Mustang Nepal - What is Mustang famous for and How to reach Mustang
Mustang formerly 'Kingdom of Lo' is very remote and isolated region of Nepal. The upper Mustang was restricted demilitarized area until 1992, so it is the most preserved region of the world. Majority of population still speak Tibetian language and follow Tibetian culture. Mustang status as a Kingdom ended in the year 2008 when its Suzerain Kingdom of Nepal became a Republic. The population of whole Mustang district in 2001 was 14,981. The inhabitants are either Thakali, Gurung or in traditional Mustang primarily tibetian. Most of the population lives on the bank of Kali Gandaki River which is 9,200 - 12,800 feet above sea level.
The administrative centre is at Jomsom, which has had an airport since 1992. Upper Mustang was an ancient trade route between Nepal and Tibet. Currently, the easiest and only widely used road corridor from Kathmandu to Lhasa named Arniko Highway in Nepal and China National Highway in TAR (Tibetian Autonomous Region).
Foreigners are allowed to visit the place since 1992. They need to take special permission to enter the area and have to pay $50 per day per person. Most tourist travel on foot over the area largely used trade route since 15 century. Over 10,000 western trekkers now visit each year.
Mustang is rich in Buddhist culture, same as Tibetian Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. It is an alternate way to experience the Tibetian culture and the beautiful landscape of the area.
The Tiji Festival in Lo Manthang has attracted the tourist in large numbers. At Mustang, Tibetian Buddhism is still being practised in pure form and villagers are built in Tibetian style with white washed typical houses with firewood tucked on the roof.
Not only culture but landscape is very much related to Tibet. Mustang Lo Manthang lies in the rain shadow of the Dhawalagiri complete desolated landscape, surrounded by rocks in all kinds of colors and bizarre formation. At this barren landscape, the villages with their bright colored field are like an oasis. Mustang trek is one of the few places in the world that has survived a very close niche life and that region was until recently, was a forbidden land of outsider. The isolation helped the people to preserve their lifestyle and heritage that was almost untouched for century hidden behind the majestic Himalayan Ranges. Mustang became a beautiful trekking zone.
How to reach Mustang ?
In order to reach Mustang, one can take a flight to Pokhara from Kathmandu. From Pokhara, you can take a taxi or a bus. On Prithvi Highway, it takes around 6-8 hours to reach Jomsom which is the starting point of the Lo Kingdom in Upper Mustang.
What is Mustang famous for ?Muktinath Temple - Popular Vishnu Temple
The temple is located in the Muktinath valley at the foot of the Thorong La Mountain Pass in Mustang, Nepal. It is a holy place for Hindus and Buddhist. The best time to visit the temple is from March - June as the weather is very fine and safe. While on a journey, one has the opportunity to see many archological sites and temple. There are 108 water tap and non stop glowing fire is another attraction of the place.
Mustang is famous for trekking and due to lack of enough transportation, local people raises horses in their home for transportation purpose. The place attracts travellers owing to to its adventurous sports such as rock climbing, cycling, trekking, horse racing and riding.
The location of Mustang comprise of high land and low land with plains which makes it very suitable for cycling and trekking.
Snowfall at Mustang
Mustang is surrounded by the snowcapped mountains so it witnesses snowfall frequently and specially during winter. During the period, snow games are arranged at Mustang. A visit to the snowy places can be done by horse riding.
In Nepal, Thakali Food is famous throughout the country so it is very much interesting to enjoy the food at its original place, Mustang. Visitors can enjoy beer, wine and locally grown apples and also dried item.
Tiji Festival is the main festival of the region. In fact, it is influenced by Tibetian Buddhism. Tiji Festival in Mustang started in the 17 century. During the festival, the sacred dance is perfomed for 3 days by monks of Chhodo Monastery. Originally it was perfomed at the end of the 12 month of the Tibetian calendar but now a days it is perfomed at the end of the 3rd Tibetian month. The original name of this ritual dance is Tempa Chirim which means benefit of Buddha's teaching.
The family life of Mustang is very peculiar. All brothers in the family are married to a single girl. It is called a practice of polyandry.
Mustang is rich in medicinal and aromatic plants with high economic and ethno-medicinal values. Medicinal use of 121 plant species was recorded in study. These 121 included 49 vascular plant and 2 fungi species from 92 genera. These plants including different parts of the same plant are used to treat 116 different elements.
Most common type of medicinal plant is herbs.
Mustang is famous for trekking so travellers are attracted towards it. Some of the most beautiful picturesque Himalayan treks area stated below:
1. Chadar Trek
This trek usually take place in the winter month over Zanskar river in the region of Leh, Ladakh. The trek is situated at the height of 11,123 feet above the sea level. The trek is enjoyed in winter when the river has frozen.
2. Roopkund Trek
This trek is also called 'Skeleton Lake Trek' as trekkers will come across lying skeleton on the sea bed or edge of the lake, remains of the dead bodies of the people from the 9th century. It is a glacial trek with beautiful meadows on the way. Trekkers enjoy marvelous of Mount Trishul, whose height is 16,499 feet above sea level. The best time to trek here is August and September as the weather is pleasant.
3. Kashmir Great Lake Trek
It is one of the most beautiful Himalayan Lake Trek. The trekking is situated near the Kashmir valley. While on trekking, trekkers come across the five beautiful lakes which makes them very exciting. It's altitude is 13,750 feet above sea level. Best time to trek here is June - September.