A Complete Journey To Upper Mustang in 2020
Mustang (Lo Monthang, or “aspirations of the southern plains”) is located in the most isolated and unexplored region of the Himalayas. A region where man’s spirit is considered as real as any other organ of the body: feet, hands, heart. This post will show you A Complete Journey To Upper Mustang in 2020.
The Himalayas protect Mustang from monsoon rains. In spring and summer, the climate is warm (20/25 ° C) but more relaxed during the night, always characterised by marked temperature variations. For expeditions to Mustang, the Nepalese government has established strict rules: a limited number of visitors and the obligation of a Sardar (expedition leader).
- Lodge Guesthouse and local English speaking guides
- The trip includes a Sardar guide and a porter for every 2 participants
- Suggested period: from May to October (maximum altitude reached 3,800 meters)
A trip to Mustang is an opportunity to discover a unique place in the world, where millenary traditions and faiths meet just a few steps from the sky. Long isolated from the rest of the world, Mustang is a region located in northwestern Nepal, whose name derives from the Tibetan Mun Tang (fertile plain). Mustang is the land of the ancient Kingdom of Lo, still ruled by a (purely honorific) dynasty dating back to the fourteenth century.
Only since 1992, the Mustang has opened its doors to tourists. A trip to Mustang is, therefore, an excellent opportunity to learn about the history and spirituality of this land of peculiar characteristics. Although part of Nepal, Mustang is an extension of the Tibetan plateau, which is why the population is Tibetan for history, culture, and traditions. This is reflected in daily life and religion, which has always been in osmosis in this area of the Indian subcontinent.
Traveling to Mustang, therefore, means discovering extraordinary testimonies of faith and devotion, such as the monastery of Kuchup Terenga, near the village of Thini Gaon, characterized by refined interior decorations. The most mystical soul of Mustang is found in the monasteries of Tashi Lha Change and Ani, secret monasteries of the Nyingmapa sect, the oldest of the four schools of Nyingma Buddhism.
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One of the fascinating religious structures in the region is the monastery of the village of Marpha, absolutely one of a kind and linked to Mahayana Buddhism. The oldest monastery in Mustang is Lo Gear Monastery, located in Tsarang village at over 3,500 meters high.
In the eastern valley of the capital of Mustang, Lo Manthang, there are numerous Tibetan temples of great charm, all to be discovered with trekking itineraries. A trip to Mustang is a journey into the heart of the most authentic spirituality of the Himalayas, its traditions, and its millenary history.
Our Journey To Upper Mustang
Day 1: Welcome to Nepal
Arrival at Tribhuvan airport in Kathmandu (1340 meters), meeting with our staff, assistance and transfer to the hotel. Free time to visit Durbar Square.
Day 2: Kathmandu – Boudhanath
We need your original passport with a Nepalese visa to prepare an entry permit to Nar Phu restricted area. You can visit the beautiful Stupa of Boudhanath, the most important Buddhist cultural center in Kathmandu as many refugees from Tibet have stopped here, creating over 50 Gompa (Tibetan monasteries). Since 1979, Boudhanath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This day also serves us to complete the formalities for the High Mustang.
Day 3: Kathmandu – Bandipur – Pokhara
Departure for Bandipur, an ancient Newari city perched on the Himalayan hills. It is a mix of history, architecture, incredible views, impressive caves, and intact landscapes. From here, you can enjoy a spectacular view over the Annapurna chain, up to the peaks of Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, and Langtang Then, en route to Pokhara. Pokhara is a place of outstanding natural beauty. Located at a lower altitude than Kathmandu, the city offers a more tropical atmosphere and varied flora, beautiful lakes, and breathtaking views of the Himalayan peaks. Boat ride on Pewha Tal lake, walk along the lake and visit the shop of the “Women Skill Development Project Pokhara,” an NGO founded in 1975 by four women to support women’s literacy and training.
Day 4: Flight to Jomsom
Early morning mountain flight to Jomsom (Dzongsam, 2731m about 25 minutes flight) passes between the two Himalayan giants over 8,000m: Dhaulagiri and Annapurna, allowing for splendid views. Visit of Jomsom and surroundings (Thini Gaon) for those who wish to relax and acclimatise. In case the weather is unfavourable, we will leave by private Jeep for Jomson, which takes the whole day traveling through beautiful landscapes of this remote region.
Day 5: Kagbeni – Chusang
We load our bags into the Jeep at Jomsom and begin our journey to the hidden kingdom of the High Mustang. We go from Jomsom to Chhusang via Kagbeni. We will drive along the bank of the Kali Gandaki River, through the Kagbeni River Gorge. Following the road through the village of Tangbe, we reach our destination of the day Chhusang, a fortified place made up of several villages.
Day 6: Syangboche – Ghami
After breakfast, we continue north to the village of Syangboche (3800m), which lies almost at the bottom of the valley. A short climb leads to the pass of the same name: the Syambochen La (3,850 m). You have the first beautiful view of the village of Ghiling surrounded by the green cultivated fields that develop in the valley floor.
Then you continue almost flat to reach Chhunggar, where the Great Chorten is located with the original striped paintings on the walls. You descend gradually in a gorge and then go up towards Nyi La (4,010 m) from which you can overlook a beautiful valley. After a long descent, you reach Ghami (3520 m), a small village in the middle of cultivated fields.
Day 7: Tsarang – Lo Manthang
After breakfast, we explore new villages and monasteries. Let’s go a little out of the way to see Dhakmar village. Then we will go to our destination of the day: Lo Manthang, the capital with the ruins of the surrounding forts. Lo Manthang was founded in 1450 by the son of the legendary Ame Pal, conqueror. He unified the small kingdoms of the upper Mustang or Upper Mustang. In this small and picturesque centre, you can still breathe an ancient and surreal atmosphere.
Day 8: Lo Manthang
A day they are dedicated to visiting the town and its surroundings. The grandiose monasteries of Lo Manthang are splendid examples of the Sakya-pa sect. The alleys and squares invite you to visit with all the calm and time available. With a little luck (your guide will help), you can get an audience with King Jigme Paldor Bista Gurung in the royal palace.
Day 9: Excursions to Lo Manthang
Full day dedicated to excursions in the surroundings to be agreed on-site with the guide. Excursions may include Garphu, Namdrul, Tingkar, Nyphu Gompa, Namgyal Gompa villages, or Jhong caves or other similar excursions. We recommend that you do the activities on horseback.
Day 10: Lo Manthang – Chhusang
Departure after breakfast for Chhusang, we will retrace the itinerary of the past days.
Day 11: Discovering Jomsom
For those who wish, early in the morning, a small trek to reach the extraordinary village of Tetang perched on two hills separated by the river. Back in Chhusang, continue by Jeep along the road to Kagbeni and then continue east on the eastern side of the valley climbing up to Muktinath (3750 m), surrounded by splendid views of Nilgiri (7200 m) and Dhaulagiri (8167 m) and visit of Muktinath Temple, a popular pilgrimage destination for Hindus and Buddhists. For those who wish, the possibility of visiting the village of Jarkot, built on a cliff and dominated by a monastery and fort (Dzong), and then descend in the afternoon by Jeep to Jomsom.
Day 12: Pokhara, the city of lakes
After breakfast, early in the morning, fly to Pokhara. Transfer to the hotel and free day to visit the Seti Gorge, Davis Falls, the Tibetan refugee camp where there are Tibetan carpets. For the more adventurous on this day, there is the possibility of paragliding from a peak above Pokhara.
Day 13: Kathmandu
Flight to Kathmandu and the rest of the day at your disposal.
Day 14: Spiritual Kathmandu
In the morning visit to an important Buddhist centre, the Swayambhunath stupa known as the monkey temple due to the high number of monkeys that live inside. This ancient religious complex is located on top of a hill to the west in the Kathmandu Valley, and from here, you can enjoy a splendid view of the city and the valley that surrounds it.
Afterward, visit the Pashupatinath Temple, the most important Hindu temple in Nepal consecrated to the god Shiva. The original nucleus dates back to the 6th century AD and is known for its pagoda-shaped architecture. This place, also known as Little Benares, is located along the Bagmati River. The funeral ceremonies take place every day, with the corpses being burned on the pyres before the ashes are scattered on the Bagmati.
Day 15: End of the program
Transfer to the airport and end of our services.
TREKKING IN THE UPPER MUSTANG
Trekking in Upper Mustang is a unique adventure in a sacred place of the district of Nepal, hidden between the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri regions. It is divided into two parts: the Upper Mustang and the Lower Mustang. The latter is accessible to all, unlike the former. We will venture into the heart of the Upper Mustang. But before leaving, it is necessary to apply for a special permit from the government of Nepal, at the Ministry of the House. For this reason, you need to prepare in time.
Access to this area is strictly monitored because the historical and religious monuments and the geographical and natural features are carefully protected: their importance is fundamental for the nation, as they are places considered sacred.
Trekking in the Upper Mustang can be organised either in a tent or in a lodge. If you choose to stay overnight in a tent, during the trek, you will be followed, in addition to the guide, by porters, cooks, Sherpas, and, if necessary, yaks to transport the material.
The setting up of the tents is entirely managed by the agency. It includes dining tents, bathroom tents, and overnight tents, as well as tables and stools, in a welcoming and comfortable environment.