Upper Mustang is one of the least travelled places of Nepal by trekkers. It is because the area has only a few facilities and enjoys less recognition compared to other trekking routes. However, Upper Mustang is a hidden gem for anyone who ventures to go there. Situated in the northernmost part of Nepal, the location has the fusion of Nepali and Tibetan culture. Above all, due to the seclusion of the region from the most advanced areas of Nepal, nature, culture, and traditional lifestyle in Upper Mustang has remained intact.
If you’re thinking about visiting Upper Mustang, you have the following reasons to do the trek.
Ancient Caves and Monasteries
Housing one of the most substantial numbers of human carved caves, Upper Mustang has a plethora of old structures that represent the fascinating civilization that has thrived here. Several rarely explored caves are high on the cliffs. These caves were once homes of ancient civilization as manifested by the paintings on the wall.
Like caves, the region also houses one of the oldest monasteries of Nepal. Religious figures of Buddhism like Guru Rimpoche and Padama Shambhaba are believed to have built monasteries in the area. Various Gompas and monasteries like Thubchen, Chhairo, Sandup Choeding, etc. are some beautiful ancient structures of Upper Mustang.
Highest Buddhist Kingdom
Lo-Manthang, which sits at an elevation of 4,300 meters, once contained the highest Buddhist kingdom of the world. It was also the last Buddhist Kingdom as it was still in existence until 2008. You can see the castle of the king that ruled this area until a decade ago. Along with that, several monasteries and structures here reflect the Buddhist monarchy.
Ancient Trade Route
Upper Mustang was once part of the trade route that connected India to the Tibetan plateau. Furthermore, this route that passed across Upper Mustang connected to the Silk Road. You can witness the residue of the trade route that facilitated trade between India and China through the Himalayas.
One of the most significant occasions celebrated by the people of Upper Mustang is the Tiji festival. According to mythology, this festival is celebrated to mark the victory of goodness over evil.
The annual festival incorporates the monks’ dance that lasts for three days. Monks from the Chhyode Gumba perform a unique dance while wearing masks and carrying swords. It is a festival based on the lunar calendar, so it occurs at different dates every year. However, it mostly falls either at the end of May or at the beginning of June.
If you’re looking for a trekking expedition that offers rewards like no other, then you must do Upper Mustang trek. It is a trek that takes you closest to the ancient culture, tradition, and hidden beauty of the Himalayan region. You’ll find a detailed itinerary and information regarding this trek here.