Mustang is the hinterland enriched with mainly barren ridges, deep canyons, eroded cliffs and Moraine valleys. Its landscape is unrivaled for it has a stupendous wilderness, pristine scenery, snow capped peaks, spectacular 16th century monasteries and many other unique attractions. The view of wind swept Kali-Gandaki valley, vast spaces around Kagbeni and vast ridges that straggle high mountains provide a mind-blowing experience.
Nepal’s Mustang region preserves a life almost unchanged for centuries. It lies hidden behind the Himalayan giants of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna at the very roof of Asia on the arid Tibetan plateau. It has long been isolated from the outside world (and only opened to trekking groups since 1992!). As you make your way through this secluded land, you’ll pass brightly painted chortens (Buddhist shrines) and tiny villages guarded by enormous monasteries. Vistas include unusual and arresting views of the snow-covered Himalaya to the south, and desolate high plateaus, deep canyons, and an ocean of windswept hills the colors of a desert sunset to the north. Once at the walled capital city of Lo Manthang, you’ll absorb a great sense of timelessness and appreciation for an ancient culture as you discover the ruins of old forts, monasteries rich in art and history, and caves replete with magnificent religious statues.
Mustang is the old kingdom of Lo. Actually the capital of the Mustang district is Jomsom, but the real Tibetan style district lies north of Kagbeni and is usually referred to as Upper Mustang. The real capital, Lo Manthang, where the present king lives, is a fantastic square-walled town sitting on the ‘Plain of Prayers’. The small kingdom of Mustang, closed to westerners until 1992, is an enchanting land of windswept vistas, red walled monasteries, and feudal towns. This tiny kingdom was not only a major corridor of trade from the 1400’s to before the Chinese occupation of Tibet, but also figured importantly into early Buddhism in Tibet. Local legend tells the tale of the great founder of Tibetan Buddhism, Padmasambhava, who before building Samye (the oldest monastery in Tibet) came to Mustang to stand guard against and do battle with the evil powers out to destroy Buddhism. The temple of Lo Gekhar in eastern Mustang was built by Padmasambhava after his triumphant battle and still stands guard today.
But before we start this trek not to forget we do a short sightseeing around the capital city Kathmandu to unveil the ravishing cultural beauty of Kathmandu. We wander around the city to some great landmarks which have been serving the tourists with their beauty since eternity. Some of the places include Swayambhunath, Boudhanath, and Pashupatinath & Kathmandu Durbar Square.
Drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara (914m.) by our company’s vehicle which takes about six hours. You depart for the six hours drive to Pokhara (915m,), 200 kilometers west of Kathmandu. As you climb out of the Kathmandu valley, only to quickly descend again to the Trisuli River, you follow upstream to its junction with the Marsyangdi River. You follow the Marsyandi gently up through heavily terraced fields and small hill towns to the Seti River that takes you directly into Pokhara. Having pleasant weather, Pokhara is tourist’s paradise with full of natural as well as cultural heritage sites such as lakes, caves, temples of Buddhist and Hindus along with mountains. You can observe views to the north across the hills and Phewa Tal (lake) to the white peaks of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges. This drive will take most of the morning, leaving much of the afternoon to fall in love with its beauty. You can also fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara which takes about 25 minutes.
Fly from Pokhara to Jomsom (2700 m.) and it takes about 25 minutes and trek from Jomsom to Kagbeni (2810 m.) which takes about four hours. You take the early morning flight which again will give close-up views of the Annapurna range, Dhaulagiri and nearby satellites, 20 minutes flight in a small aircraft. Directly north of Jomsom is the pretty village of Kagbeni, There are about 80 families living here, most of them traders who are the link in the chain between modern Nepal and the Tibetan-type people of Mustang. Just out of Jomsom you cross a small hanging bridge and then walk along the banks of the Kali Gandaki. The trail is quite barren with craggy rocks and sand and is mostly flat, which makes it very easy going. This very easy, enjoyable start is at the same time picturesque, with views of big peaks all around such as Dhaulagiri (26,794ft), Tukuche (22,703ft) and in the west the awesome mountain above Kagbeni, Nilgiri (22,769ft). Over to the south and south-west can be seen the entire Annapurna Massif. You are more than likely to meet Indian pilgrims on their way to and from Muktinath on this stretch, and other Europeans for an hour or two who will be on the world-famous Annapurna Circuit. Upon reaching Kagbeni there is a taste of scenes to come in Upper Mustang, what with its narrow alleyways and tunnels, irrigation canals, green fields of wheat and barley and a large red gompa. At the police check-post at the north end of the village there is a sign saying ‘Restricted area, tourists please do not go beyond this point’. Here you will complete your paperwork formalities for you to enter this long-forbidden region of Nepal. ACAP have set up a very interesting information post here with displays of Mustang artifacts and photos.
Trek from Kagbeni to Chele (3.50 m). It takes around 6 Hours.
Trek from Chele to Ghami (3490 m.) via Ghami La (3520m.) and it takes about Seven hours. From Geling the trail climbs gently through fields, up the center of the valley, passing above the settlement of Tama Gun and an imposing chorten. You then begin a taxing climb across the head of the valley to the Nyi La [3840m]. The descent from the pass is quite gentle and about half an hour further on we come to a trail junction; the right trail is the direct route to Charang, the left trail leads to Ghami. Ghami is a large white-washed village sheltered by overhanging cliffs.
Trek fram Ghami to Lo-Manthang (Mustang) (3810 m.) and it takes about eight hours. You will spend part of the morning exploring the interesting village of Charang and its large monastery, before setting out for Lo Manthang. You climb gently above the valley to a large isolated chorten that marks the boundary between Charang and Lo. The trail then broadens and eventually you get our first view of the walled city of Lo Manthang. The city has only one entrance so you circumambulate the wall to the gate on the north east corner.
Rest day at Lo-Manthang (Mustang) (3810 m.). Today is free to explore the fascinating city of Lo Manthang, untouched since the 14th century. The city contains about 150 houses, as well as residences for its many lamas. There are four major temples within the city and one of these, Champa Lhakang, contains a huge clay statue of Buddha as well as elaborates mandalas painted on the walls. The king’s palace is an imposing building in the center of the city and is occupied by the current King and Queen. Although his duties are largely ceremonial, the King is respected by the people and consulted about many issues by villagers throughout the kingdom.
Trek from Lo-Manthang to Ghami (3490 m.) which takes about six hours. You continue your journey on the highland route, crossing alpine meadows before dropping down a steep eroded alley to Dhakmar for lunch. After lunch, you walk through the pretty valley, climb to a ridge and descend from there back to Ghami.
Jeep drive from Ghami to Chuksang. It takes around three and half hours. Thank Local bus drive from Chuksang to Jomsoom. It takes around two and half hours.
Fly from Jomsom to Pokhara which takes about 25 minutes and stay overnight at hotel in Pokhara. The flights are available during the morning time. The strong breeze blows during the after and frequent change of the weather prevent the flight being landed and taken off in the afternoon. During the flights in morning, the sky looks very clear which makes you able to enjoy the splendid views of different mountain peaks.
Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu.