Upper Mustang trek begins from Jomsom via Pokhara on flight or four wheel drive. This ancient Buddhist kingdom of Mustang is also called Lo which was part of ancient Tibetan empire.
Tibetan Buddhism is still in practice in an untainted method and settlements are built in Tibetan style, with white washed homes and firewood tucked on the roofs. There are small guesthouses/teahouses and where one can stay overnight comfortably. While staying there, it is welcome to sit with families in the kitchen. In Tibetan culture, the kitchen is the center of the house, so there is no better way to learn a bit about the daily life than spending time in the kitchen.
Upper Mustang is one of the few places in the world which was so lately explored and the very close- niche life was until recently inaccessible to the outsiders. This region remained untouched of the modernization and all since very long. And this isolation helped the people of Mustang to maintain their lifestyle and heritage that remained almost unchanged for centuries. Mustang, hidden behind the majestic Himalayan ranges of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna, is filled with beautiful trekking spots.
Kagbeni Village, the main gateway to Lo Manthang
In this barren landscape the villages with their bright colored fields are small havens. The trail follows the salt caravan route of the old days, during which the people of Mustang traded Tibetan salt with grain from the lowlands. The goal of the Upper Mustang trek is the capital of Upper Mustang, Lo Manthang. Lo Manthang is a medieval old town, surrounded by a huge town wall. From the Lo La pass (3950m) you can see the town shimmering in the distance in the barren landscape. Entering Lo Manthang through the town gate you enter a different world. It is just wonderful to wander through the narrow alleys. On several corners of the street you can find small groups of women spinning wool and discussing the news of the day.
Major Attraction of Upper Mustang
Lo Manthang has been one of the major attraction for tourists since it was opened for the outsiders in 1992. It is a restricted trekking trail in Nepal and is also popular as “The Last Forbidden Kingdom”. To get here, special permit should be taken from Government of Nepal. Lo Manthang was the walled capital of the Kingdom of Lo from its founding in 1380, consisting of city walls and many still standing structures. It is situated at the north of the Himalayas and just out onto the Tibet Plateau.
Tiji is three days long annual festival celebrated at Lo Manthang in front of King’s palace normally in mid May, which is one of the most well-known and revered festival in the whole Mustang region. The festival initially began as a religious ceremony, to ward off obstacles and suffering that might befall the region. Thousands of men, women and children participate in this annual elaborate re-enactment of the Tiji myth, telling of a deity named Dorje Jon who battles his demon father to save the kingdom from destruction. It will be our unique privilege to witness the same color, costume, dancing and ritual that were displayed by these people in this place more than six hundred years ago according to the religious mythology.