For those seeking the outer remote edges of Nepal, the Mustang region is an ultimate destination. This is an ancient Himalayan Kingdom which lies in the northern central part of Nepal and at the top of the Kaligandaki River. This area is considered one of the most interesting and picturesque destinations in the country.
The whole area is isolated, quite remote and mystical to the visitors. Damodar Kunda, the most fascinating high altitude lake (4890m), lies in Upper Mustang and eastern south of Lo-Manthang. It is a new trekking route opened in 2002 for Hindu & Buddhist Pilgrimage groups & international tourists. One who does this trek will feel heavenly pleasure of being near Damodar Kunda Lake at the foot of Annapurna Range.
Upper Mustang and Damodar Kunda Trek is highly recommended for those Pilgrims who want to make the trip during the full moon of August to celebrate a big festival. To visit in Festival time gives an immense experience, the views are great, and there is an opportunity to climb up some of the hills while on the trek. You can see the Tibetan plateau & Damodar, Himal to the north and the Annapurna Himalayan massive to the south
Upper Mustang Damodar-Kunda trek starts with the flight to Jomsom from Pokhara and trek up to Upper Mustang which is located on the western Himalayan range and adjoining plateau of Tibetan border of the Nepal. The trek to Lo-Manthang begins through an almost tree-less barren landscape, a steep rocky trail up and down hill enjoying the panoramic views of Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and several other peaks along the trail. The Home Ministry of Nepal has declared Upper Mustang as restricted area and imposed strict regulation to obtain a special permit from the department of immigration in order to protect the environment and tradition from outside influence. You will have an opportunity to explore the ancient old monastery, caves, local tribes and scenic beauties of the different landscapes. Also, you will have a great chance to visit the royal palace of Mustang King and take a photograph with him. After spending two nights in Lo Manthang you will head for Damodar Kund where every year especially on the full moon of August a big religious festival is held. Many Hindu & Buddhist pilgrims from different parts of Nepal and India visit Damodar Kunda & take a holy dip in the lake.
Arrive at the Tribhuwan International Airport where you will be welcomed by Trek Himalayan representative and transferred to your hotel. This day is simply an arrival day and there will no organized activities. So you will have some free time to relax or walk around for local sights. A pre-departure meeting will be held early evening and you will be introduced with your trekking guide. Overnight at
hotel in Kathmandu
Your guide will meet you at your hotel in the morning to begin your city tour of Kathmandu. You will visit the Boudhanath temple, the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal, Pashupatinath, a Hindu pilgrimage site, and possibly view cremation ceremonies along the banks of the Bagmati River. Continue drive to Patan
Durbar Square to see ancient Nepalese architecture and end your tour after lunch. Then, you will view ancient Nepalese art in the Patan museum. Overnight in Kathmandu.
If you drive, it takes about 6 to 7 hour to reach Pokhara and if you fly, it takes 25 minutes. As soon as you reach Pokhara you will be transferred to Hotel.
Pokhara is situated in the mid western Nepal. It is linked by the main highway of 200 km driving distance from Kathmandu, and by air approximately 20 to 30 minutes flight with a sweeping panoramic view of the mid western Himalaya. Mother Nature has certainly blessed this fertile valley with outstanding scenery of the landscapes, snow capped mountains, moderate tropical climate, and beautiful pristine lakes of Begnas, Rupa and Phewa. The most stunning of Pokhara’s sights is the magnificent panorama of the Annapurna range which forms its backdrop. Annapurna massif includes Annapurna I to IV and Annapurna South. Among these high peaks it is the towering majestic Mt. Machhapuchare (Fish Tail) which dominates all others in this range Pokhara with its natural beauty is also a starting point of trekking, mountaineering expeditions and it’s an ideal spot for all types of holiday makers.
We take an early morning mountain flight (weather permitting) from Pokhara to Jomsom (2696m). After landing at the airport, we will meet the Sirdar and crew the porters, Sherpa guides, and pack animals for the trek. We begin our first day trek along the bank of the Kali Gandaki River, passing through Eklebhatti to the medieval-looking village of Kagbeni , The arid climate, mud-walled houses, and Tibetan dress and language are indications of how closely this area is linked with Tibet.
You trek right up to the river valley. The trail then widens significantly revealing and endless stretch of sand on the west bank of the river, you stop for lunch at the village of Tangbe, where you come across the first black, white and red chortens that typify Upper Mustang. The little town is a labyrinth of narrow alleys among white washed houses, fields of buck wheat and barley and apple orchards. Nilgiri Peak continues to dominate the southern skyline. Chusang village is only about a 2hrs walk beyond Tangbe at the confluence of the Narshing Khola and the river Kali Gandaki
Here you will find a distinct change in the topography as well as the culture, lifestyle and people of the area. The settlements become more scattered, smaller and more basic. The people of Lo or Mustang practice agriculture. Lack of rain and fertile soil, cultivation is carried out in sheltered plots of land, covering the brown landscape with patches of green vegetation. Continuing north, you reach a huge red chunk of conglomerate that has fallen from the cliffs above, forming a tunnel through which the river flows. The trek now leaves the valley and climbs steeply up a rocky alley the village of Chele. From Chele you climb a steep spur and then continue ascending along the side of a spectacular steep canyon to a pass. Beyond the pass you descend on a pleasant trail to Samar, situated in a grove of poplar trees. This is a major stopping place for horse and mule caravans.
We climb up to Samar on a good trail winding up and around from the bottom of the Grand Canyon. We have an early lunch, then trek for 4hrs ascending three high ridges to the highest one at 12,464 ft. We pass some teahouses at Shyangmochen then we continue trek to Geling. This day is possibly the hardest day of the trek.
We trek a high loop southwest and lunch on the way outside Ghar Gompa . Ghar Gompa is the oldest active monastery in Nepal, dating back to the 8th century. It is also being restored with the funding of the American Himalayan Foundation and well worth a visit. From here we climb to a ridge and descend through a spectacular series of red rock formations at Dhakmar. We continue to Ghami and camp overnight, one hour beyond Dhakmar.
We climb another high ridge of 11,808 ft, and enter the ancient town of Charang. While passing through the picturesque entry portal we see the five – storied dzong (fortress), formerly the home of the kings of Mustang, and the vast red Dorje Dhen Gompa. We will visit the monastery and fortress later in the evening.
Today we descend to cross the Charang Chu River and climb to a ridge. We then hike through a desertlike landscape to climb again to a ridge at 12,628 ft from where we get our first view of Lo Manthang, We descend for a while and then a short climb brings us to camp.
A day to explore Lo Mangthang, including visits to two important monasteries built in the early 15th century. Thugchen Gompa has very fine Buddhist murals on the walls of its massive assembly hall, which is supported by huge wooden columns. Champa Lhakhang contains a fifty-foot-tall image of Maitreya,
the future Buddha, making it the largest clay statue in Nepal. Both monasteries are restored now by a team of Conservation Architects and Wall Painting Restorers with the help of the American Himalayan Foundation. We also visit the Choedhe monastic school and the imposing four-story Raja’s palace (if he
is in residence). The current Raja can trace his ancestry back to the first king of the late 14th century, which suggests Lo Manthang dates back to that period
Today we start our walk in the flat path for about 3hrs without any strenuous trail and then gentle descending downward. But, before reaching Dri village it is a steep down walk for half an hour and ultimately we reach Dri village. After crossing Dri village we come to cross the river on a metallic bridge and also enjoy walking on the bank of the river. Now we have a steep climb up for about an hour and some gentle steep walk before coming to Yara village.
This highland route offers dramatic views of snow clad peaks in the background. Just past the scattered settlement we reach. Bas Khola
Damodar Kund (Lake) is situated in a rain shadow valley on the eastern edge of the Annapurna range at 4890 m. It is a cold and windy place. Many Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims visit Damodar Kund in full moon day in the month of August. Every year there holds a big festival.
The trail drops to the Ghechang Khola at around 3350m, then again goes up at an elevation of 3800m before dropping again. We visit the remote village with a remarkable architecture, especially its wonderful chortens.
From Dhi the trail goes through the river for around 2 hours and crosses a river from Damodar Kunda, one of the sacred lakes, there is no bridge on the river so we need to walk across in bare feet to cross this river. After crossing the river the trail climbs up till high above a pass of 3850meters. The trail goes through a grassless, treeless bare hill. After the pass the trail again drops directly to Tangbe village at an elevation of 3370m.Tangbe is a small village of around 30 houses but most of the houses are attached to each other. On the rooftops one can see piles of dry woods, which also reflects the prosperity in their society. Overnight at tented camp.
The trail walks through a steep ridge of hills providing some fine views of the wind carved hills. Tetang village is formed between 2 hills; they should have found it a safe place to avoid the strong wind that hits the entire Kaligandaki valley. Tetang is the upper village of the Chuksang, which we visit on the first day
entering to Mustang from Kagbeni. Overnight at tented camp
We make an easy 3 ½ hrs walk up to a pass leading to Muktinath. After crossing the pass we leave Mustang area. In Muktinath we visit a sacred temple where thousands of Hindu and Buddhist Pilgrims from Nepal and India visit this site every year. Apart from its religious significance, Muktinath is also quite known for unique biodiversity, the scenic grandeur of Annapurna mountain range and the multicultural and multi-ethnic diversity
Today you trek down for nearly two hours and then walk through the flat path till we reach Jomsom. Between the walk lies Eklebhatti village where we find some tea houses and lodges.
Day 21: Fly back from Jomsom to Pokhara which takes about 35 minutes.
The flights are available during the morning time. The strong breeze blows during the after and frequent change of the weather prevent the flight being landed and taken off in the afternoon. During the flights in morning, the sky looks very clear which makes you able to enjoy the splendid views of different mountain peaks