Kingdom of Mustang
Anyone traveling to South Asian Nepal should rarely have the opportunity to pay a visit to the former Buddhist kingdom of Mustang. Even today, the district of the same name in the north of the central region of Nepal is reminiscent of the Kingdom of Mustang, which existed until the end of the 18th century, which occupied the northern part of today’s district and was closely tied to Tibet.
Geography and history
The kingdom, located at an altitude of around 2,500 meters, covers an area of around 2,500 km² and is located in the north of the mighty Annapurna massif. Far to the north, near the border with Tibet, Lo Manthang is the former capital of Mustang. Jomsom, further south, is the capital of today’s district and can be reached from Pukhara by plane. Many of Mustang’s 30 or so settlements are located in a valley formed by the Kali Gandaki River. Today around 6,000 people live in Mustang.
The once independent kingdom was established at the beginning of the 14th century. After being annexed by Nepal, it retained autonomous status until the middle of the 20th century, with the monarchy continuing as a kingdom from Lo until 2008. A permit is still required to visit the former kingdom.
Testimonies of the former kingdom
Today, the Mustang, which is often only visited on study trips or as part of trekking tours, impresses with its barren landscape surrounded by mighty mountain ranges. In Jomsom you can find interesting information about the former kingdom in the Mustang Eco Museum. In neighboring Muktinath, a famous pilgrimage site invites you to visit. In places like Lo Manthang, Tsarang and Namgyal, the visitor encounters monasteries inhabited by Buddhist monks, which are currently being lovingly renovated. The main town of Lo Manthang, located on a plateau, is protected by a mighty red wall, behind which there is also the “Royal Palace” consisting of an old, painted house made of wood and clay. Buddha figures and numerous prayer flags surround it. It is still inhabited today from the former king who ruled until 2008. The only small café in town is right next door. The place can be reached by road from the south as well as from Tibet.
Take a study trip to Nepal and visit Kathmandu, the capital, as well as the cultural and political center of Nepal. Admire the main attractions of Kathmandu city and visit the old town, especially Durbar Square, Kasthamandap, Shiva Maju Deval Temple, the old Royal Palace – Hanuman Dhoka, the Great Bell, Jaganath Temple, Taleju Temple, etc. The Kathmandu Valley with the royal cities of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A city trip through Kathmandu will definitely be worth it!
The city is idyllically situated at the foot of the Himalayas, it has around 180,000 inhabitants and is located in a fertile and breathtakingly beautiful valley at an altitude of 827 m. The city name Pokhara is very old and translated means small lake or pond. Compared to the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, the temperatures in Pokhara are slightly higher. In the winter months of December and January the thermometer rarely drops below 7 ° C, in June it can get very hot with up to 35 °. The main attractions include the nearby peaks of the Himalayas and Fewa Lake. Trekkers feel particularly at home in Pokhara as the central starting point for their extended tours. The so-called Annapurna Loop has also been accessible to hikers since 1977. The area is also wonderfully suitable for visitors who want to experience one or two day tours. There are plenty of scenic highlights to marvel at, the many idyllic corners in and around Pokhara can best be explored by bike. The place stretches from north to south over a total length of a little more than 11 km. Pokhara consists of the three parts city center, airport area andFewa Lake. The city center is characterized by the new Mahendra Pul business district together with the bazaar district to the north.
City of calm
Three legendary royal cities are located in the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal: Lalitpur, Kathmandu and Bhaktapur – this is the smallest, and is located on the Hanumante Khola River. Unlike its lively sister cities, Bhaktapur enchants travelers with its pleasant tranquility. The city only has around 81,000 inhabitants. You will look in vain for cars in this picturesque place.
For this you will be rewarded with history at every nook and cranny. Bhaktapur was the capital of the Malla Empire from the 14th century. Magnificent temples and palaces, some of which are still preserved today, bear witness to a glorious past. The Royal Palace with the Golden Gate was formerly part of a fortress and is likely to be one of the oldest palaces in the Kathmandu Valley. The Golden Gate is also the entrance to the Taleju Temple and leads to the centerpiece of the palace, the Taleju Shrine, which was built for the patron goddess of the Mallas, Taleju.
Life like in the Middle Ages
If you stroll through the temple complexes with their 170 individual temples of Bhaktapur, you will feel as if you have been transported to the Middle Ages. The pagodas shape the cityscape as well as the pottery market, the many music groups, the vegetable carts that are pulled through the alleys or the freshly harvested rice that is laid out to dry on thick bast mats. Bhaktapur is the center for Nepalese handicrafts and is considered the capital of Nepalese culture. Pottery rivals wood and metalwork, masks with mandalas.
Arts and Culture
Art can also be found at the National Art Gallery, which features ancient thangka paintings, as well as stone, metal, and wood art from the Middle Ages. The walls of the old Malla Palace are decorated with wall paintings from the Malla period. The history of this art and the development of style can be followed in the Museum of Wood Carving. The peacock window is one of the most beautiful works. In the immediate vicinity there is a museum for bronze and brass arts. The impressive collection from the Middle Ages shows ritual vessels, but also simple household items.