Mustang is a hidden paradise of natural beauty, Tibetan arts, culture and ancient history. Which is situate in the high altitude of 3,840 meters, and surrounded by the beautiful high Trans-Himalaya’s Annapurna and Nilgiri mountain ranges. Basically, Mustang is differentiated into two parts i.e. Lower Mustang & Upper Mustang. Lower Mustang is fully dessert vegetation area with beautiful scenic views and the some of Nepal’s oldest Buddhist Monasteries, ancient and isolated villages. Similarly, the upper Mustang belongs to Thakalis or Tibetan culture and traditions. Though the Language and culture are more closely similar to the Tibet’s.
The Mustang is highly influenced by Tibetan cultures and traditions because Mustang was a lost kingdom of Tibet. Although now it is a politically part of Nepal, the traditions and cultures remain same as purely Tibetan. In the eighth century, during the Yarlung Dynasty, Buddhism reached Tibet. From Tibet, its cultures and religions are spread further to Mustang.
The population of Mustang called as Loba or Lowa which is a Tibetan dialect. The Loba (Lo Pa) people are ethnic Tibetan and practice a form of Buddhism from the Sakya lineage. They are very close to the Tibetans regarding culture, language and follows Buddhism religion. There is also a sect of the rare Bon religion here and the Bon priests practice along with Tibetan lamas at the local festival. They celebrate four major religious festivals: Gine, Gensu, Gelung, and Nayuene. But the Tiji festival is more popular in Mustang. Its three-day festival consisting of Tibetan rituals known as “The chasing of the Demons”. Also in Mustang, you may also find Nepali culture and religions in many areas celebrate different festivals.
Another interesting topic in Loba culture is marriage. Quite commonly, a Loba woman will be married to several men, a practice is known as polyandry. This is done due to the idea that there is less chance of a woman becoming a widow if she has many husbands. This is a unique feature of the Loba, but nowadays in new modern time that is slowly diminishing. The younger Loba want to discard it, but the older generation feels it is necessary. The old cultures and religions are more influenced by modern time as the as the time goes on the Tibetan cultures or Loba’s are continuously decreasing.
Until 1992 the Mustang was strictly restricted for outsiders and only a small numbers of tourist or visitors permits allowed to visit. Due to long time isolation and low interactions from the outer world; the valley is gone hidden and the Mustang known as the Forbidden Kingdom. Hence that’s why there’s Tibetan arts, cultures, traditions and ancient villages are well preserved. But tourism to the Upper Mustang is still regulated and Foreigners need a specific special permit to enter the kingdom.
For those who have interest in different religions, cultures, mythology, and ancient arts then you must visit Mustang. when enters to this region the peoples feel like going back into the ancient Tibetan time and completely submerge yourself in the peaceful heaven on earth.