Facts about Upper Mustang, Nepal

Upper Mustang is a restricted trekking area of Nepal located in the Northern part of Nepal. Trekking to Upper Mustang is similar to tour in Tibet, as geographically it is a part of Tibetan plateau. Mustang was only open for visitors after 1992. Before visitors were not allowed to enter the forbidden kingdom of Mustang. The area is perfect destination for generous scope is offered for visiting Buddhist Monasteries.

The most convenient way to get to Upper Mustang, is to fly from Pokhara to Jomsom and start the trek from there. The flight is attractive in itself, flying through the deepest gorge in the world, between the Dhaulagiri and the Nilgiri. The trail follows the famous Kali Gandaki river upstream to Kagbeni. From Kagbeni the restricted area of Upper Mustang starts. Here are some interesting facts about Upper Mustang, Nepal.

History

Mustang was formerly the Kingdom of Lo in northern Nepal, with its capital at Lo Manthang. At the end of the 18th century, the kingdom was annexed by Nepal. Upper Mustang was a restricted demilitarized area until 1992, which makes it one of the most preserved regions in the world due to its relative isolation from the outside world, with a majority of the population still speaking traditional Tibetian languages. The monarchy in Mustang ceased to exist on October 7, 2008, by order of the Government of Nepal, after Nepal became a federal democratic republic.

Climate

Upper Mustang has a trans-Himalayan climate which is cool and semi-arid with precipitation in the range of 250–400 mm (9.8–15.7 in). It is in the rain shadow of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges.

The Day and Night Temperature in Upper Mustang according to the months is shown below:

Month Day Temperature Night Temperature
December, January, February 0 to 5 degree Centigrade32 to 41 degree Fahrenheit -25 to -20 degree Centigrade-13 to -4 degree Fahrenheit
March, April, May, June 16 to 22 degree Centigrade61 to 72 degree Fahrenheit -6 to -2 degree Centigrade21 to 28 degree Fahrenheit
July, August, September 20 to 33 degree Centigrade68 to 73 degree Fahrenheit -3 to 0 degree Centigrade27 to 32 degree Fahrenheit
October, November 12 to 20 degree Centigrade54 to 68 degree Fahrenheit -8 to -4 degree Centigrade18 to 25 degree Fahrenheit

10 facts about Upper Mustang:

  1. Mustang was a lost kingdom of Tibet and although it is now part of Nepal now, traditions and cultures remain purely Tibetan. From the 15th century to the 17th century, its strategic location granted Mustang control over the trade between the Himalayas and India. At the end of the 18th century the kingdom was annexed by Nepal. Most tourists travel by foot over largely the same trade route used in the 15th century.
  2. Residing in the rain shadow of the Dhaulagiri, life in Mustang revolves around tourism, animal husbandry and trade.
  3. The administrative centre of Mustang is at Jomsom which has had an airport since 1962 and has become the main tourist entry point since Mustang was opened to western tourists in 1992.
  4. The biodiversity of the region – entire hillsides swiped with pink and red rhododendron forests bursting with birdsong.
  5. Cultural trails in the region take into the homes of Gurungs in the lowlands, the hospitality of Thakalis around Jomsom, Manangis in the east and Tibetans in the arid north.
  6. The mystical ‘Kingdom of Lo’ or Upper Mustang, the last example of living Tibetan culture in Nepal, used to be part of the Tibetan empire, and is therefore closely related to Tibet. Tibetan Buddhism is still being practiced in a very pure form and villages are built in Tibetan style even today.
  7. Lo Mangtang is a medieval town, surrounded by a huge town wall. Entering Lo Mangtang leads into a different world. In Lo Mangtang, travelers can find the palace of the king, a huge 4 story high building. Besides, there are a few beautiful big monasteries, for example the Thugchen Gompa, built in the 15th century.
  8. Upper Mustang trek offers a chance to explore the thousand years of old monastery, caves, local tribes and scenic beauties of the different landscapes.
  9. The trek to Upper Mustang passes through an almost tree-less barren landscape, a steep rocky trail up and down hill and panoramic views of Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and several other peaks.
  10. Another attraction of Mustang region is the Tiji Festival influenced by Tibetan Buddhism. The Mustagi people have their own way of family life, which is quite surprising for many outsiders. All the brothers in the family are married to a single girl, what you may call a practice of polyandry.