Mustang- A Heaven on earth

Mustang situated in the high Himalayas of the western Dhaulagiri zone and follows Tibetan cultures and religions, but politically it’s part of Nepal. Filled with views of numerous giant mountains in the region such as Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, and Annapurna, the high Himalayan desert is definitely a heaven on earth. The title heaven on earth is claimed by many including the national daily newspaper The Himalayan Times.
So, why is Mustang a heaven on earth? We give you 5 reasons:

a. The Mountains:

Mustang is surrounded by the snow-capped high Himalayas. Mount Dhaulagiri, Annapurna massif, and Nilgiri are the notable peaks that can be seen. However, numerous small peaks are present throughout the region. The deepest gorge in the world, Kali Gandaki gorge falls in the region. The gorge is formulated between two giants of the region, Annapurna, and Dhaulagiri.

 

Landscape from Kagbeni

b. Culture and traditions:

Mustang is heavily influenced by Tibetan Buddhism and is the prominent religion in the region. Having given entry to internationals only in 1992, the true essence of Tibetan Buddhism is well preserved. Mani walls, prayer flags, and chortens are a common site while in the high Himalayan deserts.

Religious Shrie at Lo-Manthang.

c. Tiji and Yartung Festivals:

Mustang is known for its festivals such as Tiji and Yartung festival. Tiji festival is celebrated in Mid may and lasts for 3 days. The festival is the celebration of the defeat of a demon called Man Tam Ru by Lord Buddha’s incarnation Dorjee Sonnu. The festival depicts the harassment of Man Tam Ru on the first day, the second day describes the birth of Dorjee Sonnu and the final day describes the annihilation of the demon. People from throughout the region appear to soak in the festival.

Yartung Horse Festival is another prime festival in Mustang which is celebrated on August full moon day every year. The festival takes place to celebrate the end of summer and is celebrated with horse race by men and women of the Thakali tribe. The festival is celebrated throughout Mustang, but the pilgrimage of Muktinath is the prime location for the festival.

Crowd gathers to witness a dance perfomance at Tiji festival in Mustang.

(Pic courtesy: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ACAP_Tiji_Dance.jpg )

 

d. Desert Landscapes:

Geographically Mustang shares border with Tibet and is part of the Tibetian plateau. Hence, the landscapes are similar to that in Tibet. Treelines can be found in the lower belt of Mustang. However, after Kagbeni, the start to Upper Mustang, the landscape turns deserted with virtually little tree line visible.

Desert landscapes of Mustang.

e. Mystery caves:

Until mid of 1990s nobody knew about the caves 155ft high from the ground then the exploration begins an Archaeologists groups from Nepal and the University of Cologne began exploring the stacked caves. Since then, groups have continued to investigate the remote Upper Mustang site, but no-one has discovered who built the caves. However, it’s vast, mysterious, and nearly impossibly complex system of man-made caves, and hence one of the great archaeological mysteries of the world. “Those who have seen the mysterious caves say the effect of them on the cliff face makes it look like a giant sandcastle.” Considered to be one of the greatest wonders of the world, the caves in Mustang never cease to mystify and baffle human kind.

Visit HoneyGuide App’s blog for a detailed info on the caves in Mustang.

"Jhong" Cave in Chosser.

Press Release: The Mustang Madness 2016

Mustang, 24th November

The first edition of The Mustang Madness – a cross country mountain bike stage race held in upper and lower Mustang, Nepal started today 24th November 2016. The event is held in 7 stages covering a total distance of 220Km Continued. The first stage of the event started today from Kagbeni (2800m) and ended at Muktinath (3850m) vm1e3fo. Mr. Raj Kumar Shrestha took the lead in first stage with a timing of 57min and 50 seconds, followed by Mr. Buddhi Bahudur Tamang at 1hr2min44seconds. Mr. Man Bahadur Thapa Magar from Nepal Army came in third after completing the stage in 1hr 2min 56 seconds.

Mr. Rajkuram Shrestha said ‘ Trail today was short but  all uphill and tough. The nature of the course changes everyday and there are some big downhills tomorrow. I will try by best to keep this lead.’ Mr. Buddhi Bahadur Tamang who came in second said ‘I took it easy today as it was the first day of the race. From tomorrow I’m giving my 100%.’

Total of 12 participants with 5 internationals registered for this event. Participants are from United Kingdom, Germany and Nepal. Two international participants could not start the race because of extenuating circumstances.

Among the 10 participants 2 are women. In this open competition the prizes are Rs 125,000 (USD 1250) for first, Rs 75,000 (USD 750) for second and Rs 50,000 (USD 500) for third. Winners are decided on aggregate timings from the seven stages. The later stages of this event follows the route of  Chele (2900m), Ghami (3600m), Lo-Manthang (3800m), Tange (3300m) , Marpha(2700m) and ends at Tatopani (1250m). The race ends on 1st December 2016 at Tatopani.

Dedicated to promote and develop the potential of MTB trails and adventure tourism in Nepal, the event is designed to let participants ride their MTBs in exotic Himalayan desert landscapes but also gives them ample time to explore and experience the rich cultural and historical Mustang region of Nepal. Mr. Ian Morrison form Uk said ‘It’s quiet amazing to have a race in this location. It is stunningly beautiful, magical and the landscapes are remarkable. The organizers have done a spending job and so far everything has been absolutely amazing. I am looking forward to the coming stages.’

The event is organized by Adventure Sports Nepal in association with Nepal tourism board and is supported by Himalayan Expeditions and Gnarly Biking. Event organizer Shikhar Pandey says ‘The aim is to develop international standard events using and developing local manpower and skills. This is the first event and we have kept it small but our plan is to make it bigger and better in the coming years.’

Shikhar Pandey

Event Manager

9801035377

 

Lo-Manthang: Capital of the forbidden Kingdom

Lo-Manthang, the capital of forbidden kingdom, THE MUSTANG MADNESS is a highlight event in the stage MTB race, Mustang is a place full of history, culture and ancient traditions. It is Located in Mustang district, which lies in the Western Development Region, the capital is surrounded by canyons and cliff on all sides, the High Himalayan Desert plateau is home to ethnic Lohbas (any diverse amalgamation of Sino-Tibetan-speaking tribespeople). The Kingdom had maintained its hereditary rules despite the unity of Nepal by the Shahs of Gorkha, the Kingdom and capital lost its title in 2008 after the establishment of Republican Government in Nepal. Despite losing his title, King Jigme Palbar Bista has been by many Mustang residents and lives in the former Palace.

The capital of the Forbidden Kingdom of Lo, Lo-Manthang.

The capital of the Forbidden Kingdom of Lo, Lo-Manthang.

The Royal palace Lo-Manthang is the most visited site in the area. Built around the 1400s, the palace is four stories tall. At the entrance of the capital of once the Forbidden Kingdom, a religious Shrine is erected. Locals offer Khatas(a traditional ceremonial scarf in Buddhism) at the Shrine at ceremonial occasions such as birth, death, funeral, graduation and arrival and departure from the capital.

Royal Palace at Lo-manthang

Royal palace at Lo-manthang

Along with the palace, Lo-Manthang accommodates some of the oldest Gompa(Buddhist temple) in the region. The oldest of Gompas is Jampa Gompa which was built in the early 15th Century compared to Thubchen Gompa built in the late 15th Century blood pressure medicine lisinopril. Other gompas in the capital are Chodey Gompa which is now taken as the main Gompa and Chopra Gompa known as “New Gompa”.

Religious Shrie at Lo-Manthang.

Religious Shrie at Lo-Manthang.

One could feel the essence of the past linger in the alleys of Lo-Manthang. The preservation of ancient architecture, culture, and art is one key factor in such feeling.

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