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.
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.
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.
(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.
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.