Upper Mustang, often know as the Last Forbidden Kingdom of Lo Manthang is the walled city with its’s own history. Being in the rain shadow of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri it rarely rains in the region and water is precious of the commodities available in Lo Manthang. The best reason to trek Upper Mustang starts with Tiji Festival, that demonstrate how Deity Dorje Juno fought against his demon father who created shortage of water in kingdom of Lo Manthang.
The expensive permit system precludes lot of travelers to enter further north of Kagbeni, as it is USD 500 per person for first ten days for the paper work only! Additionally it takes two flights from Kathmandu to reach the trek start point. But if you can afford it and visit this Tibetan Kingdom, you will not be disappointed. Ten days trek would do area hardly a justice.
Five Reasons Why You Should Trek Upper Mustang
1. Tiji Festival
This is a a three days dance festival hosted annually. Dates for the festival will be based on Tibetan Calendar. This is one of the biggest festival for people from Mustang. Traditionally dressed dancer will illustrate the victory of Deity Dorje Juno over his father. People celebrate the happiness together after defeating the devils creating water shortage in the kingdom.
2. Sky Caves
Four storey Sijha Jhong Cave in Chhoser Village is the biggest architectural mystery in this modern world. There is a cave with more than fifty private room in a big hills and each storey are connected with ladder. There is also a separate room for the kitchen and wide passage to roam around. The fort window gives the wider aerial view of valley, probably used by the army to look after.
3. Monasteries – The God House
There are monastery in each and every villages along the way. Some of them date back couple hundred years. The monastery in Lo Manthang is considered as the oldest one, which dates back to fifteen century and it is known as the god house. Interior of the monastery is carved with big wooden craft, and a big log of wood as a pillar to support the wall. Another mysterious things is how the builders of the monastery manage to bring such a big log of tree where landscape is deserted and hardly a millet grows!
4. Salt Trading Route – Kora La Pass
There is a close access to Tibet from Lo Manthang. The border town is approx twenty five kilometer from the village and a high pass of Kora La connects Nepal and Tibet. This is the shortest salt trading route in between India and China. Now the Nepal government is prioritizing to accomplish this road to connect India and Tibet once again with the shortest distance. As a part of Upper Mustang Trek you can took a day trip to Kora La Pass in a pony.
5. King’s Palace and Visit
As it used to separate kingdom before annexing to Nepal in late 2008. There is still a king’s palace in Lo Manthang. It is white colored eight corner shaped building in the center of Lo Manthang. Former king still resides in his own palace and you can arrange a meeting with the king. Your teahouse owner will assist, and this normally took place after 3:00 pm. Buy a blessing scarf (Khada) and received it from the king’s hand. You will be blessed.
Apart from this there are many reasons to trek this forbidden kingdom. Here is a nice online upper mustang trek map that you can browse online, which you cannot download. You will need a good internet connection for this. Also, checkout free and independent informative blog about upper mustang trek.
Namaste & Dhanyabad!