Mustang: Then and Now
Upper Mustang Trek is an exploration of the concealed valleys of upper Mustang in the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal. Interestingly upper Mustang is nestled between Tibet and the Himalayas - a place different from the rest of the world, once forbidden by the Buddhist Kingdom in Nepal. The walled city of Lomanthang used to be a part of the Tibetan kingdom of Gungthang until the 1830s. The early history of Lomanthang is embellished in myths and legends rather than the recorded facts. Even though the upper Mustang is changing it still surprises the visitors with its stunning vista and the stubborn way it clings to its unique culture. Indeed the culture is fighting back, crumbing artworks are being restored. Crumbing monasteries have been rebuilt and refilled with the sound of bald children in robes studying the ancient Buddhist ways.
Trek to upper Mustang - an exploration of the fascinating medieval Himalayan Kingdom.
There are around 275 houses in Lo Mangthang having four castes. The royal castle, the everyday folk, the blacksmiths, and the butchers and millers. The whole Lo Manthang village has solar electricity nowadays. Decorative style small herb garden of various holy decorations, flapping flags, and of course stacked firewood. There was a time when certain families needed to supply firewood for the royal family. Sky burial and polyandry remain to practice in this upper mustang region.
It is believed that Guru Rinpoche had fought with demons among the Mustang's snow-capped mountain, desert canyons, and grassland. Once Guru Rinpoche killed the demon, it is said he scattered the demon’s body parts across the Mustang valley. Consequently, its blood formed the towering red cliffs and its intestines tumbled near Ghami where people have later build the stone prayer wall. Thus the longest prayer wall in Nepal, on top of the demon’s intestines.
Upper Mustang Trek - The Once Forbidden Kingdom
Mustang Trekking in Nepal was officially opened in 1992. Particularly limited numbers of trekkers are only allowed each year. Thus to protect and conserve the local Tibetan tradition and the fragile environment. Mustang trip in Nepal unfolds the fabled forbidden kingdom's vast and arid valleys, eroded canyons, yak caravans. Furthermore the colorful-painted mud-brick houses next to a majestic mountain of Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri ranges.
Surprising this Upper Mustang Trekking is one of the best treks to do even in the monsoon season in Nepal. Hence it lies in the rain shadow, north of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges, completely sheltered from the monsoon. We take return Pokhara Jomsom Pokhara flight to avoid the lower rainy section hike in the Annapurna region. The best advantage of doing this cultural Mustang trek in monsoon time is that the village is full of local people busy at their everyday works. Furthermore, the whole region is in bloom which makes really a fabulous contrast with the wind-eroded hills, red cliffs, and snow-capped mountains in the background – a great vista. Thus upper Mustang trek is once in a lifetime destination to explore the fascinating medieval walled kingdom of Lo Manthang.