Besides its cooler climate and breath-taking natural beauty, it is an ancient civilisation untouched in many parts by modernity and a cultural heritage unique and isolated from the rest of the world.
Mustang is a district of Nepal which lies beyond the Himalayas in the North - an ancient forbidden kingdom, bordered by the Tibetan plateau and sheltered by some of the world’s tallest peaks.
It basically lies to the north of the Himalayas, in the rain-shadow area of Nepal, which is the perfect place to explore and tour during the monsoon season, if you want to enjoy the great outdoors even while the rest of the country is experiencing the monsoon.
Due to its high altitude location, the temperature in Mustang is usually cool. There are many things mystical and alluring, that attract visitors to Mustang. Besides its cooler climate and breath-taking natural beauty, it is an ancient civilisation untouched in many parts by modernity and a cultural heritage unique and isolated from the rest of the world.
Historically Mustang was an independent kingdom that had close ties in language and culture with Tibet. It was a centre for trade, Buddhist scholars and art. Caravans packed with Himalayan salt would pick their way down from the mountains to trade with the Indian plains. Later, in the 17th century, an economic decline set in as cheaper salt became more readily available in India and settlements were abandoned and left to the wilderness.
Today, Mustang’s desolate valleys and hills feel at once peaceful and haunting. The ephemeralness of human life exists in stark contrast to the steadfast, silent mountains.
Today the region is divided into Lower Mustang and Upper Mustang. If you’re familiar with the lush green hills and terraced rice fields of other parts of Nepal, then Lower Mustang is surprisingly different. The land is dry due to the absence of the monsoon. The only patches of green you’ll see are irrigated areas of farmland around small towns. Lower Mustang is geographically and geologically similar to Tibet and other areas in the rain-shadow of the Himalayas. Particularly impressive are the conical structures that look like overgrown anthills and the meditation caves carved into the rocky sandstone cliffs. Lower Mustang has been incorporated into the Annapurna Circuit and foreigners experience the region while trekking this route.
Upper Mustang, being in the Himalayan rain shadow area, is one of the regions in the country suitable for trekking even during the monsoon. The Mustang trek is not that arduous with the highest point at 3,800 m, but is best avoided in cold winter as the temperatures fall drastically and the area is windy and dusty throughout the year. Lo- Manthang, the old capital, is worth visiting to catch the sights and sound of this unique walled settlement.