- Location: Northwest Nepal
- Significance: High Ridge Trek
- Attraction Type: Hidden Mountain Kingdom, Trekking, Scenic beauty, Monasteries, Tibetan Art
- How to Reach: Find yourself a trekking agency in Kathmandu that offers Mustang trek facilities.
- Nearest Airport: Kathmandu International Airport
This is a destination where no westerner set foot till about fifteen years back. Mustang in North Western Nepal, close to the Tibetan border is ethnically and culturally a Tibetan Buddhist kingdom. The entire empire was built in the high and inaccessible recesses of the Himalayas and has desperately maintained its integrity for hundreds of years. Although the city can now be accessed by tourists after and long and demanding treks, it is important to remember that one should maintain proper decorum while visiting it and follow the well laid out code of conduct. However, once you reconcile yourself to the hazards of the visit, what awaits you is one of the most fascinating sights of the world.
Mustang Trekking Trail
The trekking path that leads to Mustang is straight out of your dreams. You will find yourself in the middle of the high barren terrain of the upper Himalayas, and spot the peaks of Annapurna and Dhauligiri, both over 8000 meters. You will find yourself surrounded by solemn peaks, most of them unsurpassed in grandeur. Just the moment you begin to wonder who would build a kingdom under such inhospitable conditions, you will find yourself close to Mustang’s city wall, with the skyline of the capital like a dreamscape in the distant mountains. However, the trek itself rarely goes over 4000 meters and thus can be undertaken by many more than it sounds possible at the beginning.
Lo Mustang Town
The capital of Mustang has stayed almost intact and unaltered for hundreds of years, largely because of its strategy of cutting itself out from the external world. Although the town did face some disturbance during the time of the Chinese occupation of Tibet when it was used by some military factions, the situation has changed. Now it is comparatively safe for visitors, including Western visitors to travel there. The city has a distinctly Tibetan feel to it, and is largely dominated by the Royal capital which houses the Royal Palace. The gates of the capital are closed at sundown to keep visitors out. The main attraction is, however, the three excellent monasteries in the area.
Attractions of Mustang
The three main monasteries in Mustang are the Jampa Gumpa, Thubchen Gompa and the Luri Gompa. Each is adorned with magnificent wall paintings and frescoes — some of the best specimens from the Tibetan Buddhist world. These paintings bring lovers of art and heritage from far and wide to this isolated mountain kingdom.
Accommodation in Mustang
There is no accommodation as such on your way to the mountain kingdom of Mustang. However, accommodation is available in some of the villages along the way. The best way to travel is to get in touch with some trekking or mountaineering agency in Kathmandu which arranges for high altitude trekking. Samar, Guili and Gami are some of the places where accommodation can be possible, both in private homes as well as in monasteries.