Key attractions of uppper Mustang 4WD Jeep Driving Tour
Kathmandu and Pokhara
Formed by the draining of an ancient lake, the Kathmandu Valley is a fertile land that many dynasties have ruled. It stands stoic over time and shows the architecture left by these dynasties. Seven of the many monuments and temples are listed as World Heritage Sites.
Durbar Square is the historic royal palace in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and the Patan area. Similarly, Swayambhunath is the oldest Buddhist monument in the valley and is said to have been formed from lotus when the valley was still a lake, but Boudhanath is Nepal's largest stupa. One of the most important religious sites for all Hindus, Pashupatinath has a large Hindu temple, and Changunarayan has a Hindu temple complex surrounded by a traditional Newa hamlet.
Unparalleled in Kathmandu, Pokhara is a city blessed with Mother Nature. Just enjoying the scenery around Pokhara is a beautiful experience. Pokhara is known as the "City of Lakes," and nothing is more famous than Lake Phewa, where you can kayak through the reflections of Macchapuchhre.
You can also go on a short hike while in Pokhara. You can take a day hike to Sarangkot and enjoy paragliding and Parahawking there. Pokhara is considered one of the best paraglider spots globally due to its stunning mountain and lake views and stable currents.
Marpha is a charming stone-lined village. The name is derived from the words "mar," which means "hardworking," and "pha," which means "people." People in this area rely on tourism and mule breeding to survive. Marpha is known as the apple center of the country.
The Nyingma monastery, which dominates the settlement and provides excellent views of the Gandaki River valley, dominates the village. According to legend, the villagers were infected with leprosy, and all attempts to treat them failed. Locals were instructed by a local monk in Tukuche, south of Marpha, to set up a stupa and perform religious ceremonies there. Since then, leprosy has disappeared, and Marpha is prospering again.
Jomsom is the starting point for the scenic trekking trails of the Upper Mustang at an altitude of 2,743 m (8,999 ft). It is the gateway to the once closed Kingdom of Lo. The different terrains and cultures along this trail provide fascinating insights into the lives of Nepalese from many ethnic groups such as Thakali, Lobas, Gurung, Magar, and Tibetan.
Jomsom is also known as Dzong-Sampa, a new fortress in the local dialect. Thang Min Chen, the King of Thini, is said to have built a fort here. This was to monitor the movement of people along the trade route to Tibet. Once a prosperous trade route, this place is now a popular stop for the popular trekking trails in Nepal.
The highlight is a trek to the deepest gorge in the world created by the Kali Gandaki River, which rises above the Tibetan Plateau. The Ganges. Muktinath, a famous Buddhist and Hindu pilgrimage site not far from Jomsom, is a short distance away.
Kagbeni Village is one of the most beautiful villages globally and is located at an altitude of 2,800 m (9,186 ft) and is considered one of the oldest communities in the Himalayas. It is near the Muktinath – Lo-Manthang junction. Beautiful sun-dried bricks and brick buildings line the streets. Kagbeni's linguistic way of life and landscape are comparable to Tibet's.
For Hindus, it is a significant location since it is where they do their Pitri-Puja. It means an ancestral ritual. It is customary to take a recently deceased person to an ancestor and soothe them. It is also an important settlement for Buddhists. Many famous Buddhist monasteries and temples date back many years, and the village is like a museum for the practice of ancient Tibetan Buddhism.
The inhabitants of Kagbeni are called "Bhote" by their southern neighbors because of Tibetan culture and religious traditions, but they call themselves "Kakpa." Here, it is a tradition that the son becomes a monk in the middle of the family (Lama).
Muktinath temple has religious significance for both Hindus and Buddhists. This is the 106th of the 108 Divya Desam (meaning "Divine Country") temple dedicated to Vishnu, one of the main Hindu gods.
Hindus call this place Mukti Kshetra. This means "place of salvation" and is one of the oldest Vishnu temples in Nepal. The temple is small and has a golden statue of a human-sized Vishnu as Shri Mukti Narayana.
According to Tibetan Buddhists, temples embody movement and energy for Dakinis. They believe that the statue inside represents the Avalokiteśvara (literally, "lord who gazes down (on the world)").
There are 108 taps in the courtyard of Muktinath, from which the scared water representing the water of Pushkarini (temple tanks) flows. Bathing under all these taps is said to remove all the sins of life.
The Kali Gandaki Gorge, also known as Andha Galchi, is a Nepalese Himalayan gorge formed by Kali Gandaki, a tributary of the Gandaki River. The upper half of the gorge is also known as named after the Thakali people, who thrived in the Trans-Himalayan trade. The gorge is located within a structural graven.
If the height difference between the river and the peaks is used to determine the canyon's depth, it is the deepest in the world. Its depth has yet to be determined. Dhaulagiri (8,167 m/26,795 ft) and Annapurna (8,091 m/ 26,545 ft) are separated by it.
Upper Mustang's capital is Lo-Manthang, a walled city or city behind a wall. Lo-Manthang is culturally and linguistically similar to Tibet. It is the central Buddhist cultural hub of the Upper Mustang and is named Lo after its inhabitant Lobas.
The thickness of the base wall is 1.5 m. Large uncut and un-mortared stones form the foundation, on which clay blocks are piled up. The height of the wall is 8.55 m, and there is a stone path (width 60-70 cm) that runs parallel to the wall. It is surrounded by a wall with five corners, each with several fortresses. The wall has 60 spouts and 25 openings.
There are three red monasteries, the Royal Palace, twelve chortens, and a Mani wall inside the wall. The Tiji festival is also held here, representing a prayer for peace and an endemic event. Snow-capped mountains like as Tilicho (7,134 m/ 23,406 ft), Nilgiri (7,061 m/ 23,166 ft), and Annapurna I (8,091 m/ 26,545 ft) can also be found in Lo-Manthang.
Chhoser Cave near Lo-Manthang is a collection of about 10,000 man-made caves built on cliffs. It is carved on the side of the valley, giving the Upper Mustang a mysterious charm. This site has been designated as a UNESCO temporary site since 1996.
The use of Chhoser Cave was divided into three periods. The burial chamber is said to be the first use. The cave was later used as a residential area in the 10th century to ensure safety. By the 1400s, the cave was considered a military observatory, a storeroom, and perhaps a meditation room.
The cave has been discovered with the remnants of partially mummified human bodies and skeletons. These bones have cut markings on them and date back to the arrival of Buddhism in the Mustang. It is believed to be related to the Bon religion that performs sky burial. Objects from the 12th and 14th centuries were also discovered. Ancient Buddhist decorative arts such as paintings, pottery, and precious manuscripts are among them. A manuscript containing Buddhist and Bonn literature was found.
The Jhong Cave, which is five stories high and built on a cliff, is one of these caves. It has 40 rooms and is accessible by steep stairs. The windows of the cave offer stunning views of the Chhoser Valley. Advanced tantric yoga and Tummo (a Tibetan breathing style that allows for heat creation at high elevations) are also made possible by the cave.
Royal Palace is located at 3,800 m (12,467 ft) in Lo-Manthang. Also known as the Tashi Gephel Palace, it is a spectacular example of 15th-century architecture. Clay, stone, and wood are used to build the five-story palace. Its dimensions are 45 meters (150 feet) east-west and 30 meters (100 feet) north-south. There is a sloping stone that serves as a seismic foundation.
The front door faces east and leads to the public areas of Lo Manthang. A four-story wooden gallery welcomes visitors at the entrance. It has Tibetan-style columns engraved on the first two floors. The infill on the upper 2nd floor is a simple wooden structure. The palace has about 130 rooms, shrines, and statues.
The palace is decorated with murals, inscriptions, and texts painted in white lime. It is surrounded by a wall: 12 stupas, three red monasteries, and mani stones near the palace.
Upper Mustang is a stronghold for Tibetan Buddhism. In Upper Mustang, a religion in exile has been followed in its purest form since the Chinese conquered Tibet. Tibetan Buddhism teaches Mahayana Buddhism by combining Tantric, shamanistic, and ancient Bon religions. Bon religion, which preceded Tibetan Buddhism, is also practiced in the region.
According to legend, Padmasambhava, the great creator of Tibetan Buddhism, came to the Mustang to protect Buddhism from the evil forces trying to destroy it. He is said to have done this before the construction of Samye, the oldest monastery in Tibet. Padmasambhava erected Lo Gekar in the eastern Mustang after his victory. It is the oldest monastery in Tibetan Buddhism. The family has protected the monastery for 15 generations.
In Upper Mustang, Tibetan Buddhism is practiced in numerous small and large monasteries. Tibetan Buddhism is reflected in prayer flags, mani stone walls, and Chortens adorned with stupas. The Upper Mustang Cave is also an archaeological site of ancient Buddhist art. It was the home of the entire community and monks and a place to practice Tibetan culture.
The Tiji Festival is a tribute to Tibetan Buddhism, held only in Lo-Manthang. Muktinath is also considered a sacred place for Tibetan Buddhism. As a result, Mustang is one of the remaining bastions of Tibetan Buddhism.
Beyond the Himalayas or Trans Himalayas, it presents a unique landscape. The Trans-Himalayan landscape is on the northern border of Nepal, north of the Great Himalayas, which leads to the Tibetan Plateau. The blocks of the Trans-Large Himalayas are Mustang and Manang.
Because the Himalayas obstruct monsoon advances, the Trans-Himalayan Landscape is under the rain shadow. The vistas of the snow-capped mountains to the south are a one-of-a-kind experience in Nepal. The location is adorned with beautiful views of the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna Mountain Ranges.
The Trans-Himalayan rock formations are one-of-a-kind. Along with grey rolling hills, beautiful red-colored cliffs create a unique landscape.
Luri Gumba is located near the settlement of Yara, beyond the walled city of Lo-Manthang. It is an abandoned monastery with a red wash covering 100 meters above the ground. It is related to Tibetan Buddhism's Nyingma Kargyupa Sect. Estimated to be 700 years old, it is cared for by the inhabitants of Yara.
It has two connection chambers and is supported by natural sandstone formation. The outer chamber comprises shrines, while the inner section comprises mural paintings of Mahasiddhas or enlightened saints. A canopy crowns the Luri Chorten, which rises three meters from the ground. The upper dome has four enormous frescos and is decorated with a small painting.
Luri Gumba is only accessible by a dirt trail, and the entrance to the lower caves requires mounting a wooden ladder. Monks have separate caverns near the Luri Gumba, where they live. Another Gumba called Tashi Kabum can be found on the road to Luri Gumba. It resembles the Luri Gumba in appearance. Luri Gumba, on the other hand, is more elaborate and well-preserved than Tashi Kabum. In winter, Gumba holds a local puja for the inhabitants. It consists of an unknown parade and dance.
Ancient Ghar Gumba is located at an elevation of 3,931 m (12,897 feet). It is made up of colored chortens that run down the slope and provide a spiritual experience. Prayer flags are strung between the chortens. The entrance is greeted by a mani wall carved with Om Mani Padme Hum. Ghar Gumba is adorned with breathtaking rock art.
Views of mountains like Nilgiri (7,061 m / 23,166 ft) and Annapurna (8,091 m / 26,545 ft) provide a visual feast for your trip to Gumba. The irrigated land creates a bright scene, contrasting dramatically with the red-colored rock formations. Along the way, shepherds can be found in huge herds of goats.
Guru Padmasambhava erected the Ghar Gumba in the 8th century, and it is associated with the Nyingma Buddhist sect.