February 24, 2016

Trekking to the country beyond the mountains: Mustang

Mustang, the mythical land is popular for its landscapes and trek routes which most certainly is not unheard by trekkers all around the world. The trekking into the remote Trans-Himalayan mountain area is a 17 days trek which starts from the world’s deepest gorge Kaligandaki Region into the world’s highest regions of Lo-Mangthang Valley which passes through a desert like landscape, a rocky trail at high inclination and declination with views of the Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and many other mountain ranges with equally lustrous views. Along with barren land, opportunity to encounter passes, glaciers and alpine valley is also a given, in the spectacular trekking to upper mustang.
Mustang is an isolated region and has been in isolation for about thousands of years which has a well conserved architecture, heritages and culture dating back a long time. Some of the beautiful architectures of Mustang are the four storied palace in Lo-Manthang and Muktinath temple which is a common source of attraction. The Muktinath temple is a sacred shrine to Hindu followers and is the centre of attraction to many pilgrims. While trekking along the recommended trail is safe and prominent, the off beaten track offers more challenge to the trekkers. 
However, for even more adventurous trekkers, the upper Dolpo and She Gompa trek which is a trek of 28 days is recommended. However there are restrictions for mass tourism and can only be pursued with permission from the authority. Upper Dolpo, bordering with Tibet lies within the Shey Phoksundo National Park, west of the Kaligandaki valley. The trek to Upper Dolpo has highlights similar to the trek to upper Mustang which includes beautiful lakes, Buddhist monasteries and diverse wildlife. Lake Phoksundo is the main attraction in the region along with the 11th century Shey Phoksundo monastery. This region is also isolated from the rest of the country which has enabled them in preserving the monuments, culture and lifestyle.
Although trekking is an adventurous and fun activity, there are certain precautions and considerations to be taken before jumping into unknown land. Travelling along with a designated guide or trusted locals is advised to minimize the chance of getting lost or going off track. Also traveling with required documents and the permission of the authority in order to meet the legal obligations is strongly advised. The culture and tradition of the tribe in this region should be given due consideration and activities displayed at those regions should be done in harmony to their culture. 

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