The Upper Mustang trek can also be called a peek into the hidden world of Buddhist kingdom of Mustang, also called Lo. Lo used to be a part of the Tibetan empire, and is therefore very closely related to Tibet; not only the culture, also the landscape is very much related to Tibet. Surrounded by rocks in all kinds of colors and bizarre formations, Mustang is mostly a barren landscape where the villages with their bright colored fields are like Oasis in the deserts. Mustang lies in the shadow of the Dhaulagiri region and is a complete desolate landscape. The culture of the people living there is one of the major attractions for tourists and visitors alike.
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We were very close to the Annapurna range and the base camp, so for that day we definitely had to ascend more. We gradually started climbing the upward hill. The rhododendron trees were making the forest so beautiful with its red and pink flowers. In less than an hour of easy walk we reached a place equipped with a helipad named Himalaya. Whoever gets to this place will wonder why this place was named 'Himalaya' because you can't actually see Himalaya (mountains) from there. We continued from there approaching Deurali and the trail went up, which was bumpy; you sometimes had to jump over big stones. The whole area was completely covered with the clouds making us unaware of backgrounds. We took it positively for not having any distractions from the beauty of the Himalayas. We pass by the Hinku Cave, a shelter point naturally made of big stones. As we neared to Deurali, we saw some houses with blue roofs and the trail became flat; we walked over the thick and hard glacier with water gushing underneath in some sections though.
We started our 10-day trek in the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal and every day we steadily moved higher, every day edging closer to the mountains we had come to find, each day better than the last. We followed a valley wedged between a cliff and a drop into the river. We went through villages with groups of shy children acting as toll merchants demanding sweets, chocolates, school pens or balloons. We crossed suspension bridges every day, always swaying and bouncing. We kept going, pushing on and upwards getting glimpses of looming snow-covered mountains in the far-off distance. Halfway to the pass we climbed through small forests with the red colors of rhododendron bushes bursting through the green. The air felt cooler than before and soon the forest thinned out, the terrain became barren and we ventured higher into the mountains. The changes were an encouraging sign of progress. The conversations also turned from excitement to philosophy. Traveling through such calm solitudes, so far removed from the tensions of civilization, clarity and hopefulness pervaded our thinking. We all seemed to be overwhelmed with grandiose ideas for the future. Our thoughts seemed to reflect the magnificent mountains we were passing through. We walked together and we walked alone, talking a little but simply content to be moving and making our way. We ambled up and up. The only thing we needed to do was to keep moving, not necessarily at a fast pace but just keep moving. Then we neared the pass and a completely new challenge. After three hours of solo toil, we came upon other hikers who were feeling sick and nauseous and moving very slowly, even slower than me. We rested for a while, dicussing the view and our inability to appreciate it in our fatigued states. We set off again, the climb was not as steep as before but we walked at a crawling pace for the next few hours up and over small hills.
Mustang District Court
Explore upper Mustang Trek. is the trek to Lo-Mangthang (Upper Mustang trek). The trek to this region is to explore Tibetan villages in Nepalese border. These ancient Tibetan villages have unspoiled Buddhist culture. The region is also famous for medieval art in Buddhist monasteries. Upper Mustang, the capital of Lo-Mangthang is attractive for exploring beautiful Himalayan deserts in high altitude. Lo Mangthang lies behind the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna mountains which is very near with Tibet therefore practices Tibetan culture and lifestyle. Lo Mangthang was opened to explore after 1992 where there are various specialties hidden as mysteries. The land is windy and barren extended Tibetan plateau which has rocky formations with eroded canyons. Lo Mangthang (Upper Mustang) people are of Tibetan origin Bhotias and Loba communities. They follow Tibetan life style and cultural practices. These people follow Sakyapa Buddhism which is Tibetan-rooted. They celebrate festivals based on religion; among them Tiji Festival is the most important. The population of this region is more than 6000 in an area of 2600sq. km. which is still being ruled by a king locally. The houses and monasteries are made up of stone or sun baked mud bricks. The monasteries have medieval looks with historical importance. The Exploration Mustang Trek is interesting trekking to Mustang region along the Kali Gandaki River. The trail follows Kali Gandaki to the top of Lo Mangthang with different opportunities to explore ancient settlements of Kagbeni, passing through the world’s deepest river gorge in kali Gandaki River and to Tibetan untouched villages of Lo Mangthang. The region is not disturbed by modern world development as it has preserved its culture in art and traditions. Exploration Mustang Trek is challenging trek to high Himalayan desert. It offers different insights about the region such as historical, cultural and so on. Trekking in this region is worthwhile for those who want to gain knowledge through travelling and seeking adventure journey.
Where: NepalSituated in Lower Mustang of the Mustang district in northern Nepal, Marpha is a gem of the Kali Gandaki Valley that falls in the Annapurna Conservation Region. After the trading routes with Tibet and China closed, Marpha left its salt transactions and replaced it apple! Now, this idyllic village is known as the apple capital of Nepal. But despite falling en route to one of the most popular treks in the Himalayas, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Marpha has maintained its cultural sanctity. The modern facilities of hot-baths and apple pies never overpowers the dedication of Thakkali people to their tradition. If you have been in search for an old-school hideaway somewhere in the Himalayas, but with WiFi, then Marpha is the place to be.
I visited this temple on December 18, 2014. It was a very short visit - hardly 20 minutes or little less as I had the flight to catch. There was some preparations going on for some event- I guess as people were raising large tents. I am a photographer so wanted to be there for the prayers and capture those special moments when people offer their devotion to Buddha! I myself wanted to meditate here! I missed it all. I plan to visit McLeod in a couple years. That time I will spend time here & do what I really wanted to do. Go visit this place, people. This is a serious place to experience peace & devotion & not where you go have fun. Please respect the environment & you will love it.