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Mustang Trek

Mustang: An experience of a lifetime

Nepal’s hidden Tibetan Kingdom – Lo Manthang – is one of the remotest places on earth but it is also the main food, salt, and clothes trading route between Nepal and Tibet. Located in Upper Mustang, 50 km from the Tibetan border and 250 km from the Indian border, this isolated Tibetan settlement was founded in 1380 and was the capital of the former Kingdom of Lo.

mustang

Due to its proximity to, and long association with Tibet, Tibetan Buddhist lifestyles, religion, art and culture remain intact here. The people are called “Lobas” and their language is a dialect of Tibetan. Around 900 Lhobas currently live in Lo. Lo Manthang is one of the last places on earth that still lives by and practices animist Bonpo which is the oldest and deeply spiritual form of Tibetan Buddhism. Read More

Best of Nepali Treks

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Legions of trekkers are drawn to Nepal’s most iconic and accessible hiking, some of the world’s best, with rugged trails to Everest, the Annapurnas and beyond. Considered as the ultimate “Himalayan Utopia” by trekkers and mountaineers worldwide, the mysterious land of Nepal offers some of the greatest trekking trails with incredible mountain scenery for a backdrop. Easily the best way to see Nepal is on foot along a network of trails trodden for centuries by porters, traders, pilgrims, mountaineers and locals travelling from village to town, plains to hills, Nepal to Tibet. Nothing beats strolling from teahouse to teahouse under crystal-clear Himalayan skies as an 8000m peak towers over you.

Every year Nepal attracts thousands of trekkers from all around the globe. That also means that every year people are faced with the hard choice of selecting which trekking destination to explore in Nepal. Let us help you find your favorite trek in Nepal with our 10 best treks of all time:

Everest Base Camp

ebcTopping many people’s travel bucket list and probably the most coveted trek in the world, Everest Base Camp trek takes you through the fascinating Khumbu region and to the base of the world’s highest mountain. Read More

San Luis man fulfills promise to hike remote Nepal trail again

-By James Gilbert

San Luis resident Michael Trend made a promise to himself last year while he was in the intensive care unit at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix recovering from the second of two back surgeries.

He told himself that if he was able to walk again, he would hike the Upper Mustang trail in Nepal’s Forbidden Kingdom again.

He also promised himself that, at the highest point on the hike, which is the city of Lo Manthang and the capital of the Mustang province, he would place some mementos at one of the many religious symbols in the area that were given to him by a disabled friend of his who was killed in La Rumorosa by a hit-and-run semi-trailer driver.

“It was something I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to do,” Trend said. “I was paralyzed and couldn’t walk. I swore that if I got out of there I would do the hike again. A year after I got out of physical rehab, I booked the flights.”

Read More

Unravel the mystery of Mustang’s caves

The remote Mustang Valley of Nepal was once a thriving region hidden deep amongst the northern Himalayan passages. It’s early inhabitants were producers of fine Buddhist art and writings, but the major economic vein that helped it thrive thousands of years ago was salt, trading up and around the Chinese border and beyond. What the now desolate region is known for most these days however, are its vast, mysterious, and nearly impossibly complex system of man-made caves, one of the great archaeological mysteries of the world.

Mustang Cave
Mustang Cave

Some sit by themselves, a single open mouth on a vast corrugated face of weathered rock. Others are in groups; a grand chorus of holes, occasionally stacked eight or nine stories high, an entire vertical neighborhood. Some were dug into cliff sides, others tunneled from above. Many are thousands of years old. The total number of caves in Mustang, conservatively estimated, is 10,000. Read More

Unlike rest of Nepal, upper Mustang received more tourists in 2013

Though the tourist arrival across the country decreased in 2013 due to political instability, especially general or transport strikes, the number of tourists visiting Upper Mustang actually increased compared to the previous year.

With this the collection of revenue also increased, up to Rs 200 million, according to Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP).

The cost of traveling in the ´controlled area´ as announced by the government is very high. Foreigners who wish to visit the area have to take permission from the Department of Immigration (DoI) by paying US$ 500. By paying US$ 500 they can stay in the area for 10 days and if they want to extend they have to pay additional US$ 50 per day. However, the cost does not seem to have affected the tourist visiting Upper Mustang.

According to Santosh Sherchan, chief of ACAP, a total of 3,344 foreign tourists visited Lo Manthang in 2013. ´Despite all odds, we had scores of more tourists and we were able to earn revenue worth Rs 200 million,” said Sherchan, adding that there were many tourists who extended their stay by paying additional charges.

The number of tourist from France, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom and China increased after Upper Mustang was listed as one of the worlds´ best destination.
´Lonely Planet Travel Guide Book´ had listed Upper Mustang in the third position of the world´s top ten best destinations.

“Though the number of tourist increased, our expectation was much more as the area was listed in the third best destination in the world. However, strikes, political disturbances, Constituent Assembly (CA) election and fear of insecurity hindered the arrival of tourists,” said Khagendra Tulachan, president of Mustang Hotel Association of Nepal.

The scenic Himalayan range, traditional monasteries, caves and palaces built back in the middle ages, old houses, art and culture among others factors attract the tourist. Besides, they also visit the area for carrying out the research of traditional art and culture.

The ´controlled area´ was opened for foreign tourist only in 1992 and till date, the government has earned around Rs 2 billion from them, according to the District Development Committee. However, the locals complain that the government has hardly spent money for the development of the region.

´The government has earned millions of rupees and if some of the amount could be spent for the development of the region more tourists can be attracted,” said Tashi Bista, a youth advisor of Upper Mustang Youth Society.

Source & References

Pokharel, S. 2014. Unlike rest of Nepal, upper Mustang received more tourists in 2013. [online] 04 January. Available at: http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=67410 [Accessed: 5 Jan 2014].

 

See our top 15 picks in the Himalayas

Trekking in Everest region, with a view of Himalayas and Gokyo lake

Still waiting to get wanderlust adventure? We have got your adventure dream of the year in the Himalayas. Himalayan Glacier’s top 15 picks present this year’s must-trek adventures. Our top 15 picks cover cross-border trek of India, Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet. What could be your interest for travelling in the Himalayan region – cultural, recreational or adventure – our top picks garnish your dream of adventuring in this region. The adventure treks in the Himalayan region will be a once in a lifetime adventure in the company of inspiring and breathtaking scenery. See our top 15 picks to find yourself encircled by majestic vistas of eight-thousanders. Read More

Indian tourists flock to Mustang

At a time when the tourism industry is witnessing decline in tourist arrivals from other countries, Mustang district has witnessed a steady increase in the number of Indian tourists in recent years.

According to data provided by Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), over 12,000 Indian tourists visited Mustang area in recent years to worship at Muktinath temple, take a holy dip in Damodar Kunda and to observe the natural beauty of the region.

The increase in arrival of Indian tourists to the northern part of Nepal has also been facilitated by the construction of the 73-km Beni-Jomsom road.

Of the total 321,499 tourists visiting the Mustang region, the number of the Indian tourists is said to be at 12,144. In the current fiscal, more than 11,000 Indian tourists had visited the Mustang region by October, said ACAP Mustang tourist assistant Bel Pun. “Tourists come here mostly to trek and enjoy the mountains,” said Pun. According to Pun, unlike others, most Indian tourists visit Mustang with a religious motive — to pay obeisance at the shrine of Muktinath.

As per ACAP data, 2,976 tourists visited the region in the month of May alone. Keeping in view the tourists visiting the area, about 150 hotels are operating in places like Jomsom, Kagbeni, Muktinath, Lete and Marfa. “Most of the tourists come from India with a religious motive,” said Mustang Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairperson Khagendra Tulachan.

source: Himalayan Times, 06 NOV 2013

History mystery: Mysterious Caves in Nepal

Making discoveries on ancient findings can lead to a lot of speculations and excitement when confronted with it. There are a good number of manmade caves, 155 feet from the ground, hidden within the Himalayans, separated by the Kali Gandaki River, which are some of the world’s amazing mysteries, yet to be discovered. It is estimated that around 10,000 caves have been found in former Kingdom of Mustang in North Central Nepal, some of which have either been dug into the Cliffside or tunneled from above. While some sit by themselves, others are in groups of holes stacked eight or nine storey high on a vertical neighborhood. These caves seem to be thousands of years old and the unknown fact is yet a mystery, of why and by whom were they built. Being 155 feet above the valley floor, it is also unknown how people climbed into the caves at these heights. Some of them who have seen these mysterious caves relate that the effect of the cliff face makes it look like a giant sand castle with dozens of holes carved into the sandy colored cliff, hidden within the Himalayas in a large gorge and dwarfs the Grand Canyon.

In the mid 1990s, several groups made attempt to discover these mysterious caves and found some bodies which were at least 2000 years old and since then the adventure to these mysterious caves is still on. Adventurer photographers, Cory Richards, who was joined by climbers, Pete Athans, and archaeologists, Mark Ardenderfer, along with a team of explorers set out to unravel some of the mysteries to us with pictures and their own findings. They started their expedition, though it was not an easy task to climb the sky caves with the rocks being unstable and posing to be dangerous while climbing. They envisaged a few dangerous threats all along their expedition to these mysterious caves. As they began with their exploring process to get to know more on these mysterious caves, they faced a lot of challenges during the dangerous climb with loose rocks around them which were very scary. With these loose rocks around them they had a feeling of everything crumbling down during their expedition.

They also encountered a few mishaps and faced physical injuries during their climb which were at times unnerving, but they were determined and excited in making discoveries to unravel the hidden mysteries of these caves. Their exploration lead them to what seemed a 12th century village culture beneath the caves with amazing history to it having villages which they used to live in but now unfortunately forgotten. This intrigued and further excited them in making more headway in their exploration of these caves. On arrival at the caves it seemed to be grander and bigger than they had imagined and made them wonder how the people at that time accessed and got into these caves. As they began exploring they came across images of eroded mural on the walls of Ritseling Cave in Upper Mustang. This exploration took a good many years to unravel and to discover it. Moreover since the climb and access to these mysterious caves seemed a lot difficult than they had envisaged, they had to thread with caution and care, since Cory Richards had already encountered an injury when he had lost his footing and fell down breaking his back. In another, incident videographer Lincoln Else had also faced injuries when he was hit by a falling rock and fractured his skull. Their exploration in solving the mysteries of the caves kept them perplexed as to how the original inhabitants accessed into these caves without any signs of ascending of ropes, scaffolding or even steps, in any of the caves which were at a height of 155 feet above the ground.

Some of the caves which they found were empty though some showed signs of inhabitation with sleeping spaces, hearth, and grain storage bins, besides the murals related to Buddhist history together with calligraphic manuscripts. Mustang cliffs are gorgeous with the walls melting like wax under the intense heat of the sun, with the ridgelines eroded into wild shapes of bony fingers lending support to the colossal rocky basketballs and with towering tubes spread similar to an endless pipe organ. The most amazing thing about these rocks is that its color keeps changing as the day progresses encompassing it in shades of red and ocher and brown and grey. According to the Scientists, the caves in Upper Mustang have been divided in three periods, one as early as the 1000 BC, where the caves may have been used as burial chambers. Towards the 10th century, the region may have encountered frequent battles and hence for safety purpose rather than convenience the people of that time, moved into the caves making it their living quarters. By 1400s, the caves may then have been used as meditation chambers, storage units since the people had moved into village or even military lookouts.

source: Historum, 02 Sept, 2013