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Mustang Nepal

  Mustang Nepal  

Mustang Nepal is a Himalayan district with a gem of Nepal blessed with a unique geography.

The village of Marpha is situated in the lower Mustang, which is also known as the capital of Apples.

The beautiful village of Marpha holds many secrets and facts within herself. An important place within If you get the chance, you should definitely visit Mustang at least once in your life.

Upper Mustang is a magical place full of natural and traditional beauty. the road that leads to this destination holds divine beauty.

Mustang Nepal

Upper Mustang lies in third place amongst the 10 best places in the world, it’s also known as Little Tibet.

Read More: Lower Mustang

  Geographical Structure    

It’s said that there was Tethys Sea here millions of years ago, but due to some geographical change, the formations of this landscape occurred.

The Sea creatures of the Tethys Sea disappeared along with the Sea, but you can find them as fossils embedded in the rocks here, also known as the saligram.

Key PointsDescription
Geological History
  • The region was once covered by the Tethys Sea millions of years ago.
  • Mountain formations resulted from the collision of tectonic plates.
  • Fossils (saligrams) from the Tethys Sea can be found embedded in rocks.
Early Human Settlement
  • Early humans inhabited the area and used caves within the mountains as shelters.
Water Source
  • Glacial snow melts and flows down the mountains, providing a water source in an otherwise desert-like environment.
Mud Sculptures
  • Various mud sculptures resembling pots can be found in the landscape.
Syangmochen Village
  • Located at an altitude of 3,770 meters (12,368 ft.).
  • Features a few hotels and shops.
  • Offers refreshments and fuel.


  Lower Mustang  

The road has been carved onto a massive rock face, with unique geography, and there is a pond (Tato Pani) where you can bathe or cleanse yourself.

There is a belief that this water contains medicinal properties.

LocationMarpha, a village in Lower Mustang, Nepal, is known as the “capital of Apples.”
  • Unique geography in the Himalayan district of Mustang.
  • Windy region with strong winds.
  • Stallion Rock (Ghode Dhunga) near the stress
  • Free Tower offers a horseback riding experience on a cliff.
  • Marpha Distillery utilizes apples for alcohol production.
  • The region’s roadway to Mustang can be challenging, especially during the rainy season.
Road and Landmarks
  • The road is carved onto a massive rock face.
  • Tato Pani, a pond along the way with believed medicinal properties.
  • Rupse Jharana (Rupse Waterfall) is a challenging section with a narrow road allowing only single-vehicle passage.
  • Rupse Jharana (Rupse Waterfall) is a popular waterfall in Myagdi, cascading from a height of 75 meters.


  1. Marpha Village  

An ancient village consisting of mostly traditional stone houses Marpha village.

The main attraction of Marpha is these mud and stone houses, these stone and mud houses have withstood the test of time.

Village Description
  • An ancient village with mostly traditional stone houses. – Populated by Thakali people.
  • Known as “Mar” (hardworking) + “Pha” (person) village.
  • Main attraction: Mud and stone houses.
  • Resistant to earthquakes due to the region’s arid and dry climate.
  • Located in the rain shadow region of Mustang.
  • Known as the “capital of apples.”
  • Produces a variety of tasty and juicy apples.
  • Marpha juices and liquors are famous.
  • Often unnoticed from the main road by travelers heading to Muktinath or upper Mustang via Jomsom.
  • Several hotels and curio shops are available for tourists.
Landmarks and Attractions
  • Pra Gumba, Bhir Gumba, and Mamti Gufa.
  • Beautiful orchards, topography, and alleyways to explore.
  • A clean and pollution-free village.
Unique Features
  • Narrow alleyways are accessible only by motorbikes.
  • Unique alleyway names, like “Jerry Galli,” named after the movie “Jerry.”
  •  An exclusive spot for elderly residents.
Trekking Trails
  • Main walking trail to Dhaulagiri Base Camp.
  • Used by tourists returning from Dolpa.
Cultural Significance
  • Interior of the Gumba (monastery) is exquisite.
  • A religious site with a painted rock.
  • Visited by the late king and queen of Mustang.


  2. Pra Gumba  

Pra Gumba is situated on a cliff, a lone structure atop a cliff which translates as cliff monastery.

It clings to the cliff in a fascinating way, it looks rickety, but it’s known to be very sturdy and secure.

  • Situated on a cliff and translates as “cliff monastery.”
  • Known for its secure and sturdy construction.
Structure and Myth
  • Appears to cling to the cliff in a fascinating way.
  • Resistant to strong earthquakes.
  • It’s actually a cave with an upper floor.
  • Associated with a myth involving the queen falling ill on the way to Muktinath.
  • The queen constructed the monastery for a Lama who helped her.
Sacred Statue
  • Inside the cave, there is a statue of great religious importance.
  • It requires a specific tool to be revealed.
  • It’s advised not to be scared upon first sight of the statue.
  • The belief is that one may lose their senses if spooked by the statue.
  • The important statue is located at the far right inside the cave.
  • There are other statues as well.
Accessibility and Layout
  • From the highest floor, there’s an exit leading out into the open.


  3. Mamti Gufa (Cave)  

Mamti cave is right beside a road and might take 8-10 minutes to walk from Marpha village.

Guru Rinpoche himself meditated inside this cave, high up on a hill on a mud cliff. The place is quite surprising.

Location and Accessibility
  • Located right beside a road, 8-10 minutes’ walk from Marpha village.
  • Easily accessible by asking locals or using a motorbike.
Historical Significance
  • A very historical cave where Guru Rinpoche himself meditated.
  • Situated high up on a hill on a mud cliff.
Beliefs and Traditions
  • The belief that wishes made at this cave will be fulfilled.
  • The cave has a circular and vibrating interior.
  • The tradition of writing wishes on stones and placing them in wall cavities inside the cave.


  Upper Mustang  

Upper Mustang begins after Kagbeni but there is a trend of going to Lo Manthang and then to Korala instead of Upper Mustang.

There is an exciting journey to Upper Mustang, Lo Manthang is around 90 km from Jomsom and the Korala border is approximately 20 to 22 km from Lo Manthang.

  • Upper Mustang is a place of natural and traditional beauty.
  • Often ranked among the top 10 places in the world.
  • Also known as “Little Tibet.”
Location and Roads
  • Kagbeni serves as a starting point with two roads: one to Muktinath and the other to Lo Manthang, Korala, and Upper Mustang.
  • Lo Manthang is approximately 90 km from Jomsom, and the Korala border is around 20-22 km from Lo Manthang.
Scenic Journey
  • The road from Kagbeni to Lo Manthang offers scenic views, making it a captivating journey.
  • Returning from Lower Mustang means missing out on these mesmerizing vistas.
Rain Shadow Region
  • Upper Mustang falls under a rain shadow region, resulting in minimal rainfall.
  • Southern mountains block clouds from the Bay of Bengal, causing rain to divert to other areas like the Kaski district.
Desert-Like Conditions
  • The region experiences arid conditions, resembling a desert due to the lack of rain.
  • Houses are constructed from mud due to the scarcity of rainfall and vegetation.
Road Maintenance
  • Roads may remain


  1. Ghiling Village  

This village lies in the Lo Dhyagar Damodar Kunda area and the main occupation is agriculture and agricultural land plays holds great value there.

You can find many interesting caves and monasteries with a majority of the Mustang Gurung community.

Location and Geography
  • Situated in a valley at an altitude of approximately 3600 meters.
  • Known for its green vegetation, with a distinct green area after a short downhill from Syangmochen.
  • Characterized by Tibetan traditions and a predominantly Tibetan dialect.
Main Occupation
  • Primary occupation: Agriculture, with agricultural land holding significant value.
Caves and Monasteries
  • Numerous interesting caves and monasteries, with a significant presence of the Mustang Gurung community.
Population and Agriculture
  • The village comprises approximately 60-70 houses.
  • Crops produced include wheat, buckwheat, and potatoes.
  • Agricultural lands are enclosed with walls; farming is primarily within walled areas.
Leadership and Festivals
  • The village has a designated leader known as the Mukhiya (chief).
  • Mukhiya’s responsibilities: Managing farming activities and resolving minor disputes.
  • Festival decisions are made by the chief (Mukhiya).
Bhote Pipal Trees
  • Abundance of Bhote Pipal trees with yellow leaves.
  • Resilient species thrive even in dry regions.
  • Utilized for construction purposes in the area.


  2. Lo Manthang  

Lo Manthang is a beautiful place with an ancient vibe and has a lot of temples and shrines including various Buddhist monasteries and Little Maney.

The attractive Kheku Chowk of Lo Manthang’s old traditional architecture makes you feel like you’re in a different place

Key PointsDescription
  • Upper Mustang region of Nepal
Notable Features
  • Kheku Chowk with traditional architecture
  • Protective castle-like wall
  • Buddhist monasteries
  • Tashi Gephel Palace
  • Unique mud architecture
Lo Manthang Palace
  • Constructed in the 15th century by King Amad Pal
  • Five-sided palace made of mud, timber, and rocks
Protective Wall
  • Built to safeguard the people
  • Gates closed around 5 PM for security
Historical Significance
  • Founded by King Amad Pal in the 14th century
  • The mud-based architecture reflects the cultural heritage
Tashi Gephel Palace
  • Over 600 years old
  • Exemplifies Tibetan craftsmanship
  • Elevation of 3,800 meters (12,467 ft.)
  • Moon-like, rugged terrain
Buddhist Monasteries
  • An integral part of local culture and spirituality
  • Lo Manthang trail is considered one of the best treks in the world



  3. Korala Border  

There is a pillar on Nepal’s side and one in China, the building itself is barricaded, and there’s a gate in the middle.

At an altitude of 4,650 Meters (15,256 ft.), there are two big buildings, solar, and CCTV cameras on the China border but nothing on the Nepal side.

Korala BorderDescription
Stony Ruins of Ancient Castles
  • Various stony ruins of castles along the way, potentially ancient
  • Possible historical significance
Religious Significance
  • The presence of offerings and religious significance observed
Small Settlements
  • A few small settlements were found along the route
The trail to Damodar Lake
  • Near Chhoser village, there’s a trail to Damodar Lake
  • Requires several days of walking to reach
  • The terrain is relatively flat with no mountains, resembling the Terai region
  • Electric poles along the road

Korala Border Structures

  • Impressive structures at the Korala border
  • Pillar on Nepal’s side and one in China
  • Barricaded building with a gate in the middle
  • Altitude: 4,650 meters (15,256 ft.)
Border Security
  • Two big buildings on the China border equipped with solar panels and CCTV cameras
  • Nepal side lacks such infrastructure


Read More: Rukum

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Sudeep Thapa
Sudeep Thapa
Sudeep Thapa is a Founder and Chief Author at Best Ten Universe. He has completed a Bachelor of Business Studies from Lumbini Banijya Campus ( Tribhuwan University ) .
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