"Help us in helping the helpless !!" Authentic Tibetan culture survives only in exile in a few places like Mustang which has had long historical and cultural ties with Tibet. For as long as space endures and for as long as living beings remain, until then may I too abide to dispel the misery of the world.

- His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama


About Mustang

The ancient kingdom of Mustang also known as the forbidden kingdom is in a spectacular location on a high plateau in central Asia, hidden behind an almost impassable wall of the world's highest mountains. The dominant geological feature is the Kali Gandaki gorge. This is the deepest gorge in the world, and is part of an ancient trade route stretching from Lhasa, across the Tibetan plateau and then down the gorge via Nepal to India. The isolation of Lo-manthang was at times helpful in maintaining a degree of independence during periods of conflict between warlords.

There are close cultural ties between Tibet and Lo-manthang. Due to its proximity to Tibet and the arid mountainous terrain that surrounds and protects upper mustang-culture, religions and language have remained entirely Tibetan Its people, known as the Loba, speak a dialect of Tibetan, and geographically Lo-manthang is a western extension of the same plateau, with the same problems of inaccessibility. It's an austerely beautiful land demanding and harsh: alternately sun drenched and snowdrift, whipped and scoured by fierce, ceaseless wind a land where comfort is scarce. With the onset of winter most people here bundle up and descend to the Himalayan foothills, and return only after the temperatures go up again. Most of the people engage in farming during summer, though there is little vegetation as the region itself is high mountains desert. It is reached only by foot or on horseback from Jomsom, nearest airport.

Geography of Mustang

Mustang covers 2,563 square kilometers and lies on the border of Nepal with Tibet. Over 8,000 people live in around 1,200 households in 32 villages and hamlets. Speaking a number of Tibetan dialects, they are culturally Tibetan, following traditional forms of Buddhism. Mustang lies above 11,000 feet, with harsh climatic conditions. Very little rain falls. Tibetan Buddhism's history has flourished in Mustang since the 8th century. Following the Chinese occupation of Tibet, it is in danger of extinction unless efforts are made to pass it on within the Tibetan community outside it's homeland.