Upper Mustang ‘walled city’

  • Mustang (in Nepali meaning "fertile plain") is a mystic land in the rain shadow area of Nepal. Mustang is the ancient Himalayan Kingdom which is situated in the Trans Himalayan region at an average altitude of 4,000m and lies in the northern central part of Nepal at the top of the Kaligandaki RiverMustang is the hidden world of the old Buddhist kingdom called Lo. 

    Duration: 17 nights/18 Days

    Max Elevation: 3810m.

    Difficulty: Medium-Hard

    Season: May - October

    Trekking Style: Tea house Trek

    Start / Finish: Jomsom(2713m)

     

    Annapurna Conservation Area was established in 1992, covering 7629 km2.

    Annapurna Conservation Area, the first conservation area and the largest protected area in Nepal, is managed by the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC). Annapurna Conservation Area covers an area of 7,629 sq. km. and is home to over 100,000 residents of different cultural and linguistic groups. Annapurna Conservation Area is rich in biodiversity and is a treasure house for 1,226 species of flowering plants, 105 mammals, 518 birds, 40 reptiles, and 23 amphibians.

    Several features make the Annapurna region a unique place in the world. It has the world’s deepest river gorge—Kali Gandaki Gorge, which is 3 miles long and 1.5 miles wide, is a valley with fossils from the Tethys Sea dating back 60 million years. The region contains the world’s largest rhododendron forest in Ghorepani. Tilicho Lake, located in Manang, north of the Annapurna massif, is the world’s highest-altitude freshwater lake.

    The biological diversity of the Annapurna region is equalled by its cultural diversity. Gurung and Magar are the dominant groups in the south, whereas Thakali, Manage, and Loba are dominant in the north. Each of these groups speaks its own dialect and has unique cultures and traditions. Besides, there are also Brahmins, Chhetris, and other occupational castes, although in comparatively smaller numbers. Hindu, Buddhist, and pre-Buddhist religions, along with a mixture of all these, are prevalent across the region. The local people reside in the five districts of the Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA).

    The Annapurna region is famous for the mountain ranges and Himalayan peaks of the Annapurna massif. Mt Fishtail 6997M, Mt Annapurna South 7219 M, Mt Annapurna I 8091M, Annapurna II 7,937 M, Annapurna III 7,555 M, and Annapurna IV 7,525 M, Mt Gangapura 7455M, Mt Himchuli 6441M, Dhampus Peak 6012 M, Tuckhe Peak 6920 M, Gurja Peak 9193M, Nilgiri North (7061 m), Nilgiri Central (6940 m), and others.

    The natural and cultural features of ACA have made it the most popular trekking destination in the country, attracting the majority of the country’s total trekkers. Over the years, tourism has been firmly established as one of the most important sectors of the local economy. There are over 1,000 lodges, tea shops, and hundreds of other subsidiary services to cater to the thousands of trekkers, pilgrims, and their support staff. The soaring number of visitors, whose fuelwood consumption is twice that of the local people, has exerted immense pressure on forest resources already stressed by the growing local population. Similarly, litter, particularly the waste produced by trekkers and hoteliers, is another major concern. It is estimated that an average trekking group of 15 people generates about 15 kilos of non-biodegradable and non-burnable garbage in a 10-day trek, producing tonnes of garbage in mountain regions annually.

    The multifaceted problems of ACA have been addressed through an integrated, community-based conservation and development approach, an experimental model that has been in the vanguard of promoting the concepts of "conservation area" through an "Integrated Conservation and Development Programme" approach in the country and abroad. ACAP was first tested as a pilot programme by the Ghandruk Village Development Committee (VDC) in 1986. After being notified in the Gazette as a "Conservation Area" in 1992, ACAP’s programme covered the entire area. Additionally, ACA is the first protected area that has allowed residents to live within the boundaries, own their private property, and maintain their traditional rights and access to the use of natural resources. It is also the first protected area that has refrained from using army assistance to protect the dwindling natural resource base on which the region depends. Instead, it invests whatever financial resources are available for community development and social capital building in the region.

    In the Annapurna Conservation Area, the altitude varies from 1,000 m above sea level to 8,091 m. This drastic change in altitude in the 50-kilometre stretch makes Annapurna naturally rich and diverse. On one side, Annapurna is known as the wettest area in Nepal, with lush green forests and dense rhododendron forests in the south, whereas Annapurna massifs prevent most of the rain from reaching the upper part of the conservation area, creating a dry, high-altitude desert environment in the north.

  • Upper Mustang 

    Mustang (in Nepali meaning "fertile plain") is a mystic land in the rain shadow area of Nepal. Mustang is the ancient Himalayan Kingdom which is situated in the Trans Himalayan region at an average altitude of 4,000m and lies in the northern central part of Nepal at the top of the Kaligandaki River. Mustang is the hidden world of the old Buddhist kingdom 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 whitewashed houses with firewood tucked on the roofs. Upper Mustang consists 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 was a separate kingdom within Nepal until the time of Monarchy till 2006 and even after the downfall of the Monarchy this small Tibetan settlement has the same respect for their King Jigme Paramal Bista.

    The major attraction of Upper Mustang is the walled city of Lo-Manthang. Lo Mangtang is a medieval town, surrounded by a huge town wall. From the pass Lo La (3950 m) we 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. 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 visit him sometimes. The king doesn’t have any real power anymore but is of course still highly respected by his people. Upper Mustang is a restricted area and up till 1992, it was forbidden for foreign visitors to enter the kingdom. 

    Upper Mustang, with topography and culture resembling Tibet, has many unique features and attractions. It is considered 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 people here are Tibetan in origin and their way of life and spoken language reflect this ancestral lineage. The people of Mustang call themselves Lobas. Here we can see a few beautiful big monasteries, for example, the Thugchen Gompa, built in the 15th century, the Amchi museum, and Amchi School, a century-old cave-dwelling, situated high in the rocks. An Amchi is a traditional Tibetan doctor. 2 Amchis are living in Lo Mangtang, which are also the official doctors of the king. They founded a school to preserve this ancient wisdom. 

    Mustang’s natural and cultural treasures have made it one of the most popular tourist and trekking destinations in Nepal.

  • Upper Mustang Trek Details

    Duration: 17 nights/18 Days

    Max Elevation: 3810m.

    Difficulty: Medium-Hard

    Season: May - October

    Trekking Style: Tea house Trek

    Start / Finish: Jomsom(2713m)

     

    The Trek

    Day 1: Arrival day in Kathmandu, pick up assistance and transfer to hotel.

    Day 2: Preparation for trek /around KTM valley.

    Day 3: Drive/ Fly from KTM to Pokhara(950m.). (25 minutes)

    Day 4: Fly to Jomsom and Trek to Kagbeni (2810m). (10.5km)

    Day 5: Trek from Kagbeni to Tsaile(3120m.) (15.5km)

    Day 6: Trek from Tsaile to Samar to Syambochen (3800m.) (km.)

    Day 7: Trek from Syambochen to  Tama Gaun to Ghami (3520m) 

    Day8: Trek from Ghami to Tsarang(3560m.) (12km.)

    Day 9: Trek from Tsarang to Lo Manthang (3810m.) (13km.)

    Day 10: Activities at Lo Manthang

    Day 11: Trek from Lo Manthang to Ghar Gompa to Dhakmar to Ghami. (3520m.) (km.)

    Day 12: Trek from Ghami to Samar(3660m.) (km)

    Day 13: Trek from Samar to Tetang(3080m.) (km.)

    Day 14: Trek from Tetang to Muktinath.(3760m.) (km.)

    Day 15: Trek from Muktinath to Jomsom(2713m.).

    Day 16:  Fly : Jomsom to Pokhara  

    Day 17:  Fly back from Pokhara to KTM.  Free day

    Day 18: Departure. Fly back home or onwards your journey.

     

    “End of Tour”

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