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The Upper Mustang trek is an unforgettable experience that takes you to the ancient walled city of Lo Manthang, the former capital of the Lo kingdom built in the 15th century. This city boasts a 6-meter high earthen wall with dzongs (square towers) on the corners, closely packed buildings, and rows of Mani walls and chortens within the settlement. You will also discover numerous Buddhist religious sites, including Luri Gompa, a cave filled with Buddhist artifacts and frescoes, and Tashi Kabum, a system of caves that houses scrolls and an ancient stupa.
As you make your way along the trek, you will come across Kagbeni village, one of the oldest and most beautiful villages in the Himalayas, which is located near the junction between Muktinath and Lo Manthang. Hindus consider Kagbeni village an important place to perform their Pitri-Puja ritual, and it is also home to the famous Muktinath temple, significant to both Hindus and Tibetan Buddhists.
The trek offers an opportunity to collect Shaligram, an ammonite revered in Nepal, found only in the banks of the Kali Gandaki river. The Kali Gandaki Gorge, created by the Kali Gandaki river, is the deepest gorge in the world, separating Dhaulagiri and Annapurna. The trek offers stunning views of Annapurna I, Nilgiri, Tilicho, and Dhaulagiri, with the highest point being the Chogo La Pass at an altitude of 4,280 m/14,041 ft.
The Upper Mustang trek can be done year-round, with the best time between March and early November. The region lies in the rain shadow area of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges, so there is no rain in summer. However, winter weather is very cold, and residents migrate to warmer regions. Thus, you will need to carry supplies and camping gear during this time. The spring season from March to May is popular for this trek due to the many spring festivals of the region.
The name "Mustang" comes from the Tibetan word möntang, which means "Fertile Plain," despite the limited cultivated farmlands in the region. Upper Mustang is renowned for its remarkable preservation of Tibetan culture and tradition, and it was an ancient route that connected India in the south with China in the north. Mustang is a cold desert due to the rain shadow effect created by the Himalayas, which results in very little rainfall annually.