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Lost Kingdom Of Mustang Trekking 21 Days

Best Season : March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October and early November.

Difficulty : Mustang trek is suitable for any walker looking for something a little more challenging and energetic. It does not require that you have any previous trekking or mountaineering experience. Although the terrain is not difficult, some vigorous hiking experience is useful. And it does not require any technical experience; only that you be in good physical conditioning and be able to hike for 4-6 hours over hilly terrain with a light day pack.

Special requirements for Mustang Trekking
You need to have special trekking permit to enter Mustang area. The permit fee is US $ 700 per person for a period of 10 days or US $ 910 for thirteen days itinerary. Counting starts from Kagbeni once you enter restricted area. For any extra days in restricted area you have to pay US $70 per day.

Short Description of Mustang Trekking
Mustang trekking is one of Nepal's most mysterious and least known kingdoms. The landscape of Mustang is a barren moonscape of eroded sandstone pillars and discontinuous moraine terraces, which together present a colorful mosaic made up principally of earthen reds, yellows and brown. It is relatively easy trekking along the permitted route to Lo Manthang, which lies in the very heart of Mustang. The trek to Mustang is through an almost treeless barren landscape. Strong winds generally howl across the area in the afternoon, generally subsiding at night. Being in the rain shadow of the Himalaya, Mustang has much less rain then the rest of Nepal.

Mustang trek lying in the rain shadow of the Himalayas is perhaps the last enclave of pristine Tibetan culture. Forbidden & isolated from the rest of the World it was able to evolve its own distinctive culture and traditional which is so rich & unique. Lo-Mustang, the capital is walled city ruled by religious king. Untouched by modern civilization, life in Mustang goes on as it has for centuries in unhurried pace. As everywhere in the Himalayas, this area provides spectacular mountain scenery highlighted by Dhaulagiri at 8167 meters (26,795ft) and Annapurna I at 8091 meters (26,545ft). You will be surrounded by more than 35 mountains over 6000 meters (19,680ft) high. The elevation of the the trails rise from 2815 meters (9,233ft) to 3780 meters (12,398ft) above sea level.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Kathmandu 1350m
You’ll be met at the airport by representative from Shakti Travels, so look out for your name on it. We take you to the Vaishali hotel,Thamel  and get you checked into your room.

Thamel is a myriad of banners, signs, music shops, bakeries, internet cafes, restaurants, bars, hotels, shops of all imaginable varieties and eccentrically clad backpackers. Over dinner we check your insurance details, collect passports for our Mustang permit, go over equipment and get to know each other over a cold beer and a wood-brick pizza from the Roadhouse Cafe.

Day 2: Kathmandu 1350m
Today we explore the Kathmandu valley. Options: Climb the many steps to Swayambhunath (the monkey temple) with its commanding views of Kathmandu, its whitewashed stupas and its unique synthesis of Buddhism and Hinduism. Visit Hindu Pashupatinath and its sacred temple complex on the banks of the holy Bagmati river. Here, monkeys run up and down the steps of the burning ghats, and trident-bearing saddhus draped in burnt-orange and yellow sit serenely meditating - when they’re not posing for photos-for-rupees. The striking Buddha eyes of Boudhanath Stupa watch over a lively and colorful Tibetan community and attract pilgrims from all over the Himalayan Buddhist realm. In the midst of traditional gompas, and hung with long strings of multi-colored prayer flags, Boudhanath attracts Sherpas, Tibetans and tourists alike for daily circumambulations (koras) of the stupa. Durbar Square, one of the old capitals of the Kathmandu valley, is a synthesis of Hindu and Buddhist temples, stupas and statues, and is often the site of festivals, marriages and other ceremonies.

Day 3: Drive to Pokhara
We board our private car, and set off on the beautiful drive to Pokhara. Arrive Pokhara early afternoon, transfer to Fish Tail Lodge.Overnight.

Day 4: Jomsom 2720m, trek to Kagbeni 2900m
A morning flight to Jomsom, the district headquarters of Mustang. The sound of jingling horse and pony bells as the Mustangi people pass by with their loads becomes an omnipresent aspect of the trek from now on. After sorting out gear, we trek up the windy Kali Gandaki valley to Kagbeni. The wide trail along a sandy, saligram-filled riverbed (keep your eyes open) provides views of the surrounding peaks of Dhaulagiri, Tukuche and Nilgiri, and to the south the entire Annapurna Massif. Kagbeni, spectacularly situated atop a cliff overlooking the confluence of the Kali Gandaki and the Jhong Khola rivers, is the last village in Lower Mustang and guards the entrance into Upper Mustang, visible across the Kali Gandaki riverbed. It is an oasis of patchwork fields in the midst of rocky, arid mountains. This ancient and partially ruined citadel town provides us with a taste of scenes to come in upper Mustang, with its narrow alleyways and tunnels, irrigation canals, green fields of wheat and barley and its imposing and newly-restored brick-colored gompa. At the police check post at the north end of the village we will complete our paperwork before entering Upper Mustang, the long-forbidden region of Nepal.

Day 5: Trek to Chele 3030m
We head up a trail along the east bank of the Kali Gandaki, climbing over several ridges as we head north to the village of Tangbe (3100m), a labyrinth of narrow alleys amongst whitewashed houses, fields of buckwheat, barley, wheat and apple orchards. Nilgiri, which dominates the southern skyline at Kagbeni, continues to loom massively at the foot of the valley. Beyond Tangbe we reach Chhusang (3050m) village and a naturally-formed tunnel through which the Kali Gandaki flows. The trek now leaves the Kali Gandaki valley and climbs steeply up a rocky gully to Chele (3030m). The culture changes from the Manangi culture to the Tibetan culture of Lo.

Day 6: Trek to Geling 3510m
The trail continues along steep, treeless and waterless terrain, along the side of a spectacular steep canyon, to a pass marked by rock cairns at 3540m. We then descend gradually descent to a group of chortens on a ridge, eventually arriving at the village of Samar. The Annapurnas, although still dominated by Nilgiri, are visible far to the south. The route climbs sharply up and down over a series of high passes, before the final descent to Geling. We camp amongst poplar trees and fields of barley.


Day 7: Trek to Lo-Ghekar 3900m
From Geling, the trail climbs gently to a beautiful pass, the Nyi La, and descends to a bridge over the Tangmar Chu (river). Here, the trail looks across the valley to ochre, blue and steel-grey cliffs, and leads us past perhaps the longest and most spectacular mani (prayer) wall in Nepal. We traveling along smaller trails on the western trail after Ghami, stopping occasionally for passing herds of sheep and goats. After passing the village of Tramar and crossing the Mu-i La, we drop back down and the ascend again to some high meadows by a meandering, rocky stream  and arrive at to Lo Ghekar, 'Pure Virtue of Joy'.  We camp here nearby to Ghar Gompa in a shady grove next to a stream. Ghar gompa is reputed to be one of the oldest gompas in Nepal, and is connected by legend to Samye gompa in Tibet. The name means 'House Gompa' in Nepali after the style of architecture, and it harbors many frescoes as well as wonderful carved and painted stones.

Day 8: Trek to Lo Monthang 3760m
Finally we get our first view of the walled city of Lo. We trek past Marang, cross the Marang La at 4353m, and walk through Samduling, with its gompa. After a short descent and an easy stream crossing, we climb back up to the plateau of Lo Monthang, aptly named the ‘Plain of Aspiration.” The fabled walled city of Lo, with a single entrance through which only the king is allowed to ride (all others must walk), is a welcome sight! The king, “Lo Gyelbu”, named Jigme Palbar Bista, still resides at his four-storied palace inside the city walls ... that is, when he’s not in Kathmandu. He is an avid horseman, and keeps his own stable of horses, some of the best in Mustang, it is said. Stay away from his Tibetan mastiffs, though! Today the king plays a somewhat ceremonial role, although he is well loved and respected throughout the kingdom. In the 1380’s, King Ame Pal, established his reign in Lo, with the walled city of Lo Monthang as its capital. Within the walls of Lo Manthang are about 150 houses built among narrow streets, and some of the largest and finest Tibetan Buddhist gompas in Nepal.

Day 9: Lo Monthang – visit the Chosar valley
Another day in the fascinating complex of Lo Manthang gives you the chance to explore its many sights; the Tall Champa Lakhang "God house", the red Thugchen Gompa, Chyodi Gompa and the Raja's Palace as well as to gaze at the surrounding panoramic views of the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalaya. In the eastern valley lies the village of Chosar, also rich in gompas. The Chosar valley is the main trading route to Lhasa, and we might choose to trek up the valley and do some further exploring.

Day 10: Lo Monthang – visit Tingkhar, Namyal  & Namdrol
Besides Lo Manthang there are two other interesting valleys worth visiting. The western valley is the site of Tingkhar, where the King has his summer palace, Kimaling and Phuwa Gompas, and Namgyal Gompa (The Monastery of Victory), set spectacularly on top of a desolate ridge, the newest and most active gompa in Lo. Namdrol is a 3 or 4 hour walk from Lo, and we have the option of returning to Lo via Gharphu, with another old gompa, Tubten and Nedhyar.

Day 11: Lo Monthang – free day
A free day in Lo to do some of your own exploring.

Day 12: Trek to Tsarang 3650m (alternately, trek to Dri along the winter path)
Leaving Lo Monthang, we take a new route down the east side of the valley. The trail descends steeply from the cairn on a ridge at 3850m called Lo ( or Dry) La,  passes an impressive chorten high up on another ridge, and crosses the Charang Chu (river).  We then head back up the trail to Tsarang, perched on the edge of a beautiful canyon, with magnificent views of the villages of the distant hillsides. The huge five-story white dzong (fort) and ochre-hued gompa (Buddhist temple) contain a fascinating array of statues, thankas and large Buddha paintings. Elaborate sand mandalas are created here at festival time, and then ceremonially deposited into the river at the festival’s end.

Day 13: Trek to Yara
Depending on which route south we take (trail conditions will determine this), we trek from either Tsarang or Dri (Dry) to Yara, a small village located near Luri Gompa, which we will visit either the same day, or the day after en route to Tange. Again, the trail conditions will determine which route we take.

Day 14: Trek to Tange 3420m (via Luri Gompa)
Today we hope to visit Luri gompa en route to Tangye, continuing along the winter route. There are many trails, and this will be a bit of an adventure. Once we reach the Tsarang/Tangye intersection, we head south, keeping the wide flood plains of the Mustang Khola far to the west, and contour around some classic Mustang landscape. This will be a long day, so we will be happy to emerge onto the plains of Tange. Our first sight will be of a row of massive brick red and white chortens before the village, which is dominated by dramatic cliffs of sandstone.

Day 15: Trek to Phan 4060m
Down to the Tangye Khola, where we cross the bridge and an hour later, begin to climb again. There is a campsite at Phan, about a four hour's walk from Tangye and two hours before the Cha Cho La pass, which we will cross the next day.


Day 16: Trek to Tetang 2940m
The climb to the pass is a long one, but we are rewarded with spectacular views of the northern border with Tibet, and over Tsarang and Lo Monthang. From the prayer-flag festooned summit of the Cho Cho La at 40560m, we will see stunning views of Dhaulagiri to the south, and the southern routes into Upper Mustang from Eklobhatti. It's well worth the effort! We continue to contour around the ridges, and do a bit more climbing, but the views of all of Mustang are so dramatic that we will hardly notice any extra effort. As we trek along the upper rim of the Narsang Khola, the trail drops almost vertically down to the river, so we must remember to glance at the trail once in a while ... The light on the canyon is wonderful from here! Further on, we spot the Kali Gandaki valley and the peaks surrounding the Thorung La pass. Now we finally descend to a plateau, where the trail forks, and we take the left path to Tetang. We camp near a chorten just before Tetang.

Day 17: Trek to Muktinath 3750m
Next to a willow-lined stream just past camp, we reach the fortress-like Tangye village, unique in Mustang with it's moat-like drainage system. Tangye is split into two sections, and the ruins of an old dzong remain in the second part. There is a salt mine two hours away, as the salt trade was of utmost importance to Mustang. This might explain the fortress-like apprearance of the village. We stop at a small spring for lunch, after passing an odd section of  black shale and salt. The trail opens up, and we can eventually see Muktinath to the south, and Tilicho Peak above. The trail passes through Chhengar, with a small but active red gompa, and continues past a nunnery to join the main trail from Manang.  We finish the trek at the serene temple complex of Muktinath, back in Lower Mustang, where we stay (in a guest house!) just five minutes down the trail from Muktinath at Ranipauwa. Muktinath is an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists and Hindus situated in a tranquil grove of trees, and contains a wall of 108 waterspouts in the shape of cows heads spouting sacred water, the Jwala Mai temple with a perpetual spouting flame and the pagoda-styled Vishnu Mandir, all of which make up the auspicious combination of earth, fire and water.

Day 18: Trek to Jomsom
This morning we trek along a wonderful trail through more Mustangi villages, where we will feast on delicious apples and see the traditional back-loom weaving techniques being practiced by the local women. Half an hour down the trail, Jharkot is an old Mustangi  village with a medieval feel to it, a Shakya gompa which is a traditional medicine center and incredibly photogenic whitewashed houses and streets. The scenery is truly wonderful - soft light, patchworks of fields, peaks overhead, villagers out plowing the fields, horses tethered next to the houses, apple trees providing texture to the landscape.down the Kali Gandaki riverbed, looking for saligrams along the way, to Jomsom, the administrative center for the region. We stay in Jomsom at the Trekkers Inn, a lovely renovated traditional-styled guest house near the airport.

Day 19: fly to Jomsom – Pokhara – Kathmandu
Another spectacular morning flight back to Kathmandu via Pokhara.

Day 20: Kathmandu
A final day to spend in Kathmandu, and lots to do! Perhaps some last 'koras' at Boddha? Winding down might be high on the agenda, though. We’ll get together for a final dinner, and spend the evening reminiscing over a few glasses of wine in the courtyard of the New Orleans Cafe ...


Day 21: Depart
We take you to the airport for your trip home. It’s been a great trip deep into forbidden Mustang! For those of you with more time, there are many options, including a spectacular Everest flight.

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