Mustang Trekking Information

Kingdom of Mustang Trekking
Kingdom of Mustang Trekking

Mustang trekking information, Mustang has a long, rich and complex history that masks it one of the most interesting place in Nepal. The early history of Lo is Surrounded in legend. Myth and mystery, But there are records of events in Lo as early as the 8th century. It is quite likely that the Tibetan poet Milarepa, who lived from 1040 to 1123, visited Lo. Upper Mustang was once part of Ngari, a name for far western Tibet. Ngari was not a true political entity, but rather a loose collection of feudal domains that also included parts of Dolpo. By the 14th Century, much of Ngari, as well as most of what today is western Nepal, was part of the Malla empire governed from the capital at Sinja, near Jumla. It is generally believed that Ame Pal (Ama-dpal in Tibetan ) founded Lo in 1380 and was its first king. The Ancestry of the present Mustang Raja can be traced 25 generations back to Ame Pal. Ame Pal, or perhaps his father, conquered a large part of the territory in the upper Kali Gandaki and was responsible for the development of the city of Lo Manthang and many gompas. To the west, the Malla empire declined and split into numerous petty hill states. By the 18th century, Jumla had consolidated and reasserted its power.

Mustang is a restricted area and up till 1992 it was forbidden for foreign visitors to enter the kingdom. Nowadays foreigners are allowed, but to enter Upper Mustang they have to buy a permit of US$ 500 (to be arranged through a trekking agency and valid for 10 days, each additional day costs US$ 50). Until recently you could only come to Mustang with a fully organized camping trek. However, nowadays some villagers have opened up small guesthouses and you can stay in a guesthouse in each overnight place. While staying there, you are welcome to sit with them in the kitchen. In Tibetan culture, the kitchen is the center of the house, and built like a kind of living room. So there is no better way to learn a bit about the daily life than spending time in the kitchen!


In an effort to develop their domain as a trading centre and to obtain Tibetan goods, the rulers of Jumla turned their attention eastward. In the mid-18th century they assumed control over Lo, from which they extracted as annual tribute. When he ascended the throne in 1762, prithvi Narayan Shah began to consolidated what is present-day nepal. At the time of his death, the kingdom extended from Gorkha eastward to the borders of Sikkim. His descendants directed their efforts westward and by 1789, Jumla had been annexed. The Gorkha armies never actually entered Lo; they recognized the rule of the Mustang Raja. Although Mustang became par of Nepal, the raja retained his title and Lo retained a certain amount of autonomy. Lo maintained its status as a separate principality until 1951. After the Rana rulers were overthrown and king Tribhuvan reestablished the rule of the Shah monarchs on 15 February 1951, Lo was more closely consolidated into Nepal. The raja was given the honorary rank of colonel in the Nepal army.

Climate Chart for Mustang Trekking
Climate Chart for Mustang Trekking


During the 1960s, after the Dalai lama had fled to India and Chinese armies established control over Tibet, Mustang was a centre for guerrilla operations against the Chinese. The soldiers were the Khampas, Tibet’s most fearsome warriors, who were backed by the CIA (some Khampas were secretly trained in the USA). At the height of the fighting there were at least 6000 khampas in Mustang and neighboring border areas. The CIA’s support ended in the early 1970s when the USA, under Kissinger and Nixon, Initiated new and Better relations with the Chinese. The government of Nepal was pressed to take action against the guerrillas and, making use of internal divisions within the Khampa leadership, a bit of treachery and the Dalai Lama’s taped advice for his citizens to lay down their arms, it managed to disband the resistance without committing to action the 10,000 Nepali troops that had been sent to the area.


Though Mustang was closed, the government allowed a few researchers into the area.Toni hagen included Mustang in his survey of the entire kingdom of Nepal, and the Italian scholar Giuseppe Tucci visited in the autumn of 1952. Professor David Snellgrove travelled to the region in 1956 but did not visit Lo Manthang. Longtime Nepal resident Barbara Adams travelled to Mustang during the autumn of 1963.The most complete description of the area is Mustang, the Forbidden Kingdom, written by Michel Peissel, who spent several months in the area in the spring of 1964, Dr Harka Bahadur Gurung also visited and wrote about upper Mustang in October 1973. A number of groups legally travelled to upper Mustang during the 1980s by obtaining permission to climb Bhrikuti (6364), south-east of Lo Manthang. Other than a few special royal guests, the first legal trekkers were allowed into Mustang in March 1992 upon payment of a high fee for a special trekking permit.


Mustang Trekking Seasons:
Mustang is cold and arid with an average temperature ranging between 4°C below zero to 14°C. However, the temperature in Lo Manthang can get as low as –25°C. Upper Mustang lies in the rain shadow of the great Himalayan ranges, therefore the climate is insular with sparse rain and severe winters. Two distinct seasons can be recognized: April to October is relatively mild and all agricultural activities take place during this period; November to March is severe and precipitation invariably is in the form of snow. Mountain passes are blocked and many settlements remain cut-off from the rest of the district and the country due to heavy snow. Strong winds and high solar radiation are common in the region for most of the year.


Mustang trek 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.