Group Size: 1-12 Pax
Max Altitude: 4,325m (14,190ft) at Chogo La
Fitness Level: Moderate
Duration: 18 Days
Best Season: March-May & Sep- Nov
Trip Cost: $1650 USD
Group Size: 1-12 Pax
Max Altitude: 4,325m (14,190ft) at Chogo La
Fitness Level: Moderate
Duration: 18 Days
Best Season: March-May & Sep- Nov
Trip Cost: $1650 USD
Upper Mustang is a sacred area of Nepal’s Mustang District situated in the other hidden side of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Himalayan ranges. This area is used to be a Kingdom of Bhote/Thakali community until Nepal is declared a newest secular and Republican Country in 2008. Lo Manthang was the capital of Ex. Mustang Kingdom. Mustang is divided into two parts saying Upper Mustang and Lower Mustang.
The lower part of mustang is open to everyone for normal tour and trekking to Muktinath, Jomsom and Annapurna circuit. However, Upper Mustang is known as restrict area of trekking. To get a permit to trek Upper Mustang you need to apply for a special permit with the Government of Nepal, Ministry of Home, Immigration department paying minimum of US$ 500.00 per person for 10 days and 2 persons group size.
The area is restricted because the historical and religious monuments and the natural and geographical diversity are supposed to be protected as their importance is more essential for the nation. Actual Adventure Pvt. Ltd had organized several Teahouses and group camping trekking in the Upper Mustang Area which lies in the North West part of Western Region in Nepal beginning from Pokhara-Jomsom flight or overland Journey by 4wd.
Upper Mustang trekking can be organized both of Tea house and Camping trek. On a camping trek, Actual Adventure Pvt.Ltd arranges you to sleep in tents. Our staff includes a guide, cook, Sherpa and sufficient porters/mules to carry all your trekking gear. Even if you have never camped before, there is no need to worry that you won’t enjoy the experience. The tents we provide are roomy, the sleeping pads/mattresses are comfortable and international style food of a high standard freshly prepared and served in the camp. On all of our camping treks, Actual Adventure Private Limited manages a bathroom tent as well as a dining tent with tables and camp stools, providing a cozy, comfortable atmosphere to eat and chat with fellow trekkers during each evening.
Lo Manthang was founded in about 1450 by the son of the legendary Ame Pal, who conquered and united the small kingdoms in upper Mustang. The high wall, 300m long by 150m wide, in an ‘L’ shape, has safeguarded the town from warriors, bandits and fierce winds for hundreds of years and archaeologists say the fact that the wall has not been extended is proof that this community has remained largely unchanged for the last 500 years. In the town Lo Manthang, around 1200 people live in about 150 houses, connected by narrow alleyways. Most of the houses are two-storeyed, with the bigger buildings being monasteries or palaces. There are some chortens in front of the main gate, and after these the first building we see is the 40 feet high king’s palace. There are three monasteries in Lo Manthang, but monks are only resident in the newest, Chode Lhakhang, which is about 200 years old and offers secular as well as Buddhist teachings. The other two monasteries are no longer used, but are looked after by different families, who share the duties of changing the water each morning and lighting the butter-lamps when night falls. Many people here protect their homes from evil spirits by hanging ‘ghost traps’ over their doors. These are decorated goat skulls with pieces of string knotted around. The landscape around Lo Manthang is jigsaw-like in its diversity, being composed of valleys, canyons, plains, snow-topped mountains and rivers, with the ancient city as the centerpiece.
Village life lo manthang
Despite the apparent squalor of lo manthang. The city is prosperous and themselves lobas (people from lo), they are very much tibetan and have a sophisticaled culture and economy. Before trade with tibet was disrupted, all the salt and wood trade on the kali dandaki passed through Lo manthang, and this brought a sizeable amout of money to the city. wealth is now primarly measured in land, hourse and social standing.
The doors of most houses open onto a two- storey open central courytard. the ground floor is used for storage of food horse trappings, a pile of dung for flue, and fram implement. A wooden staircase leads of the first storey, which typically has a balcony overlooking the courtyard and doons leadings off to living rooms and the kitchen. A notched log leads to the roof, which is surrounded by huge stacks of juniper twigs and firewood. house, use for relaxing or working in the sun. Adorning the roofs of most houses are the horns of sheep and yak and, on the places horns of shou (an extinct species also known as sikkim stag) that are over 100 years old.
Virtually every house has an indoor toilet on the upper floor that drops into a ground -floor chamber. Ashes from the hearthare dumped into the toilet to eliminate the smell, and the resulting product is a nutritive, not -unpleasant fertiliser. The stoves used in Lo Manthang are of the special design. They are a threee -armed affair with a 30cm -high burning chamber that roars like a volcano when fed with yak dung and goat droppings. People rarely burn the wood on the roof for cooking’ it is there largely as a snow of weather and for ceremonial occasions.
Lo Gekar Monastary
A small creek flows down the other side of the pass and a welcome change; we begin to see grass, flowers and bushes. Soon the monastery of Lo Gekar, one of the oldest and most important in Mustang, appears. It was here that the first of the hidden scriptures of Padmasambhava were discovered (he hid his teachings in many different places in the Himalayas, to ensure that they were safe when the times were dangerous for the survival of Buddhism). In the anteroom of the monastery are tiles depicting Buddha Sakyamuni and Bodhisattwas. The Gonkhang is illuminated by dozens of butter-lamps, which enhance the statues, including images of Padmasambhava and the Yoginis Yeshe Tshogyal and Mandarava. In a small room to the left are more beautiful figures, including a Green Tara.
The Gompa in Tsarang is a massive structure on a small hill with glaciers visible behind. In former times several hundred monks lived here. Now there are only about 50, but most are not resident. Though imposing from the outside, the Gompa is running to ruin and many rooms are unusable. There are some fine paintings in the assembly hall, as well as Thangkas and statues. The other main landmark here is the king’s palace, which too has fallen into disrepair, having not been used for half a century. The only two rooms remaining in good condition are the Gonkhang and the chapel, which has some fine statues, including ‘The Three Holies’, figures who played an important part in Mustang’s early history, and Tibetan books. In the Gonkhang, or room of the protectors, above, is a stuffed snow leopard, some old weapons and armor and an infamous severed hand. There are three popular theories about the hand that it was the hand of a thief (severing the right hand was the typical punishment for a second thieving offence), that a monk offered his hand as a sacrifice, and that it was cut from the architect of the dzong, to prevent him creating a similar building anywhere else.
A victory celebration
Travelling is not only about how far you go; it’s also about how much you know. While in Nepal, go to the Himalayas; learn about the Himalayas people, their culture, food, attire and their festivals. The culture and traditions of Nepalis in the high Himalayas is quite similar to that of Tibet. The unrolling of thangka and the mask dance are common culture practice in Nepal Himalayas as well as Tibet.
Tiji festival, celebrate in-manthang of Upper Mustang region of Nepal, is one of the most popular festivals in the Nepal Himalayas. Once a forbidden kingdom, Lo-Manthang is now a village Development Committee in Mustang District. The festival is celebrated in May or June. The festival was started by King Samduk Radben in the 17th Century to celebrate the victory of Lord Buddha’s incarnation, Dorje Sonnu, over a demon called Man Tam Ru—a vicious creature that consumed human flesh. This festival is celebrated for three days where lamas offer prayers for world peace and also for overcoming any obstacles in the future.
The first day of festival is marked to represent the harassment done by Man tam Ru through a dance called Tsa Chham. Draped in their tradition attire, Lamas Choedhe Monastery performs this unique dance. Similarly, on the second day of the festival, Lamas perform a dance called Nga Chham, portraying the birth of dorje Sonnu, an incretion of Lord Buddha, as a son of the demon. The traditions dance on the third day of the festival respiration an attempt to return the kingdom to Lord Buddha from the demon’s hand. The Lamas chant prayers and perform almost 50 sperate religious dances to chase demons from Lo manthang. They are followed by the masked demons swinging wooden sword widely toward the terrified specters. Lamas use ancient musket to fire an arrow to the red demon made of tiger skin. Five more demons are thrown into the sand to signify that the city has got rid of the demons.
Tiji festival is being celebrated in Manthang from May 23 to 25 years.
Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu-Transfer to Hotel.
Day 02: Kathmandu Sightseeing and Trek Preparation.
Day 03: Kathmandu to Pokhara overland Journey.
Day 04: Transfer to airport fly to Jomsom and trek to Kagbeni.
Day 05: Trekking from Kagbeni to Chaile.
Day 06: Trekking from Chaile to Shyangboche.
Day 07: Trekking from Shyangboche to Ghami.
Day 08: Trekking from Ghami to Tsarang.
Day 09 – 10: Trekking from Tsarang to Lo Manthang and Explore.
Day 10: Rest Day
Day 11: Trekking from Lo Manthang to Tamar.
Day 12: Trekking from Tamar to Shyangboche.
Day 13: Trekking from Shyangboche to Tetang.
Day 14: Trekking from Tetang to Muktinath.
Day 15: Trekking from Muktinath to Jomsom.
Day 16: Fly from Jomsom to Pokhara transfer to Hotel and Explore Pokhara.
Day 17: Tourist Bus Journey or Fly back from Pokhara to Kathmandu.
Day 18: Final Departure to your port of Destination.
3 Hours Before Flight Time
Welcome assistance by Actual Adventure representative at the Tribhuvan International Airport and transfer to hotel in Kathmandu, rest at the hotel and briefing about the trip. Overnight accommodation is set with BB Plan.
Today after breakfast we will start a guided tour to several of the most historical and spiritual attractions in Kathmandu. Some of these landmarks are considered World Heritage Sites; including the historic Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square, the sacred Hindu temple of Pashupatinath, the famous ‘Monkey Temple’ (Swoyambhunath) and Buddhists shrine Bouddhanath the large Stupa within the world. Briefing regarding the trek with two way question answer with the trip leader (The Guide). The overnight accommodation is in the same hotel BB Plan.
Assist by guide to transfer from Hotel to Tourist Bus Departure place at 0600 Hrs and about 6 hours journey toward Pokhara where overnight accommodation with BB Plan is arranged.
Our guide assists you to transfer from Pokhara Airport to fly for Jomsom. This scenic adventurous flight takes about 20-25 minutes passing through the world’s deepest George presenting spectacular mountain views of Mt. Dhaulagiri, Annapurna Ranges and Fishtail with several famous peaks within the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri area from its both sides. The airstrip is in Jomsom, the main village in the Kali Gandaki valley. Jomsom is the beginning point of our trek. After landing here we start our trek toward Kagbeni which takes about 3-4 hours walk. Kagbeni is also the checkpoint for entrance to restricted Upper Mustang Trekking. We can enjoy the majestic view of Mt. Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri and Tukuche peak while walking the trail in the opposite direction. Your overnight accommodation is set here in tented camp/tea house/Lodge.
After the formalities of showing your restricted area trekking permit in Kagbeni we start our trekking early because in Mustang there is heavy wind which gets up later in the day, blowing dust and sand around. In the route we can see Nilgiri glowing orange in the first rays of the sun. We take the western route, following the east bank of the river until we reach the end of a broad valley Chuksang, where we cross the Kali Gandaki. After Kagbeni, the trail climbs up, giving us a good view of the village, the valley and Nilgiri. At first the path follows the river closely and later it leads eastwards to flat, dry, desert-like
land. Here the scenery is amazing and very characteristic of Mustang with red sandstone pillars and rock formations with fantastic forms and colors, formed by thousands of years of erosion. The first main village we reach, Tangbe, has red and whitewashed houses and on the other side of the river from here are caves, perched high in a vertical wall, which were believed as habitations in previous times. Chaile appears as a small white dot at the end of the canyon. The trail towards here descends gradually to the river-bed – this area is well-known for its fossils. The wide valley ends abruptly at a vertical cliff and a bridge crosses the Kali Gandaki, which flows through a natural tunnel in the cliff. The valley narrows further north and a steep trail leads us up to Chaile, which is a small town with good views towards the Himalayan ranges. Our tented camp or tea house accommodation is set here in Chaile for today.
Today’s trek begins with a steep climb as we follow the trail westwards and when we see Ghyakar on the opposite side of a deep canyon the trail turns right, following the gorge. Running high up above the path is gouged out of the rock and descends in an almost sheer drop for more than 100 meters. After about one hour we are on a pass offering a good view towards Samar, the Kali Gandaki valley and snow-capped peaks in the distance. After Samar we cross a side-valley, descending to its base and crossing over a creek, before we trek all the way up again on the other side. About two hours from Samar is a red painted cave monastery, which looks as if it has been stuck on to the vertical wall. This is Rangchyung chorten, one of the most sacred places in Mustang. The name means ‘the chorten that formed itself’, because inside are two large stalagmites in a chorten-like formation. Two famous Buddhist teachers, Padmasambhava and Atisha stayed in this cave centuries ago. There are prayer flags on the ceiling and pilgrims have left small clay figures inside.
The trail goes through a forest of small trees and green bushes which are able to survive in the narrow gorge because the high vertical walls keep them cool and sufficiently moist. Soon the valley broadens out and we can see walls built in front of caves which are temporary homes for the herders whose animals graze here. Sometimes it is possible to see the rare blue mountain sheep in this area. The walk to Shyangboche can seem never-ending. It is fairly easy, but a constant climb with the destination nowhere in sight, until, finally, a cluster of houses appears. It is much colder in Shyangboche, the overnight halt for us today.
Within 15 minutes of the start of today’s trek we have already negotiated the first of today’s three high passes, Yanda La, and passed a distinctive red chorten painted with Buddhism’s eight auspicious symbols. A terraced valley with groups of yellowish trees appears and above the village of Ghelung are two red Gompas. Unlike other villages in Mustang, where the houses are built close together and look fortress-like, Ghelung is spread out wide on a patch of green grass and gives the impression of being a fairly affluent little community. Rising above the village are barren, brown hills and we can see the Nyi La pass straight ahead. The path descends gradually towards the Ghami La pass and on the way we see a rundown, deserted village downstream. By now the landscape is even more rugged – a deep riverbed has staked its way down from the red cliffs and immediately ahead are hills which have the outline and colour of enormous sand-dunes. Another broad valley comes in from the left-hand side and in its centre is Ghami, Mustang’s third largest town, which is high above the river and surrounded by fields.
Outside Ghami we see what is Mustang’s longest Mani wall – approximately 1000m long and decorated with simple carvings, blending in well with the surrounding scenery. There is also a group of chortens standing in front of the red wall which forms the end of the valley. Again, the architecture here is like an organic extension of nature. According to legend when the famous Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) came to the area and fought and destroyed a demon, its intestines landed at the site where the Mani wall stands, its lungs near the red cliffs behind and its heart at the spot where Mustang’s oldest monastery, Lo Gekar, was built. A steady climb takes us up a 3820m pass, after which a lunar-looking desert stretches to the horizon. There is no sign of vegetation or human life here, only barren hill after barren hill with the same distinctively creepy beauty. The first indication of human presence we see next is the Tsarang chorten – the large red-painted Stupa is in the middle of the landscape and further down the monastery and the palace of Tsarang can be distinguished in the fields. A broad road leads to Tsarang, Mustang’s second town, with around 1000 inhabitants.
Today’s trekking begins on flat terrain and the view, apart from a chorten and a few caves, is unrelieved barrenness. After crossing a pass and waking through two rocks forming a natural gate we have finally arrived at Lo Manthang.
We walk up through pastures studded with juniper, and have the chance to look back at Lo Manthang. Our return route is on the same side of the Kali Gandaki, because the eastern part is even less inhabited, more strenuous for walking and drinking water can be hard to find. Gradually we say goodbye to the Lo Manthang plain (sometimes known as ‘The Plain of Prayers’) and after about two hours there is no sign at all that such a gem of a city is concealed in one of those rocky valleys. In front of us the mass of the Himalayas reappears and we negotiate the highest pass, Lugri La (4200m).
Leaving the monastery, we have a short but steep walk down the yellow canyon to Tamar, seeing fields in the southern and western part of the valley and large red vertical cliffs in the North West. After our time in such very barren landscape with little in the way of color contrasts, the combination of red rock, blue sky, green grass and white yaks seems very intense!
Above the village are numerous caves, but their entrances are only accessible to rock climbers. At the entrance to the canyon is an unusual looking chorten – the top looks like a bush because of the hundreds of prayer flags woven into it. Around the chorten are hundreds of erected stones.
With Nilgiri visible again, we walk past more caves on our way south and then there is a gradual hill climb bringing us above Ghami, where we can see the town, the long Mani wall and the pass we climbed five days ago! There are two more passes to cross and splendid views of the Annapurna range. Next we reach Jamyung, at the fork between Ghelung and Shyangboche. We can detour to Ghelung, with two Gompas built above the village and a small but fine monastery. Later we rejoin the regular trekking path to Shyangboche.
The direct trail to Samar runs high above the canyons and with each side valley we cross, the Annapurna range appears closer and closer. Parts of this section of the trek are quite tough-going, because of the gorges, but the compensation is the brilliant views of Tilicho and Nilgiri. As the mountains start to appear higher and higher and the vegetation increases there is also a great contrast with the walls of ice. Such subtle variations in color after the ‘moonscape’ bleakness are a refreshing change. We cross two deep valleys before taking a lunch break at Samar and then the second part of the day is a relatively easy downhill walk. When Gyakar appears, the route becomes more spectacular, running high above the gorge. We can take a break in Chaile and then we arrive at the riverbed of the Kali Gandaki region –and reach Chuksang. Although we are on the same route we hiked along a few days earlier, it will probably feel like much longer ago, the sense of time seems to change when trekking! Soon we are at Tetang’s mani wall and beautiful chorten, which has two of the auspicious symbols painted on each side.
After an early start we have a good view of the village of Tetang, which consists of two separate settlements surrounded by high walls and from a distance looks like a large fort. The ascent to a plateau is steep and the trail here can be rather difficult to locate. There is an easy walk over a plain, after which comes about three hours of steep walking uphill, with the narrow trail getting precipitous at times, with loose black gravel. After ascending high in the valley the trail makes a right turn and the pass becomes visible above. At the pass, the mountains seem amazingly close, with Thorung, although the lowest peak, looking particularly impressive, having large glaciers clinging to its steep flanks. Tilicho is covered by snow with indented glaciers, while the summit of Annapurna further back does not actually seem as high as its 8000m +. Even Nilgiri’s almost sheer north face is also covered by glaciers.
It is a moderate walk down to Muktinath, with stunning views of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna. Their summits are only 34km apart, which accounts for the tremendous depth of the Kali Gandaki valley. Getting to Muktinath involves crossing another valley, which takes some time. The sporadic houses start to become more numerous as we get nearer Muktinath. There are 108 springs which have their source in or around Muktinath and bathing here is believed to bring good luck. Many people also collect the spring water in bottles to take home to relatives. Also at Muktinath is the legendary flame coming out of a rock, around which a Buddhist temple has been created.
As we begin the final day’s hiking, Dhaulagiri glows orange and the yellow in the early morning sun. Today we take a side trip to the Bon Punt soling monastery in Lubra, before returning to Jomsom for the flight back to Pokhara. The trail is rather sporadic. From a small hill the views of Muktinath are good and it is plain that much of the valley is used for agriculture. We soon reach the Panga Khola valley and the track follows the course of the river, but high upstream. We have to cross the river and walk downstream on the other side, which seems like a major detour but is necessitated by the steep cliffs further down.
After a steep ascent and descent we come to an area of pine forest – a surprising change of scenery! We are high above the river again and must cross two bigger side-valleys on the way downstream. Eventually we come to some fenced-in fields and a garden with apple trees, near Lubra’s village school. The settlement of Lubra consists of about 20 houses near a bend in the river and was founded in connection with the establishment of the Bon Punt soling monastery in the 12th century. This is one of the very few Bon monasteries remaining in Nepal. Bon was the predominant religion in Tibet before the spread of Buddhism and is also called the fifth tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. In the monastery are pictures of four Lokapalas and Buddha Shakyamuni. Bags of masks hang from the ceiling. It is still the tradition today that the head member of Lubra’s nine major families automatically becomes a priest.
After Lubra, the trail leads to the Kali Gandaki and we have to leap across the river Panga a couple of times! At the confluence of the two rivers we join the caravan of tourists going to Jomsom.
We take early morning 20min flight from Jomsom to Pokhara; we transfer you to the Hotel there in Bb Plan. The day we give you chance for exploring the beautiful valley Pokhara with its Natural and cultural beauty.
After having breakfast your trip starts by drive back from Pokhara to Katmandu by tourist Coach about 6 hours driving (or take a short 30 minute flight) and overnight is arranged in Kathmandu as per agreed category with BB Plan. At evening Actual Adventure invites you to join in a fare well dinner in a typical Nepalese cultural restaurant.
We are saying good bye as your journey to Nepal comes to an end today! There is nothing to do but trade emails with travel companions and organize photos. If you have more time you can do some shopping or sightseeing. Approximately 3-4 hours before your scheduled flight a representative from Actual Adventure Private Limited will take you to the airport. On your way home you’ll have plenty of time to plan your next adventure in the wonderful country of Nepal.