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The Forbidden Kingdom of Mustang

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Mustang is a small kingdom in a mountain valley with 7,000 inhabitants and its own king.

The name of the Mustang kingdom comes from the Tibetan “Mun Tan,” which means “fertile plain.

Mustang is located in northwestern Nepal, in the upper Kali Gandaki River, between the Nepalese provinces of Manang and Dolpo. There used to be a busy trade road between India and Tibet.

The capital of Upper Mustang, Lo Mantang, is located at an altitude of 3,800 m. It is very well protected from a geographical point of view. To get to the kingdom, you have to overcome the rough mountain rivers, steep mountain passes, deep gorges. Due to the isolation of the kingdom, very little is known about this area.

In all, there are three towns and about thirty small villages in Mustang.

For a long time this shrine of Buddhism was hidden from outsiders. Until 1991, it was only possible to enter Mustang with the permission of the King of Nepal and the blessing of the Dalai Lama. Now, however, entry into the Upper Mustang is possible with a special permit, for which you must pay $560/person.

umma for a permit to enter. Although true lovers of mysterious places will not regret the money spent on a trip to the Upper Mustang.

Lower Mustang is famous for its magically beautiful scenery. Even the most fastidious tourists will not remain indifferent to the mountain panoramas, among which the peaks of Tilicho, Nilgiri, Dhaulagiri stand out clearly; rocky slopes with small green terraces; beautiful sunrises.

The local color fascinates with its originality and uniqueness. On the slopes of the mountains you can still find the remains of cave settlements. History has preserved legends of entire cave cities lost high in the mountains. Today, some caves remain inhabited. It is usually here that Buddhist ascetic monks find shelter.

In fact, the Mustang, which was once part of ancient Tibet, is the only region of Tibet unaffected by Chinese influence and therefore has preserved Tibetan culture in its purest form. Roadside walls of mani and chortens; ancient gompas built by great mystics; people whose lives flow just as they did centuries ago – all this is the mysterious principality of Mustang, the real mystery of Tibet.

Mustang is also called the 7th chakra of the Earth, the place where everything is possible! There are significantly fewer tourists in Upper Mustang, which is not surprising, because not everyone can (or wants to) pay a decent amount and spend many days to get here.

The beliefs of the people of Mustang

Many of the locals are Buddhists. The Buddhist temples here date back to the time when the kingdom occupied part of present-day Tibet. Libraries in temples are proof of this: they boast very rare ancient manuscripts – gems of human centuries-old wisdom. And perhaps it is the isolation of this piece of mysterious Tibet in Upper Mustang that has preserved most of the rare books and shrines of Buddhism. This is one of the most little-studied places on our planet, so archaeologists, historians, ethnographers, and just travelers and true followers of Buddha strive to get here.

There is a very ancient Bon religion here, which is a pre-Buddhist religion and according to some studies originated four or five thousand years ago. Bon is a philosophy that mystically links natural forces, mysterious spirits and demons with man. Later in the twelfth century Bon was superseded by Buddhism. Religion is strongly associated with shamanism. Even today there are many symbols and talismans in the houses, and on the roofs (or above the entrance to the dwelling) you can see a human skull or a dead hare, causing horror to the average European. But this is just a tribute to religion, elements of a cult, so to speak-and it has nothing to do with human cruelty.


The people who inhabit the kingdom of Mustang are very friendly and peaceful. Yes, they fear demons, believe that the soul is as real an organ as the arms, legs, or head, worship shamans, and surround themselves with various symbols that are scary to a European. But the visiting Lo Pa (residents of Mustang) are treated with unfailing deference and friendliness. A trip to the Mustang Kingdom will leave an unforgettable impression. You will have a strong feeling that you have touched something mysterious, unexplored, and therefore even more attractive.


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