Mustang is an extraordinarily scenic and culturally rich region of Nepal.
In 1380, the independent Buddhist Kingdom of Lo was founded by Ame Pal, a warrior who, according to legend defeated a demon in order to woo a princess and became king. Other stories state he was descended from Songsten Gampo. Regardless of how he got there, one thing is sure, during his reign he built the Royal Palace and the walled city Lo Manthang, which retains much of its glory over 600 years later.
While Upper Mustang is known for its stark and stunning if harsh terrain and the medieval walled city of Lo Manthang, many people miss the hidden gems of Lower Mustang, as they pass through on their way to the northern region.
Much like twins the two sub-regions share a striking geographical resemblance with their arid mountains and eroded cliffs, and are connected by their bloodline—the Kali Gandaki River. Yet, akin to sisters, they diverge in significant ways. Lower Mustang flourishes with lush vegetation, abundant harvests, and a vibrancy that contrasts starkly with the dry, desert-like expanse of Upper Mustang.
Venturing 13 kilometers from Jomsom, one arrives at the Marpha Valley—a treasure trove of golden and red apple orchards. They offer not only the joy of apple-picking, but also the indulgence of pies, apple brandy, and delectable dried apple snacks.
Kagbeni, a Tibetan village, rests at the convergence of the powerful Kali Gandaki and Jhong rivers. Nurtured by these lifelines, its agricultural fields present a picturesque mosaic of greens and vibrant shrubs—a visual prelude to the transition into Upper Mustang’s high-altitude, windswept mountain desert.
Kagbeni is also known for its panoramic vistas: northward, barren lands stretch into the distance, while the south-eastern horizon is graced by the towering presence of Nilgiri and Tukuche Himalayas.
Lower Mustang has much to offer visitors and at Shinta Mani Mustang – A BENSLEY Collection, we have curated a series of wonderful adventures as part of your all-inclusive five night package.
Culture & People
Nepali is spoken throughout the
districts, in addition to the local dialects,
particularly amongst young people.
The dates of both are subject to the lunar cycles so can change but roughly the Tiji Festival is in the spring, usually in May and Yarthung is held in late summer in August or September.
Celebrated across all of Mustang, the popular Yarthung Festival denotes the end of summer and showcases the regions strong ties with horses and horse-riding. An exciting spectacle to observe, there are a series of horse races and other competitive competitions such as archery. Held over multiple days in both Lo Manthang and Muktinath, you’ll see riders showing their incredible skills doing stunts on horseback.
Ancient rituals and traditions lie in the heart of Mustang, echoing through generations.
The Dhekep festival, an annual event in Mustang, is a vibrant celebration where monks adorn masks representing various deities and wield traditional musical instruments, performing in a lively dance that unites the entire community in festivity. This sacred performance aims to dispel negative omens and bad luck, ushering in prosperity, well-being, and bountiful harvests for the community.
This delightful three-day festival is held in Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang in May at the Royal Palace. Local rituals find monks dressed in decorative masks and colourful costumes performing dances to cast out evil spirits.