Pedaling across the Forbidden Kingdom

Mustang is the Last forbidden kingdom in Nepal which was restricted for tourist and visitors till 1992. Mustang described as a mystique valley, allows the travelers to witness heavenly beautiful Trans-Himalaya landscape, and ancient Tibetan Buddhist shrines such as Stupas, Chhortens, Kaanis, Prayers walls, and centuries old monasteries. Once you start your pedaling your MTB across the once forbidden kingdom you may feel like going back to the ancient Tibetan time and submerge yourself in the fresh wind, the culture, the myths and the high mountains altogether.

MTB Bike, peddling across the high himalaya dessert, Mustang nepal.

Mustang is almost treeless barren landscape, vegetation dessert area. This is a perfect location for MTB lovers to pedals in the spectacular desert single track trails landscape. The Mustang has its strange beauties which you may feel during MTB rides such as delightful long-abandoned cliff and caves dwellings, magnificent views and dramatic high altitude Himalayan. Now, we have to find some awesome biking trails with our passion and unique knowledge of the area of Upper Mustang; this is where The Mustang Madness happens.

The high himalaya dessert, Mustang nepal.

Once again The Mustang Madness is coming back with the new aspiration and some great experience from last year. So we’ve managed to carve out a spectacular route technical descents, fast, flowy single-track trails in hidden valley and a most remote area of the world.

MTB Bike, MTB in Mustang, Mtb in high himalaya dessert, the mustang madness, Mtb in forbidden kingdom, Mtb in nepal.

The Mustang Madness is a seven staged semi-technical adventurous mountain bike event in the once forbidden kingdom in Upper Mustang. In this event, the riders have to ride on their MTM in awesome single track village trails and covering a Total of 220 km in the high Himalayan desert and the elevation which is scaling up to 4200m altitude in upper Mustang. The mountain biking race starts off from Kagbeni, which is a highlight location in the Annapurna circuit leads through Muktinath, Chele, and Lo-manthang before descending to Beni, that’s the ending point of the race. Moreover, the MTB bike ride will take you through Paha Pass at 4200m, which is the highest point in the MTB Mustang Madness event.

Mustang Madness 2016, MTB with a view.

If you’re looking for something truly unique, then this location and particularly the event “the Mustang Madness” is designed for Mtb riders and as a tour in once Forbidden Kingdom of Nepal where most riders would never get the chance ride.

MTB ride in the upper Mustang offers some technical single tracks along with ultimate downhill ride full of adrenaline and a few upward climbs providing an ultimate MTB event to make a beautiful image in your memories and have a deep imprint on your souls which you never forget.

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.

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.