Upper Mustang Hidden Kingdom of Nepal

  • Hemanta Budhathoki
  • Last Updated on Apr 16, 2024

Table of Contents

The kingdom of Lo, which is currently known as the traditional upper Mustang region, includes two rooms in the northern part of the Mustang district. Mustang is a Tibetan kingdom in the North of the mountains and the northern part of Dhaulagiri, and it is one of the remaining Busters of Tibetan Culture that cannot be handled. Upper Mustang was not registered in Nepal until the mid-20th century. The Mustang was a sovereign state until 2008, until the death of the last legitimate Mustang King, the Mustang Palmer Vista, in 2016. Mustang is a beautiful place hidden from the rest of the world. Foreign tourists were first received in 1992 in the remote areas behind the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna massifs.

The number of visitors is regulated, and the licenses issued to foreign tourists are limited. Traditional Tibetan culture is preserved in the restricted Kingdom of Mustang. The terrain is similar to Tibet in terms of freshness and semi-dryness. The capital of the Mustang is Lo Manthang. The road to Lo Manthang passes through many religious sculptures, stupas, and historic monasteries with prayer flags.

Why is Mustang referred to as the Hidden Kingdom?

It was opened to foreigners in 1992. Therefore, it was given the name the forbidden kingdom of Nepal. Mustang means "fertile plain" in English, and a walk upstream of the Kingdom of Mustang leads to the secret realm of the ancient Buddhist kingdom Lho. The Mustang was initially been another kingdom with strong ties to Tibet. Mustang is about 4000 meters above sea level behind the Great Himalayas (Annapurna Massif and Dhaulagiri Mountains), so there is little rainfall. Mustang is a mountain desert because of its high-altitude, desolate terrain, with sandstone pillars eroded to form beautiful red, yellow, and brown rocks that create a unique, untouched desert atmosphere. Due to its remote location, the region's culture, lifestyle, and traditions are preserved in their natural state, giving visitors a glimpse into local life and learning about the ideal blend of Tibetan and Nepalese culture. The locals, strongly influenced by Tibet, are Buddhists who show great hospitality to rare visitors to this remote place. Centuries ago, the walled city of Mustang dominated trade between the Himalayas and India.

Why is Mustang one of the major tourist destinations of Nepal?

Lomanthang, Muktinath, and Kagbeni are some of the Mustang's ancient and historic sites. Both Hindus and Buddhists visit Muktinath as a pilgrimage sanctuary. The fossilized shell "Sharigram" found in the Kali Gandaki River is worshiped as a Hindu deity. In some areas of the Upper Mustang, Tibetan culture still performs sky burial (giving vultures corpses). Agriculture is the village's leading source of income, with the entire family working in the fields to grow barley, wheat, peas, and potatoes. Mustang Trek is rapidly becoming one of the most popular trekking destinations for Nepalese and foreign tourists.

Upper Mustang Trekking can take two to three weeks, depending on the terrain and the type of trekking. The tour starts in Kathmandu and ends in Pokhara. The tour to Jomsom and through the restricted area begins at Kagbeni. The tour includes social and cultural encounters as you interact with the locals and learn about their traditional lifestyle and culture. Buddhist monasteries and stupas create a spiritual aura, but the desert-like atmosphere of tunnels in the rock formations allows for exploration.

People of Mustang – The Forbidden Kingdom

Gurung, Thakali, and Tibetans make up most of the Mustang population. Upper Mustang has a large Tibetan population. Mustang's primary sources of income are livestock, trade, and tourism. Due to harsh weather and unsuitable survival, people often move to the lowlands for business and evacuation in winter. Mustang is endowed with beautiful landscapes such as beautiful canyons, mountain ridges, lush valleys, fortified ruins, ancient caves, pristine territories, and difficult-to-cultivate terrain structures. Many locals and foreign tourists gather in Mustang's hidden valley each year.

The 180 mud houses in the walled city are about 1100 rolls (Rho people), and they noticed a kind of caste structure. This may explain why the inhabitants of the walled city are mainly composed of Kudak (Rho and Kings of Vista Novel) and Farwa (Gurung). Gala (blacksmith), Shemba (butcher), and Emeta (musician) live mainly in the village of the Lo Manthang River, east of the city. Mustang's Raja and Rani live in the four-story white-painted palace "Monkar" in the heart of the town.

Culture and Religion 

Lo-culture Manthang is deeply founded on its people's religious beliefs. Many CHTENS, MANIWALLS, the monastery is around the town. Prayer flags over the mantra on each house, each part of the glove. Roba is Tibetan Buddhist after Sasaya Religious School. In this holy place, the Vishnus story of God continued. After Brinda's curse, he finally decided to repent and went to Muktinart to seek forgiveness. This place became known as Muktinato because Mukti means "comfort from something" and eggplant means "god." Choprang Gompa and Dhakar Thungling Chhoede Gompa have been merged to form the current Chhoede Gompa.

This gompa has beautiful tankers (Buddhist religious paintings) and images, especially the sacred tankas of Mahakala and Dorjesonne. Mahakala is the indignation of Avalokiteshwara, and Dorjesonne is the main deity of the Tenjin Festival. Tenji, Lo Tsho Dhun's most famous festival, lasts for three days and commemorates the devil's murder by the devil's son, Dorje Sonnu. Tenji is derived from the Tibetan expression "tempachirim," which means "prayer of the world's peace."


Before visiting Upper Mustang, you must first obtain a permit. There are also bespoke travel options. Here you can create your itinerary to make your trip more relaxing and stress-free. However, the forbidden kingdom is a visitor from all over the world, with beautiful views of the Himalayan and Tibetan plateaus, warm hospitality of the Thakali and Goling communities, ecosystem diversity, primitive villages, and cave hermitages. Continue to fascinate the ancient Tibetan monastery and dry desert-like savanna. So far, in addition to Upper Stan, we have covered seven Nepalese trekking that you probably haven't heard of.

The ancient trade route through Upper Mustang is well known. This is the only connection between the highlands of southern India and the Tibetan plateau of northern China. It is an ancient trade route that runs parallel to the Silk Road. The Kali Gandaki River Valley, which flows through Upper Stang, is the only valley that flows North and south in Nepal.

Hemanta Budhathoki

Hemanta Budhathoki

Hemanta Budhathoki is team leader of Nepal Highland Trekking and travel company. 

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