The ancient kingdom of Mustang (Northern Nepal) is home to some of the rarest culture, traditions and artifacts in the whole of South Asia. Predominantly Buddhist, the small population of Mustang here were once the followers of ancient Bon Religion.
It was once an independent kingdom. It was annexed to mainland Nepal only in the 18th Century. Also known as “The Forbidden City,” access for foreigners to enter the region was permitted only in 1992, however the inflow of foreign tourists is still tightly regulated by the officials.
Because of the conservative nature, the inhabitants of Mustang are greatly inclined towards protecting ancient traditions from diminishing, and cultural preservation is highly practiced by all.
Sneak-peek into Mustang
The reddish cliffs of the Upper Mustang consist of the human-made caves which lie at about 13,800′ (4,200 meters). The experts while uncovering the caves found human corpses dating 1,500 years back. It is believed it to be an ancient burial practice of the locals.
Nepalese Government ceased the monarchy in Mustang in 2008. The last monarch, Raja Jigme Dorje Palabar Bista still reside in his palace in Lo Manthang. He offers blessings to the visiting tourists, which is one of the main attraction of the Mustang trek.
The walled City of Lo Manthang is seen from inside the high mountain caves of Upper Mustang. These caves date more than 1,000 years back, which were primarily used for burial purposes. It also happened to be used for multiple purposes; a burial center, shelter during war and diseases etc.
The palace of Raja Jigme Dorje Palabar Bista standing at the center of the walled city of Lo Manthang (The Forbidden City). The last monarch of Mustang still reside in the palace, often offering blessings to the visiting tourists.
Mustang comprises of desert-like landscape. Roads and moderns form of transportation is rarely found in the region. Horses, Mule etc are reliable source of transportation here.
Inside the walled city of Lo Manthang, Mustang. The city is surrounded by hills, sand dunes, high mountains and vast amount of barren land.