4th.-18th.October 2018, Trek through Mustang, the Kingdom of Lo
Locked away in the wilderness of the Himalayas, on the very edge of the Tibetan plateau, lies the secret, ancient kingdom of Mustang, known to its inhabitants as the land of Lo. After decades of isolation its borders are now open but little has changed in Mustang and for many this is a kingdom more Tibetan than Tibet. It is a spectacular land whose history and culture are steeped in ancient customs and traditions. The trek does not require special technical abilities and involves about five – eight hours of walking per day. Accommodation is in very simple mountain lodges.
After two nights in Bhaktpur and one in Pokhara, we fly to Jomsom on a spectacular flight path that loops around the Annapurna range. Mustang is entered through the expansive Kali Gandaki gorge, one of the deepest in the world. From here the trek begins across some of Asia’s most breath-taking landscapes to Lo Manthang, the kingdom’s capital and the repository not only of art treasures, but also of centuries of beliefs. The trek passes through open valleys, deep ravines, desert canyons and grasslands with white-walled villages and ancient cave homes, all set against the magnificent backdrop of the soaring snow-capped Himalayan peaks. We can enjoy spectacular dawns and sunsets on an endless sea of mountains and discover a world that lives in another time, a world of silence, shadows and spirits.
Lo Manthang was the walled capital of the Kingdom of Lo from its founding in 1380 by Ame Pal who oversaw construction of the city wall and many of the still-standing structures. After the Shahs of Gorkha forged Nepal out of numerous petty kingdoms in the 18th century, Lo became a dependency but kept its hereditary rulers. This arrangement continued as long as Nepal remained a kingdom, until republican government began in 2008 and Jigme Dorje Palbar Bista (c. 1933–2016) lost his title. His protector King Gyanendra suffered the same fate, although the Raja or gyelpo of Mustang was 25th in a direct line of rulers dating back to 1380 A.D. Gyanendra was only the eleventh Shah ruler since Prithvi Narayan Shah conquered Kathmandu in 1768.