Upper Mustang caves

The Upper Mustang region lies in the Northern part of Mustang district in Nepal. It used to be one of the famous trading routes between Nepal and Tibet. The people of Mustang practice Tibetan Buddhism and speak a Tibetan dialect. It once was an independent Kingdom from 1380 until it was annexed into Nepal in the 18th century.

The people of Upper Mustang practice animal husbandry, trading, and some limited seasonal farming. Farming was always limited due to its position in the Trans Himalaya with a semi-arid climate. In recent years, the receding glaciers have made it even more difficult to cultivate in this high land, so much so that some villages have been abandoned and the inhabitants have migrated elsewhere: ironic for the place called Smon-Thang in Tibetan which means fertile plain.

For more details about Upper Mustang

Upper Mustang Trek

To reach Upper Mustang, one must travel northwards of the Kali Gandaki Valley, the most in-depth ravine in the world with Mount Nilgiri 7055 meters – 7134 meters and Mount Dhaulagiri 8167 meters the seventh highest peak in the world to its South. The average altitude of Mustang is around 4000 meters. The capital, Lo Manthang is a walled city. Trekkers were only allowed to visit the Upper Mustang since 1992. Nepal government charges a special area permit of US$500 for ten days and $50 for every additional day in this area.

The visiting international groups must also be accompanied by a liaison office to keep close supervision to protect centuries-old local traditions and cultures. Due to this high permit fee, less than 1000 trekkers visit this region every year. Only the Bonafide Trekking companies of Nepal can obtain this special area permit. For more on Lo ManthangUpper Mustang Hike

Lo Manthang is known for its high whitewashed mud-brick walls, Gompas, and the King’s five-story palace. It is believed to have been constructed in the 15th century. There are four significant Gompas within the walled city.

An average trekking duration depends on the number of stops made in various villages.  You can do a comfortable 10-15 days round trip journey to Upper Mustang. It involves trekking on dry, dusty trails with several passes to go over to reach Lo Manthang. The road from Tibet has already reached Lo Manthang in 2001, and a fair weather road is under construction from Jomsom; the administrative headquarter of Mustang District.  Due to the road construction, once horse riding locals have turned to ride motorcycles.

Upper Mustang is still mysterious and surreal. Please visit Upper Mustang while you still have a chance to discover it’s unspoiled beauty. We do organize a hassle-free trekking holiday to Upper Mustang.

The king of Mustang Jigme Paljor Bista passed away on 16th December 2016 aged 86.

This article is by Raj Tamang; Chief Experience Officer of Responsible Adventures. 

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