance. Mustang has a distinct personality that sets it apart from the rest of Nepal. It is located to the north of the nation and shares the rain shadow with Tibet. The unofficial capital, Lo-Manthang, is a country inside a kingdom, with wide dry valleys, yaks, caravans, and colorfully painted mud-brick buildings set against a backdrop of stunning peaks like the Annapurnas, Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, Tukuche, and 30 more summits reaching beyond 6000 meters. Muktinath is known for its Buddhist and Hindu shrines. Mustang was first formally opened to trekkers in 1992, and only a limited number of visitors are permitted each year in order to safeguard and sustain indigenous Tibetan customs and the fragile environment. Trekking in Mustang transports you back hundreds of years to a land where time has stood still for millennia, where Tibetans live, farm, and trade in the same manner they have since time immemorial. Trekking in this region allows you to discover the western mountain range, with its magnificent wildness, beautiful landscapes, snowcapped peaks, and several 16th-century monasteries. The views from the 'Balcony' are spectacular. There are massive black and brown desert hills. Paddy and barley fields adorn vast black and brown desert hills, and the wind accompanies us everywhere we go.

Recognizing the uniqueness of this ancient, little country, the Nepalese have imposed a fee for anybody seeking to hike beyond Kagbeni, the Upper Mustang boundary. You would be among a select fortunate handful to visit this isolated corner of Nepal, since legitimate trekking groups were only permitted in for the first time in March 1992.

Explore the 16th-century monasteries, which are embellished with unparalleled paintings, Thanka art, and the status of colossal deities. Mustang's old culture, language, and traditional way of life are very comparable to those of Tibetans. Mustangans are known as Lobas, and they have their own King, Jigme Palbar Bista. When he was alive, he would give guests to his palace an audience.

Mustang is Lo's ancient kingdom. The Mustang district's seat is Jomsom, while the true Tibetan-style district is located north of Kagbeni and is known as Upper Mustang. Lo Manthang, the current king's residence, is a beautiful square-walled village perched on the 'Plain of Prayers.'

Mustang has an average height of 13,200 feet and is located north of the mountain giants Dhaulagiri and Annapurna, north of the main Himalayan range and physically part of Tibet's highlands. It is a large high dry valley with eroded canyons, colorful layered rock formations, and a desert-like aspect.

Mustang's hundreds of cliff homes, some of which appear entirely unreachable, are one of its most interesting aspects. The most current idea suggests that they date from 8 to 10,000 BC, when Mustang was much greener.

View and celebrate radically distinct vistas of the Himalayan environment beyond the mountains. The saying "Tyo Himal Paari Ko Gaun" - Village Beyond Snowcapped Mountains - is frequently used to characterize these areas of Nepal's Annapurna Region. Upper Mustang Region is full of the cultural, mountain, geographical, and traditional surprises. For wonderful trekking in Nepal, we provide Mustang Trip, Muktinath included trek, Mustang Trek with Miniature Mountain, Tiji Festival Trek, and Mustang Trek with High Pass packages. In certain areas of Nepal, specific authorization from the Nepal Government and Immigration is necessary. This region of Nepal is a restricted trekking territory designated by the Nepalese government as a highly sensitive and historical zone. Logistics and support arrangements are critical in this portion of Nepal.

The settlement is the last on the northern border with Tibet and is largely populated by Tibetans.

 

History

In terms of history, the Mustang region delivers a powerful punch for such a tiny area. It was previously a prohibited kingdom, isolated from China and with the Nepali government prohibiting international entrance. The exclusion began in 1959 when the Dalai Lama fled Tibet as the Chinese occupation became increasingly brutal.

In the early 1960s, the legendary Khampa warriors joined forces with other indigenous groups in the Mustang region to oppose the Chinese government. As a result, China urged that the Nepali government prohibit any foreigners from entering the Mustang area, which served as a conduit to Tibet. Foreigners were barred from visiting from 1962 until 1992 when the doors were reopened to tourists.

Mustang was an autonomous nation with its own ruler for a long time, and it had a crucial location on the trade route between the Himalayas and the Indian plains. It was claimed and conquered by Nepal in the 18th century, and the monarchy was dismantled by decree of the Nepali government in 2008, meaning that the Mustang Region lost its designation as a 'kingdom,' yet many in the region still acknowledge the monarchy today.

Unfortunately, the once-pure cultural region is beginning to experience the impacts of China and the outside world - a new road is presently being built through Mustang to connect China and Nepal. Change in the region is unavoidable, making now an excellent time to begin organizing a vacation.

 

Habitat and Points of Interest

Mustang is separated into three major sections. Baragaon is located to the north of Jomsom, Panchgoan is located between Jomsom and Marpha, and the Thak states are located to the south of Marpha. Baragoan, popularly known as 'Lower Lo,' was long dominated by the Mustang Rajas. Muktinath, a shrine venerated by both locals and Hindus, is also located in Baragoan. For Hindus, the isolated shrine of Muktinath is a highly holy pilgrimage place. For hundreds of years, this shrine has drawn both Buddhist and Hindu pilgrims. The Hindus worship the shrine's idols as God Visnu, while the Buddhists worship Lokeshwor.

The Thakalis are said to have converted to Buddhism under Tibetan influence in Panchgoan. Tilicho Lake is located in the neighboring Manang district at an elevation of 16,140 feet. It is the world's highest lake and is a day's journey from Kaisang camp.

 

The people

The inhabitants of southern Mustang consider themselves to be true Thakalis. The Thakali tribe is divided into two sects: Gauchnan (elephant, red), Tulachans (dragon, blue/red), Juharchan (jewel), and Pannachan (emerald). The Thakali have customs that are distinct from the rest of Nepal. The Thakalis are one of Nepal's wealthiest ethnic groups. These people owe their success to the Kali Gandaki trade route's exclusivity for several years. These people attribute their wealth to the Kali Gandaki trade route's exclusivity for numerous centuries. Thak Khola area has also made substantial contributions to the growth of tourism in Nepal during the previous quarter-century.

Mustang's remoteness and isolation have not deterred visitors from visiting this spectacular region. The location is well-known throughout the country and is a popular tourist attraction. Every year, thousands of visitors visit. They come to Mustang to view the gorgeous environment, monasteries, mountains, and lakes, to stroll on paths leading to jaw-dropping locations, caves, ever-flowing rivers and gorges, holy sites, and to experience the traditional Tibetan culture at its heart.

 

LO Manthang 

Lo Manthang is a popular tourist destination and the greatest site to visit in Mustang. Lo Manthang is the capital city of Nepal's secret Tibetan Kingdom. Lo Manthang is home to the King's Palace and other monasteries established in the early 15th century that is being repaired by art historians from across the world. The hamlet is famous for its whitewashed mud-brick walls, gompas, and the Royal or King's Palace. Choprang Gompa, also known as 'New Gompa,' Chodey Gompa, the main city gompa, Thunchen Gompa, the oldest of all Jampa Gompa.

Lo Manthang was forbidden to foreign visitors until 1992 and required special authorization. It is also accessible through the Lo Manthang trek, which follows the historic caravan route from Jomsom to Lo.

 

Muktinath 

Muktinath temple is located near Ranipauwa. It is one of the highest altitude temples in the world. Muktinath is a holy Hindu and Buddhist shrine dedicated to Lord Bishnu. It is located at the base of the Thorong La mountain pass. There are 108 stone water spouts from which the water of the Kali Gandaki flows, which is thought to purify one's spirit. The ever-burning flame is another major draw.

This temple is ranked 106th out of the 108 Divya Desam (premium temples) considered sacrosanct by the Sri Vaishnava sect. Chumig Gyatsa is a Buddhist term meaning "Hundred Waters" in Tibetan. Muktinath is an important destination for dakinis, deities known as Sky Dancers, and one of the holiest places for Tibetan Buddhists. Muktinath is an important location for dakinis, deities known as Sky Dancers, and one of the 24 Tantric places for Tibetan Buddhists.

 

Lake Dhumba

Dhumba Lake is a new tourist attraction in the Mustang area. It is a hidden treasure of the area, located around 7-8 kilometers from Jomsom. Dhumba Lake is a beautiful emerald green lake. It is located at a height of 2900 meters above sea level. This lake is well-known as a holy Buddhist lake. During the winter, this lovely lake totally freezes over. Due to religious beliefs, the local fish is not eaten. The major source of the lake is Dhumba Lake, which is located at the base of Nilgiri Mountain.

A variety of caverns may also be discovered in the Mustang region. Famous caverns include Jhong cave, Chusang village's sky caves, and Chungsi cave in Syangobochen hamlet. A collection of at least twelve caves, ornamented with ancient Buddhist artwork and placed on sheer cliffs at 4,300 meters in height, were recently found north of Annapurna and near the hamlet. Mustang is also surrounded by tiny settlements like Marpha, Kagbeni, Chhoser, Lubra, and Lurpa. Walking through these towns and seeing the native way of life is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that no one should miss when visiting Mustang. Mustang is home to several historic gumbas and monasteries. Some of the well-known monasteries include Chhairo Monastery, Red Monastery, Ghar Gumba, and Luri Gumba.

 

Gompa Thubchen

It's a beautiful monastery with lovely murals on the walls and dome. The entire monastery has beautiful wooden carved doors. The main entrance has four sculptures and a large prayer hall.

 

Manthang Lo

It is located in Upper Mustang, 50 kilometers from the Tibetan border and 250 kilometers from the Indian border. This is also one of the greatest hikes to begin from Jomsom. It is one of the most conserved locations because visitors were not permitted a few years ago.

This region has recently become one of Nepal's most popular trekking locations. Trekking to Lo Manthang takes you into the heart of Mustang. This is a pretty easy trip and a legal hiking path.

 

Chhairo Gompa 

Chhairo Monastery is a 16th-century art that is located in the Mustang area.

A footbridge spans the Kali Gandaki between Tujuche and Marpha. It continues on to the Tibetan village of Chhairo. Exploring this Gompa reveals various questions about the inhabitants, their origins, and their way of life.

 

Jomsom

Jomsom is the perfect site to begin walking to Mustang's isolated settlements and breathtaking scenery. It provides a variety of scenery and civilizations to meet along the trekking paths. It provides a breathtaking glimpse into the rural Nepali way of life.

 

Nature

Nature has endowed Mustang with a beauty that no other region in Nepal possesses. The paths to walk on once in a lifetime are the peaceful and solitary routes that transport hikers to wonderful locations with spectacular vistas around every bend. It is a site to witness close-up views of mountains like Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, and many others.

This mountain range is the source of one of Nepal's most important and sacred rivers, the Kali Gandaki. This river is well-known for its shaligrams or shilas, which are aniconic images of Vishnu. The river gorge is the deepest in the world. The world's deepest canyon is measured by the difference between the river height and the heights of the tallest peaks on each side. The Kali Gandaki has become the region's primary supply of water for its unique flora and animals.

Mustang is rich in temperate and trans-Himalayan biodiversity, with flora and animals ranging from common to extremely uncommon. It is home to endangered animal species such as the Snow Leopard, Musk Deer, Tibetan Wild Ass, and Tibetan Gazelle. Two of the 18 butterfly species found in Mustang are new, while three are unique to the region. This location is home to a diverse range of indigenous insects, birds, animals, and fish. Mustang, due to its high altitude, is rich in medicinal and fragrant plants with great commercial and ethnomedicinal potential.

Mustang's vegetation is steppe-like, with meadows interspersed with scrub. A mixed broad-leaved forest of rhododendrons, pines, and acer species grows in the lower section. Rhododendron, Potentilla biflora, and Saxifraga grow beyond 5,000 meters in elevation. Forest covers around 3.24 percent of the Mustang. Because of the intense freezing, there is essentially no flora above a height of 5,800 meters. The forest covers the end at Jomsom, and it is quite restricted in the Upper Mustang region, which is in the Alpine climatic zone.

 

Climate

You may be aware that Nepal is located in a climate zone, which implies it has a monsoon season. Monsoon season in the Himalayas lasts from July through late September or early October. Fortunately, the Mustang Region does not experience the same monsoon rains since it is located in the rain shadow of the Annapurna Massif and is protected from the downpours that fall to the south/southeast. In fact, the monsoon season is an excellent time to visit the Mustang Region since temperatures are lower and more suitable for hiking.

Here's a basic rundown of the seasons in the Mustang Region; for more information, see our Best Time to Visit Nepal page:



Lifestyle

Mustang has a border with Tibet, and its culture is heavily influenced by Tibetan culture. In terms of religion and culture, Upper Mustang is regarded as one of the remaining areas on the earth where pure Tibetan Buddhism culture is still practiced as it was centuries ago. The Lopa people live in the upper section of Mustang, whereas the Thakali people live in the lower or southern region. The primary languages are Bhote, Sherpa, and Nepali. Gurung (45 percent) and Thakali (45 percent) are the two most populous castes/ethnic groupings (17 percent ).

Buddhist temples, chortens and stupas, prayer stone walls, red-robed monks, and women wearing colorfully striped Tibetan aprons are typical sights. Mustang dwellings are distinguished for their mud-walled communities.

The primary vocations are agriculture and animal husbandry. However, with the increased number of tourists and the lifting of the tourist ban, many individuals are working in the hotel and hospitality industry. Because they can easily make a living by providing a place to stay and food, it has become the primary activity for many of the people in this region.

 

Things to Do

As more people have access to travel throughout the world, it is becoming increasingly difficult to identify really pristine cultural treasures that are also safe to visit. Upper Mustang is still one of those places, with friendly residents and a strong sense of heritage. It is a trekker's paradise, with breathtaking scenery and tranquil pathways.

There is a $50USD per day fee to access the territory, and an annual quota (currently) of 1,000 individuals, thus the number of people traveling through remains minimal.

There are several hikes to do, old man-made caves to explore, and a rich Tibetan Buddhist culture to immerse yourself in. There are guesthouses strewn about that provide a pleasant stay, and excursions may even be performed on horseback if the distance is an issue.

Check out our 'Forbidden Kingdom of Lo' Trek to be the first of your friends to explore this mythical location; you'll also get a more thorough itinerary and feedback from prior visitors.

 

If you enjoy mountain biking, you may be familiar with the Upper Mustang's world-class routes. The variety of routes, both in terrain and difficulty, make this a must-see for mountain bikers of all skill levels. Tours from Kathmandu and Pokhara are available to explore this magnificent region on two wheels with experts who will help you uncover all the hidden beauties.

 

It's difficult to think of a more real culture than that of the Mustang area. The capital is Lo Manthang, which has Gompas, a royal palace, traditional dwellings, and small lanes. Upper Mustang is home to the Muktinath temple, a location of religious significance for Hindus. The amazing thing is that even if you don't visit one of the Gompas or temples, you'll get a strong feeling of culture through the people, cuisine, and attitude as you tour this lovely region.

The first caverns displayed fading geometric mandalas painted into the open-sided cave ceiling; the second location at Jhong was a four-story maze of interconnected chambers. We entered its labyrinth through rickety wooden staircases, all five of us smiling with delight at the carved interiors.

 

Best Mustang Trekking Advice

Consider the following practical advice to make the most of your Mustang trek:

  1. To escape road traffic on the initial leg of the trail, charter a jeep from Jomsom to Cheli or Samar and begin trekking from there.
  2. Consider hiring a horse and guide in Jomsom to transport your luggage as an environmentally friendly alternative to traveling by vehicle.
  3. Instead of camping, stay at a teahouse in Chele, Samar, Syangboche, Ghemi, Tsirang, Lo Manthang, Choser, Yara, Tangye, or Chusang.
  4. Camping is really only necessary if you're going off the beaten path on the wild trip to Damodar or across the Tiri-La pass to the Nar-Phu area.
  5. Hikers with a sense of adventure can return from Lo Manthang along the roadless eastern side of the valley, on a steep and exposed track that passes through the lovely towns of Dhi, Tangye, and Tetang. The wind-sculpted cliff caves of Yara hamlet are a highlight of the walk, and from here you may day-trip to Luri Gompa's beautiful Buddhist frescoes.



Where is Mustang?

Dhaulagiri and the Tibetan plateau's edge It is useful for learning about the location of Mustang Nepal on the global map. The last forbidden kingdom's main draw is its traditional culture, high-altitude desert, old caverns, steep gorges, and stunning terrain.

Ame Pal established the independent Kingdom in 1380. Nepal annexed it in the 18th century. The erstwhile Kingdom of Lo was formally made a part of Nepal in 1950. Upper Mustang, one of the world's most unspoiled places, has been exposed to a restricted number of tourists since 1992. To visit Mustang Nepal, a special permit is required.

 

Upper Mustang details in brief

Upper Mustang Nepal's capital is Lo Manthang. This region's arts, culture, tradition, and religion are very comparable to those of Tibet. The majority of the locals speak Tibetan and the area is comparable to Tibet. The primary vocations of the people who live in this area are tourism, commerce, and animal husbandry.

 

What is the location of the Mustang?

Upper Mustang Nepal is located in the Himalayas, alongside the Kaligandaki River. It flows south to Nepal, cutting through Mustang in the process. Trekkers go along the narrow cliffs, ascend to the cave, and take in the solitude and beautiful views of the blue sky and mountains. The river path was utilized for salt trafficking and was an important trade route between Tibet and India.

The Kali Gandaki gorge is formed by river valley portions in Mustang Nepal's south. This gorge is also the world's deepest. The upper mustang trip begins at Kagbeni hamlet at 2810 meters and ends in Lo Manthang at 3,840 meters / 12,600 feet above sea level.

 

Upper Mustang will visit the Tibetan plateau in Nepal.

Discover Upper Mustang's characteristic Tibetan towns, historic man-made caverns, Tibetan culture, and natural grandeur. Despite having the Himalayas right behind it, it is a hamlet encircled on all sides by red hills. It is a scenery that appears to be a dream.

Because of the expense, a tiny number of tourists visit this location each year. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you should not pass up. Upper Mustang Nepal has retained its individuality, bringing you near to traditional Tibetan culture.

 

FAQs

How much does this journey cost?

The permit to go to Upper Mustang costs USD $50 for ten days. However, if you intend to spend more days in the zone, you must pay USD $50 for each extra day per person. Food and lodging might cost roughly $25 per day. It all depends on where you stay and what you want to eat. Check out the cost of the Lower Mustang trip and the cost of the Upper Mustang journey for more information.

 

When is the best time to travel to Mustang, Nepal?

Autumn and spring are the finest seasons for trekking in Nepal. Upper Mustang is best visited in the autumn, spring, and monsoon seasons. During the spring, the weather is mild, the rhododendrons are in full bloom, and the views of the mountains are spectacular.

 

How long does the Upper Mustang journey take?

Upper Mustang may be reached in 12 to 16 days. However, it depends on the route you take.

 

How can I go to Upper Mustang?

Upper Mustang can be reached in a variety of ways. You may take a driving trip from Pokhara or Kathmandu to Jomsom and then trek to Upper Mustang. Alternatively, you may fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara and then to Jomsom. You climb uphill from Jomsom to the fascinating settlements of Mustang.