Upper Mustang Trek

upper mustang trek

The Upper Mustang Trek is a well-known Nepalese trekking route that leads to the secret kingdom of Mustang. The area is in Nepal’s remote north-central region, bordering Tibet. The trek is a one-of-a-kind chance to learn about traditional Tibetan culture, beautiful scenery, and ancient Buddhist monasteries.

The trek typically begins in Jomsom, a town in Nepal’s Annapurna region. You will enter the Upper Mustang region by following the Kali Gandaki River from Jomsom. You’ll pass through Kagbeni, Chele, Geling, Charang, Lo Manthang, and Dhakmar, among other villages, on the trek.

The walled city of Lo Manthang, which is in the center of Mustang, is the trek’s main draw. The King’s Palace, a number of ancient monasteries, and traditional Tibetan homes are all found in the city. You will likewise get to investigate the Chosar caves, which are accepted to be over 2,500 years of age.

When the weather is pleasant and the sky is clear, the spring and autumn months are the best times to trek to Upper Mustang. However, in order to enter the Upper Mustang region, you will need a unique permit from the Nepali government. And the cost of this permit is higher than for other trekking routes in Nepal.

The Upper Mustang Trek is an unforgettable cultural and historical journey that is both challenging and rewarding.

Upper Mustang Trek’s Seven Biggest Attractions:
The Upper Mustang Trek is a less-traveled route to the land of wanderers and numerous fiestas and feasts. A noble experience in the trans-Himalayan region is trekking to Upper Mustang, despite its location in the rain shadow. Let’s briefly examine what draws adventurers from all over the world to the Upper Mustang region:

1) Festival in Tiji

The colorful Tiji Festival dates back to the 17th century and reflects Tibetan Buddhist cultural influences in the Upper Mustang region, In the local dialect, “Tiji” is the contracted form of “Tempa Chhirim,” which means “Prayer for the Peace of the World.” In the walled city of Lo Manthang, the Tiji Festival, which typically occurs during the second week of May, is observed to commemorate the triumph of good over evil.
Two myths about this grand celebration that claims to unite everyone are shared by senior citizens. According to the first myth, this celebration is held in honor of the son who successfully rescued the kingdom from destruction. According to the second legend, one of Lord Buddha’s incarnations rescued the kingdom from a demon who planned to destroy it through drought and storms. Whatever the reason for the celebration, Tiji Festival focuses on the Upper Mustang region’s respectful coexistence. This three-day celebration is organized by the monks of Choede Monastery through the performance of a ritual dance with the help of the locals.

2) The Walled City of Lo Manthang

The Walled City of Lo Manthang is the capital of the ancient kingdom Lo, which means “Mustang” in the local dialect. It attracts thousands of tourists each year. You immediately get the impression that you are in a “Disney Land,” which is quite distinct from other parts of the city. The local populace holds the king of Mustang in high regard even after Nepal abolished the monarchy. Lo Manthang’s four-story palace is enclosed by walls to safeguard it from enemies. In this historically significant city, you can also visit the Thugchen Gompa, which was built in the 15th century, as well as other small monasteries.

3) The trans-Himalayan region’s hidden kingdom:

In Nepal’s trans-Himalayan region, Upper Mustang is known as the Last Forbidden Kingdom because it preserves Tibetan Buddhist culture. The Nepalese government restricted foreign trekkers’ access to Upper Mustang until 1992 due to strategic issues. Mustang, between Dolpo and the beautiful Manang district, is the ancient trade route between Tibet and India. You can experience this magical land at any time of the year because it receives very little or no precipitation at all.

4) Buddhism from Tibet:

The Upper Mustang Trek takes you to the land bordering Nepal and the Tibetan Plateau, where Tibetan Buddhism is the predominant religion. You can find from pocket-sized to huge antiquated cloisters including Choede Religious community and Thugchen Gompa which are Buddhist Social Legacy destinations. On the mani walls, prayer walls, and rooftops of the houses, prayer flags were swaying; All of these are based on Tibetan Buddhism. One living example of Tibetan Buddhism in the Upper Mustang region is Tiji Festival.

5) Temple of Muktinath:

Muktinath Temple, at an elevation of 3,710 meters, is a sacred location. And a place of pilgrimage for both Hindus and Buddhists. Jomsom Muktinath trek is taken by thousands of Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims from India, Tibet, and Nepal to worship at Muktinath Temple. During the Muktinath trek, you’ll get a fantastic view of 108 waterspouts, which represent eternal life and salvation.

6) Stunning Beauty in Nature:

Despite being in the rain shadow of the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna ranges, the Upper Mustang region has incredible natural beauty. Upper Mustang’s breathtaking natural beauty is borne out by its barren plateau, steep ridges, moraine valleys, and desert-like terrain. This location is enlivened by the mesmerizing views of the sacred Himalayas, such as Nilgiri, Annapurna, and Dhaulagiri, as well as other snowy peaks. Similarly, The Upper Mustang Trek provides a stunning view of the trans-Himalayan region’s incredible wastelands.

7) Sky Caves Built by Man:

Other attractions include approximately 10,000 man-made caves near the Kali Gandaki River, also known as the “Sky Caves.” According to some archeological studies, these caves were built as a religious ritual to mummify the dead. The Buddhist paintings, sculptures, and manuscripts that were found in the Sky Caves indicate that these are between 2000 and 3000 years old. The Sky Caves, also known as the “Pyramids of Egypt,” are significant archaeological sites that were constructed between the 12th and 14th centuries. A new perspective on Buddhist culture and tradition will be added to human history through in-depth scientific investigations.

You can reach Jomsom by taking a flight from Pokhara to Jomsom. Where you can take in the breathtaking view of the snow-capped Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. In a similar vein, you can reach Jomsom via the Pokhara Jomsom off-road journey by departing Beni, a different station where you can begin your Upper Dolpo region trek. Thus, Nepal’s trekking companies offer a wide range of customized Upper Mustang trek packages at varying prices.

What is the restriction on Upper Mustang?
The people of Upper Mustang adhere to Tibetan Buddhist culture and speak traditional Tibetan languages, making it one of the world’s most protected regions. Similarly, The Government of Nepal has designated Upper Mustang as a restricted zone. In order to safeguard the organic culture, tradition, and way of life of the region.

Upper Mustang Drive Tour’s Potential Itinerary

01: Arrival.

2: Either fly or drive to Pokhara.

3: Head over to Marpha.

4: To reach Lo Mangthang, take the Muktinath Temple route.

5: Examine Lo Mangthang.

6: You can drive to Tato Pani, a hot spring, via Dhumba Lake and Jomsom.

7: From Pokhara, you can fly or drive to Kathmandu.

8: City tour of Kathmandu.

9: Departure.

Posted by

Kapil Banjara

Kapil is been working for 7 years in the tourism industry as a professional tour guide. He is a resource person of Nepalese society and politics with culture and tourism under Tribhuvan University for 8 years.
Kapil has also published a tourism-related book titled “Nepalese society and politics with culture and tourism” from Buddha Publication. He has been completed his master’s degree in different social subjects such as Population Studies, Political Science, Educational Planning and Management, and sociology.

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