Upper Mustang Treks

By: Sushant Budhathoki


Upper Mustang is restricted region of Nepal by the Government of Nepal. Upper Mustang which is similar to Tibet for its landscape, culture and tradition trekkers visit Upper Mustang to explore and experience Tibetan practise unspoiled as it was earlier. Upper mustang offers the best of Tibetan buddhism, different landscape than Nepal in common has and lifestyle. For the trek we need to apply for special permit. Our trek begins with drive to Pokhara and then fly to Jomsom. We then pass through various beautiful settlements as Kagbeni, Chele, Syanbochen, Ghyami, Charang, Lo manthang and return. View of Himalayan peaks. The Upper Mustang trek brings you into the hidden world of the old Buddhist kingdom of Mustang also called Lo. Lo used to be part of the Tibetan empire, and is therefore closely related to Tibet. Tibetan Buddhism is still being practiced in a very pure form and villages are built in Tibetan style, with white washed houses with firewood tucked on the roofs.

Not only is the culture, also the landscape very much related to Tibet. Mustang lies in the rain shadow of the Dhaulagiri and you walk in a complete desolate landscape, surrounded by rocks in all kind of colors and bizarre formations. In this barren landscape the villages with their bright colored fields are like an oasis. The trail follows the salt caravan route of the old days, during which the people of Mustang traded Tibetan salt with grain from the lowlands. The goal of the Upper Mustang trek is the capital of Upper Mustang, Lo Mangtang. Lo Mangtang is a medieval town, surrounded by a huge town wall. From the pass Lo La (3950 m) you can see the town shimmering in the distance in the barren landscape. Entering Lo Mangtang through the town gate you enter a different world. It is just wonderful to wander through the narrow alleys. On several corners of the street you can find small groups of women spinning wool and discussing the news of the day. At the end of the afternoon big herds of goats are being let through the city gate and through the narrow alleys, back to their sheds, which are inside the town. In Lo Mangtang you can find the palace of the king, a huge 4 story high building. When the king is at home, you can even pay him a visit sometimes. The king doesn't have any real power anymore, but is of course still highly respected by his people. Besides, there are a few beautiful big monasteries, for example the Thugchen Gompa, built in the 15th century. Or visit the amchi museum and amchi school. An amchi is a traditional Tibetan doctor. There are 2 amchis living in Lo Mangtang, which are also the official doctors of the king. They founded a school to preserve this ancient wisdom. Also interesting is a ride by horse to Chhoser, where you can visit a small monastery and a century old cave dwelling, situated high in the rocks.

Mustang is a mystic land in the rain shadow area of Nepal. Upper Mustang, with topography and culture resembling Tibet has many unique features and attractions. Mustang is an ancient Himalayan Kingdomwhich lies in the northern central part of Nepal and at the top of the Kaligandaki River. Upper Mustangconsists of two distinct regions: the southern part and the northern where the languages, culture and traditions are alike to those of the Tibetan people. Upper Mustang is consider as one of the most interesting and picturesque places in Nepal. The whole area has an isolated and mystical feel to it, enchanting and inspiring visitors to this region. The major attraction of Upper Mustang is the walled city of Lo-Manthang. Upper Mustang was a separate kingdom within Nepal until the time of Monarchy till 2006 and even after the downfall of Monarchy this small Tibetan settlement has the same respect for their King Jigme Paramal Bista. The trek to Lo-Manthang is through high altitude desert country climbing in and out of the huge sided valley of the Kali Gandaki. In places the gorge which the Kali Gandaki River runs through is the deepest in the world. This region is full of some of Nepal's oldest Buddhist Monasteries, ancient and isolated villages with quaint white washed houses

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