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Upper Mustang


  Upper Mustang: Nepal  

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

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

The sun spreads its golden wings against the mountains. there is a village named Kagbani, and two roads diverge from there. One towards Muktinath and the other to Lo Manthang, Korala, and 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

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

From Kagbeni towards Lo Manthang the road is relatively good, when you go further the more scenic views greet you along the way, if we return from Lower Mustang we will miss all the mesmerizing views.

Upper Mustang falls under a rain shadow region so there’s no rainfall. Southern mountains block the clouds traveling in from the Bay of Bengal, and the clouds travel back to Kaski, that’s why there is a lot of rain in Kaski district.

It’s almost like a desert due to the lack of rain. The houses are made up of mud since there is almost no rain and no vegetation at all.

If there’s no rain the roads will stay in the same condition for years to come.


  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 collision of these tectonic plates formed these mountains. The silt at the bottom of the Tethys Sea gave rise to these Mountains.

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.

As time passed, human civilizations emerged here. it’s said that early humans used to live even in this tough geography.

Geographical Structure

Since house construction was not yet developed, you can see these caves within the mountains used as shelters.

The only difference between an actual desert and this place is that you can find water there. The glacial snow melts and flows down the mountains.

If you think there’s nothing from a distance, but when you get closer, you find various mud sculptures as if a display of pots in a pottery workshop.

At 3,770 Meters (12,368 ft.) altitude, there is Syangmochen village with few hotels and shops. there are some improvised shops for refreshments and fuel.


  Ghiling Village  

You will find a green area after a short downhill from Syangmochen, this place is called Ghiling, you can see the wall, and beyond there is green vegetation.

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

Ghiling is a valley at an altitude of about 3600 Meters since the valley is based on Tibetan traditions, the local dialect is mostly Tibetan.

Ghiling Village

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

A village comprising about 60-70 houses, They worship these caves. They produce wheat, buckwheat, potato etc.

Agricultural lands are barricaded with walls. Villagers have their plots of land inside the wall, there is no farming outside the walls.

Ghilling Village has appointed a main person called Mukhiya (chief). The chief manages the farming and minor disputes there, the festivals are also decided by the chief (Mukhiya).

We can see many yellow trees there called Bhote Pipal, this species thrives even in the dry regions and it is used for construction there.


  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.

Kheku means the entrance or gate to the palace and you can find lots of artistry and traditional architecture and there is a huge compound of the palace.

The Northern face of the Lo Manthang Palace is like a castle and surrounds a huge area the palace by the wall.

Lo Manthang

A whole village and a Palace are inside the wall, and there was a king in this Palace. A long time ago, comprised 9 separate wards, so you can have a rough estimation of the size of this palace.

He constructed this wall to protect his people, and the gates were closed at a fixed time, around 5 PM, so that the enemies coming from other regions couldn’t attack the general population of this Palace.

The place is just huge and amazing, it was constructed in the 15th century, and it rests at 3,800 Meters (12,467 ft.) from the sea level

A five-sided palace constructed with mud, timber, and rocks. A five-storied Palace constructed by King Amad Pal.

Lo Manthang is internationally recognized as a mud city, its houses, monasteries, everything are built with mud. Lo Manthang trail is considered one of the best treks in the world.

The Landscape of Lo Manthang is said to be similar to that of the moon, according to history, a warrior King Amad Pal hailing from western Tibet constructed this castle in 1380 and established the kingdom of Mustang.

It’s the capital city of Upper Mustang, this 600-year-old Tashi Gephel Palace is a great example of middle age Tibetan craftsmanship, There are about 200 houses.


  Mustang Villages  

There are many similar valleys and villages so we can see another similar village called Ghami and the river Ghami flows nearby.

There is an alternative route on the other side to a village called Dhakmar. you will find several such villages along the way.

Mustang Villages 

It seems that areas near the water source do have some greenery and a settlement resides near that water source, whereas regions without water sources are dry.

A little further from Ghami, we came across another sculpted hill. The view is outstanding even we can’t imagine.

If you see greenery in the middle of the yellow barren mountains, then there is a village nearby. Wherever plants flourish, human settlement seems to be possible.


  Royal Mustang Resort   

Royal Mustang Resort owned by Prince Jigme Singya Palbar Bista, the hotel is very attractive and beautiful.

He constructed a similar architecture to Lo Manthang Durbar using traditional methods, very near to the Palace and historical sites.

Royal Mustang Resort 

It’s developed with traditional fashion and all modern facilities and conveniences for the tourists, it promotes tourism. Glimpses of the past, but a well-facilitated modern build.

High-end tourists are ready to pay a good price for well-facilitated places like Royal Mustang Resort Lo Manthang can provide you with even such facilities.


  Korala Border  

On the way to the Korala Border from Lo Manthang, we can find various stony ruins of castles, which could be ancient castles.

There is religious significance, you can also see offerings made and there are few small settlements along the way.

Near Chhoser village there’s a trail to Damodar Lake but it takes several days to walk to get there.

Korala Border

Straight plateau, no more mountains almost feels like Terai, there are electric poles along the road.

There are some structures on the Korala border, the structure is quite impressive.

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.


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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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