“Mustang is one of the few places in the Himalayan region that has been able to retain its traditional Tibetan culture unmolested… authentic Tibetan culture now survives only in exile and a few places like Mustang, which have had long historical and cultural ties with Tibet.” – The Dalai Lama.
Mustang – The Forbidden Kingdom, closed to westerners until 1992, is a fascinating and enchanted land of windblown mountains, red walled monasteries, and feudal towns. Connected to the commercially important Kali Gandaki valley Mustang is an ancient trade artery through the Himalaya dating back to the 1400’s. However the region is more significant for it’s contribution to Tibetan Buddhism, legend has it that the great founder of Tibetan Buddhism, Padmasambhava, who before building Samye (the oldest monastery in Tibet) came to Mustang to stand guard against and do battle with the evil powers out to destroy Buddhism. The temple of Lo Gekhar in eastern Mustang was built by Padmasambhava after his triumphant battle and still stands today.
Our trek rises up from the deepest natural river gorge in the world, over windswept passes and into the rain-shadow region behind the mighty Annapurna ranges to the ‘Plain of Aspirations’ and the walled capital city of Lo Manthang. Although the trail crosses stunning high altitude desert country there is still much wildlife to see – the endangered bharal (blue sheep), the elusive snow leopard, and the infamous yeti all call this land home! And then there are the mountain views too – Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulgiri and countless other soaring peaks. But it is the culture of Mustang and the ancient fort city of Lo Manthang, frozen in time that is our major goal. Our treks here are most popular during festival times – including the annual Tiji festival which is rarely visited by westerners.
|Accommodation||:||4 days hotel, 13 days camping.|
|Group Size||:||Min-2 Max-14|
|1||Arrival Kathmandu transfer to Hotel|
|3||Kathmandu - Pokhara|
|4||Pokhara – Jomson - Marpha|
|5||Marpha - Kagbeni|
|6||Kagbeni – Chele|
|7||Chele - Samar - Geling|
|8||Geling - Tsacharang|
|9||Tsacharang - Lo Manthang|
|12||Lo Manthang - Ghami via Lo Gekar|
|13||Ghami - Samar|
|14||Samar - Chhuksang|
|15||Chhuksang - Jomsom|
|16||Jomsom - Pokhara - Kathmandu|
Package price includes:
• All airline tickets and tax.
• Mustang permit and Annapurna conservation fees.
• All hotels in Kathmandu.
• Airport pickup and drove.
• All ground transportation.
• All staff wages and insurance.
• All the meal during the trek(Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)
• All camping equipments like tents, tables, chairs, mattresses, pillows, hot water bags and Kitchens crews
Package Price Excludes:
• Personal bar bill, travel insurance/ International airfare
• Items of personal expenses such as alcoholic drinks, cold drinks. laundry and tips etc
• Nepal entry visa fee
• Personal rescue if you need
#Note above day to day itinerary. May be change depending on weather and flight.
|1||Arrival Kathmandu transfer to Hotel||All day||1300||Easy|
|Meet with our representative at the airport. Drive to hotel.|
|Sightseeing Day see Kathmandu Day Trips for ideas of what to do.|
|3||Kathmandu - Pokhara||Drive 6 hours||960||Easy|
|Private or public transport to Pokhara.
Note that if you fly the afternoon is spent sightseeing. O/N at hotel.
|4||Pokhara – Jomson - Marpha||2 hrs||2710||Easy|
|A stunning flight between to 8,000m giant mountains (Annapurna and Dhaulagiri) to the rain-shadowed valley of Jomsom. We immediately begin our trek down the Kali Gandaki river bed to the beautiful stone village of Marpha, famous for its apple orchards which produce cider and brandy and the newly renovated Tibetan Gompa (monastery) - one of the few in Nepal to celebrate Mani Rimdu. Note that this is a slight diversion to assist with acclimitisation.|
|5||Marpha - Kagbeni||5 hours||2900||Easy|
|6||Kagbeni – Chele||7 hours||3030||Easy|
|After completing formalities at the nearby police check post we continue to follow the Kali Gandaki valley along a dusty trail that passes the occasional Chorten (Buddhist burial memorial) and Mani wall (Buddhist prayer stones). Our trail climbs away from the Kali Gandaki valley and the historic Mustang Gate signifies that we have entered the Tibetan culture of Lo. We soon reach our camp for the night at Chele beneath the brown, ochre and beige rocks of the surrounding mountains and the distant peaks of Nilgiri and Tilicho.|
|7||Chele - Samar - Geling||10 hours||3290||Easy|
|For the next two days we climb up and into the Land of Lo proper, crossing the Baga La (pass) to get there. The arid landscapes of the high Himalaya surround us, providing a surreal, mystical backdrop to the Chortens, Mani walls, yaks and mountain goats that we pass. Our camps in poplar groves, surrounded by fields of millet and barley provide an ideal opportunity to relax and sample the local butter tea and chang (home brew).|
|8||Geling - Tsacharang||8 hours||3650||Easy|
|Today we must cross two passes, the first Nyi La, offers dramatic views of ochre, beige, blue and steel-grey hills that loom over our trail. En route we pass the longest and most impressive Mani wall in Nepal before reaching our destination, Tsacharang, the ancient capital of Mustang, dominated by a huge white Dzong (fort) and Gompa. Feel free to explore, there are some gorgeous statues, thankas (silk paintings) and murals to discover.|
|9||Tsacharang - Lo Manthang||4 hours||3760||Easy|
|Just a short trek today, from Tsacharang our trail drops and then climbs a small ridge which offers us the first view of our fabled destination, Lo Monthang - a walled city nestled on the 'Plain of Aspiration'. Our approach passes many Chortens as well as caves used for meditation by Lamas (priests). The city itself has only one gateway, through which only the King may ride, all others must walk. We spend the afternoon exploring the 600 year old town which is crammed with about 150 houses and 3 of the most impressive Tibetan Gompas in Nepal.
The walled city of Lo Monthang was established as the capital of Lo by Raja Ame Pal in the 1380's. The people of Lo Monthang avoid building homes outside of the city walls believing that bad spirits will cause havoc in their households if they do. Such superstitions are maintained by the Lamas (priests) who circumambulate the city during festivals blessing the walls as they go. The current Raja, 'Lo Gyelbu', named Jigme Palbar Bista, fulfils a mainly ceremonial role when in residence although he is loved and respected throughout his Kingdom. It is said that he keeps some of the best horses in Mustang, Lhasa Apsos and some of the most ferocious Tibetan mastiffs. The Raja's palace is an imposing 4-story building in the centre of the city. It is the home of the present Raja, Jigme Palbar Bista, and the queen or Rani, who is from an aristocratic family of Lhasa.
|10||Lo Manthang||all day||3760||Easy|
|Our morning begins with an excursion to Gharphu Gompa in a valley to the east of Lo Monthang. The 2 hour walk takes us past the dramatic cave village of Chosar, a village on the Tibet trade route, and is dominated by the red Nyphu Gompa which is built into the rock face. On our return we visit Nyphu Gompa and then explore a couple of small tracks which lead up to great views of Lo Monthang - one of which is a ruined fortress! We return to Lo Monthang to continue our exploration of the city's many sights.
The tall Champa Lakhang ("Lakhang" translates as "god house") is said to date from the 1940's and is accessible only on the second story. The central courtyard with its carved wooden pillars has fallen into disrepair. Inside the temple is a huge painted clay statue of Maitreya, the future Buddha, sitting on a pedestal that occupies the entire ground floor. The walls are painted with elaborate mandalas, almost two metres in diameter, that are in marginally better condition than the paintings in Thugchen Gompa.
The red Thugchen Gompa which dominates Lo Monthang is near the centre of the city, a massive assembly hall supported by huge columns dating from the same period as Champa Lakhang. There are statues of Sakyamuni surrounded by Avaloketasvara, Vaisravana (the god of wealth) and Padmasambhava. One wall of the temple is completely destroyed; on the other walls are intricate frescoes in various stages of deterioration. The entrance hall contains huge scowling statues of four Lokapala, the protectors of the cardinal points of compass.
The other two temples are within the monastic quarter, which is the domain of several large growling Tibetan Mastiffs. Secure the services of a monk before you even attempt to enter this part of the city. The main temple is the Chyodi Gompa, which contains dozens of beautifully crafted small bronze, brass and copper statues, many said to have been cast in Lo Manthang itself. The monks prohibit taking photographs of these statues in an apparent bid to limit interest in them among collectors of stolen art. Nearby is the older assembly hall, which contains little else than the images of the three Sakyapa Lamas.
|11||Lo Manthang||7 hours||3510||Easy|
|Our day begins with another excursion, taking a trail that leads from the northerly corner of the city wall a track leads off to the western valley. We first climb up to the new and busy Namgyal Gompa (Monastery of Victory) set atop a desolate ridge. We then drop back to the main trail and head up to the Raja's summer palace at Tingkhar and the Kimaling and Phuwa Gompas. We return to Lo Monthang in the afternoon to finish visiting the main sights, or revisiting our favourite places.|
|12||Lo Manthang - Ghami via Lo Gekar||7 hours||4070||Moderate|
|Tsethang is Tibet's third largest city and legend has it that the nearby Yarlung Valley is the cradle of the Tibetan civilisation. According to tradition, the first king descended from heaven and lived in the Yumbu Lagang, an eerie mediaeval castle reputed to be the oldest building in Tibet. The surrounding fertile valley is a beautiful back-drop to this fascinating region and if we have time we will try to get to Samye, Tibet's first monastery across the river.|
|13||Ghami - Samar||7 hours||3700||Easy|
|Our day begins by crossing a minor pass into the Geling valley - we have now completed a small circuit in the Land of Lo. We now descend to Samar following our initial route.|
|14||Samar - Chhuksang||6 hours||2900||Easy|
|After so long at altitude we seem to float down the trail that takes back to the Kali Gandaki valley.|
|15||Chhuksang - Jomsom||3 hours||2700||Easy|
|Back down to the police check post at Kagbeni and our exit from the Land of Lo. It has been a magical trip in an ancient and mystical land - tonight we reminisce and party!|
|16||Jomsom - Pokhara - Kathmandu||all day||1300||Easy|
|Another spectacular flight through the Kali Gandaki valley to Pokhara and then on to Kathmandu.|
|Final Day end of trek debrief and departure.|