Upper Mustang Trek: Isolated and Intriguing Region of Nepal

Upper Mustang Trek: Isolated and Intriguing Region of Nepal

Upper Mustang has taken the love of trekking to a whole new level for the current generation of Nepal. As it happens, the thrust for trekking is not a very compelling subject for people in Nepal, but as the words spread over about the Upper Mustang trek, a sudden rage towards this destination has found a place.

It is barely the case when trekkers visiting Nepal go without hearing about Upper Mustang trek; well, its wide recognition is worth every bit. Upper Mustang feels like a different world which is far more serene and feels very authentic. Trekking towards Upper Mustang is no less than a privilege as the raw and intact beauty of this region is a sight to behold.

Upper Mustang, just like its name suggests, is the upper region of Mustang, which is also known as the Kingdom of Lo. The region prohibited any foreign visit until 1992 making it one of the most preserved regions in the world. It hasn’t been long since Mustang has opened its gates to rest world and it is nothing but the fact that it is a remote and isolated region of Nepalese Himalayas. The whole region is largely influenced by Tibetan culture and tradition, and the ultimate isolation from the rest of the world helped preserve the fair bit of Tibetan culture.

Talking about the coverage and location of Upper Mustang, it is the two-thirds of northern Mustang. However, let us through more of Upper Mustang trek and mark it for your next adventure.

What are the Upper Mustang Trek permits?

Although Mustang now welcomes guests from around the world, there are few rules one must adhere to, and permits are the important one to follow. TIMS card is obviously in the list, and others are:

-Upper Mustang restricted permit: $500 per person for ten days and $50 per additional days.

-Annapurna Conservation Area Project permits: NPR 3000 per person.

What is the Upper Mustang trek difficulty?

For your relief, the trek is not a difficult one and doesn’t demand any experience or expertise in trekking. However, jogging and exercising prior 4-5 weeks of the trek will be excellent as it helps increase stamina in high altitude and cope with shortness of breath.

Upper Mustang Trek is a long trek that can easily take around 20 days, but you can also customize the itinerary and shorten it as per your preference. It will be more than enough if you are fit to walk on an average of 6-7 hours a day.

What about the weather and altitude sickness in Upper Mustang Trek?

Upper Mustang lies in the lap of Himalayas and the weather there is chilly throughout the years. The annual temperature on average is around 10-degree Celsius and rainfall is about 307 mm.

The final height in Upper Mustang Trek is 3,900 meters, so altitude sickness is not much of a problem. But still, acclimatization in the lower region will be helpful in the journey.

What is the best season for Upper Mustang Trek?

A major part of Upper Mustang lies in the rain-shadow area, which makes it fit for trekking even in rainy season. Rain and slippery trails will be hardly the problem in the trek.

The season for Upper Mustang trek is May to September. In winter especially in November, weather gets so extreme that locals start descending to lower region for warmer weather.

What are the highlights of Upper Mustang Trek?

Tibetan Culture and exotic festivals

It is always a wonderful experience to meet and greet new peoples who come from a different culture and background. And to experience the Tibetan culture, that has intrigued and has an interest in the whole world will be an exciting journey. Although Upper Mustang is not totally immersed in Tibetan culture, still, from dialect to their dress code, their practice to daily lifestyle, they all depict Tibetan influence.

Just like the culture, the festivals out here is so unlike and distinct. Tiji festival, the most celebrated one, which goes on for three-days lets you know some bit of Tibetan rituals. The vibrant setting and intriguing tradition of this festival attract a large throng of tourists.

Interesting History

Mustang used to be an independent kingdom once, and since 1795, it came under the dependency of the Kingdom of Nepal. Although the monarchy has come to an end, many Mustang people still abide by it. The whole history of Mustang is very different than other parts of Nepal, where the King still lives, and people adhere to him.

Desert-like region

Another thing to look after in Upper Mustang Trek is its quite desert-like area. The settlements are very thin and scattered with a very less sign of cultivation between villages. With very less amount of plants and fields, Mustang resembles a desert only with mountains and nuclear settlements in fertile areas. The region is also referred as semi-desert of Nepal.

Mysterious caves and buried treasure within

Mustang is also identified as one of the world’s great archaeological mysteries. The place is rough and remote, dusty, wind-savaged place, hidden within the Himalayas and cleaved by Kali Gandaki, and in this very place lies approximately 10,000 human-built caves. Nepali archaeologist and the University of Cologne carried out exploration and found stacked caves and dozens of bodies, all at least 2,000 years old. However, until today’s date, the question of who built the caves are a mystery.

Also, in 2007, many buried treasures like ancient Buddhist decorative art, paintings, manuscripts, and pottery were found in Mustang cave near Lo Manthang. Most of them date back to the 15th century and cover varied topics form Tibetan Buddhist doctrine to legal matters.

Monasteries in Lo-Manthang

Lo Manthang is the ultimate destination and the major attraction of Upper Mustang trek. The place is technically a fortress with three monasteries. One of the has a huge image of Lord Buddha sitting a meditation position, and others have statues of various deities. The monasteries are a quaint collection of old thanka painting, painted walls with stories of Buddha and ancient statues. The whole setting of the monasteries and the belief relating to it is a matter of interest for every tourist visiting Lo-Manthang.

What are the Upper Mustang trek routes?

Trekkers of Upper Mustang follows the typical route of flying off from Pokhara to Jomsom and start the trek. The stops and overnight stay can be different, but the trail follows the same route.

We embark on Upper Mustang trek with a ride towards Pokhara from Kathmandu. Then, taking a flight from Pokhara, we land on Jomsom and start our trek to Jomsom. Scaling further towards Lo-Manthang, we pass by several villages like Chaile, Syangmochen, and Tsarang. Now, that we have arrived end of our destination, we pave our way back to Jomsom and towards Kathmandu.

Upper Mustang trek takes maximum 14 days of walk and if you use jeep, then it can be accomplished in just one week.

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