Published Date :05 Apr, 2017
Located at western Nepal beyond two massive Himalayas above 8000m, Mustang is truely a hidden kingdom of Nepal. Mustang district can roughly be divided into two parts. The northern part is upper mustang and southern part is called Thak, with Thakali inhabitants. Upper Mustang was formerly named as kingdom of Lo and was an independent kingdom. Upper mustang was only declared as the part of Nepal on mid 20th century. Mustang was a sovereign kingdom until 2008 and the last official king of Mustang was Jigme Palmar Bista who passed away on 2016.
Mustang is a picturesque location insulated from the outside influence. The detached location behind the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna Massif was officially opened on 1992 for foreign visitors. The number of visitor is controlled and limited permits are issued to foreign tourist. The traditional Tibetan culture is remained intact in the forbidden kingdom of Mustang. The refreshing and semi-arid topography is identical to Tibet. Lo Manthang is the capital of Mustang. The pathway to Lo Manthang passes through several religious statues, chortens and ancient monasteries decorated with praying flags. Gandaki River flows through Mustang towards the low land of Terai and then to India. The river used to be the ancient salt trade route between the Himalayas and India. Mustang has plenty of ancient and historical places like Lomanthang, Muktinath and Kagbeni. Muktinath is the holy pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Buddhists. Kaligandaki River is famous for having fossilized shell ‘Shaligram’ which is worshipped and idolized as god in Hindu culture. The practice of sky burial (feeding the dead body to the vultures) by Tibetan culture can still be seen in some parts of Upper Mustang.
Mustang is mainly inhabited by Gurung, Thakali and Tibetan. Tibetan language is widely spoken in Upper mustang. Animal rearing, trade and tourism are the major source of income for Mustang. People often migrate to low lands during winter for trade and shelter since the weather is extreme and is unfavorable for survival. Apart from the difficult land structure for cultivation Mustang is gifted with amazing landscapes with beautiful canyons, ridges, green valleys, ruins of forts, ancient caves and pristine territory. The hidden valley of Mustang receives many local and limited foreign visitors annually.