Upper Mustang Trek: Exploring the Mystical Kingdom in the Himalayas

By Glorious Himalaya on July 3, 2023 in Travel Tips, Trekking

Upper Mustang, also known as The Mystical Kingdom of Lo, is a journey full of mysteries, stunning views of the alpine region, and rich cultural exploration. Since becoming accessible to tourists, it has become a trekker’s paradise. While other treks like Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Base Camp are more commercialized, the Upper Mustang trek is like a hidden gem.

Upper Mustang lies in a restricted region, so you need a unique permit to trek. During your Upper Mustang trek, you travel through different types of terrains. You begin your trek from Pokhara, a beautiful sub-tropical city, to the alpine climate in Jomsom to majestic snowy mountains in the Upper Mustang Area.

The trek to the Upper Mustang can be daunting to some. You have to reach an altitude of over 4000m. However, several attractions might motivate you to go on the Upper Mustang trek.

Best Attractions for Upper Mustang Trek

Muktinath

Going to the Upper Mustang Trek, you will undoubtedly travel to the lower Mustang region, home to the famed Muktinath temple. Muktinath is an important religious place for Hindus and Buddhists in the lower part of Mustang. It is at a height of 3800m, meaning it is one of the world’s highest points. It is also the only temple in Nepal that falls among the 108 Divya Desams.

Many local Hindus and Buddhists visit Muktinath temple monthly to worship, along with pilgrims from India and Tibet, who are familiar tourists around the region. Buddhists from Tibets have named Muktinath Chumig Gyatsa, known as Hundred Waters.

Lo-Manthang

Lo-Manthang is one of the major attractions of the Upper Mustang Trek. It is the capital city of Upper Mustang and is 3,840 m above sea level. It is often known as the Forbidden Kingdom. It previously worked at the trading post between the people of Tibet and Nepal. During these trades, people of Tibet settled in the region, which is why you’ll find many Tibetan people following Buddhism inhabiting the capital.

In Lo-Manthang, you will find different types of monasteries, like Thupchen Lakhang and Jampa Lakhang. During your trip around Lo-Manthang, you will encounter ancient temples, monasteries, mani walls, chortens, and prayer flags.

 Chhoser Cave

Chhoser Cave is a hidden treasure in Upper Mustang that is waiting to be explored. It is also known as Jhong Cave, one of the magnificent caves in the Upper Mustang region. This ancient cave complex is near Lo Manthang and was once a sacred site for Buddhist monks.

The cave complex is adorned with intriguing ancient paintings and murals depicting captivating religious and cultural tales. The cave is five stories tall, so if you want to explore it thoroughly, it will take most of your day. Exploring this mystical cave will transport you to another world, an experience you won’t want to miss.

Ghar Gompa

While trekking around Upper Mustang, you will come across the village of Ghar. You’ll see another majestic Ghar Gompa or monastery. G in the small village’s Ghar Gompa is situated at the ridge’s peak, so you will get stunning views of the mountains and surrounding valleys when you climb the ridge’s peak.

This monastery contains all the ancient sculptures from the Buddhist kingdom, artifacts, and mysterious wall paintings. If you want to know more about the mystery of these ancient properties, it’s best to hire a guide to show you their history or let them take you to local gurus or experts.

Tiji Festival

Trekking to Upper Mustang is unique in any month, but if you plan or accidentally trek in May, you will surely experience the Tiji Festival. The majestic festival lasts for three days where you can enjoy dancing, singing and rituals. They also make their unique sweets and drinks, which you can eat and drink after paying a small cost.

History of Upper Mustang

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Formerly a restricted area, Upper Mustang, also known as the “Forbidden Kingdom,” was opened to tourists in 1992, allowing a limited number of trekkers to explore its hidden treasures. The region’s remoteness has helped preserve its unique Tibetan-influenced culture, making it a fascinating destination for those seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure.

Tough and Rugged Trails

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The Upper Mustang trek usually starts in Jomsom, a popular gateway to the region. The trail winds through arid landscapes, deep canyons, and colorful cliffs, offering captivating views at every turn. Along the way, trekkers will encounter ancient monasteries, such as the renowned Lo Gekar Monastery, and centuries-old caves adorned with intricate Buddhist murals. The walled city of Lo Manthang, with its royal palace and narrow alleys, is a significant highlight of the trek, providing a glimpse into the ancient kingdom’s rich history.

Cultural Immersion:

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The Upper Mustang trek offers an unparalleled chance to experience the local culture firsthand. The people of this region have a unique way of life that is heavily influenced by Tibetan traditions. Trekkers can engage with the welcoming locals, explore traditional villages, and witness ancient rituals and festivals. Don’t miss this remarkable opportunity to immerse yourself in an unforgettable cultural experience.

The beauty of Upper Mustang

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The Upper Mustang region is blessed with serene natural beauty. Its stark desert-like landscapes, snow-capped peaks, and the Kali Gandaki River flowing through the deepest gorge in the world provide a picturesque backdrop for the trek. The region’s tranquility, far away from the bustling city life, offers a chance to reconnect with nature and find inner peace.

Conclusion:

Upper Mustang Trek is undoubtedly beautiful and unique. Located in a secluded and exclusive region of Nepal, it offers awe-inspiring vistas of the majestic mountains and valleys. Moreover, it offers a plethora of captivating spots, such as Muktinath, Chhoser Cave, and Lo-Mangthang, for an unforgettable experience.

You will also get to know people with different cultures, traditions, and rituals. Some months, people celebrate festivals like Dashain, Tihar, and Tiji. So ensure you experience the Upper Mustang Trek and enjoy the adventure fully.

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