The upper Mustang with the holy lake of Damodar Kunda is the typical venture that combines the sacred with the wild from wherein the holy go to discover their roots in the wilderness where the pungent smell of brown fertile earth is fresh from the glistening dewdrops that fall from the peaks of the Damodar Himal to the north & the theater that makes up the Annapurna massifs to the south. On the one hand, it's a deep exploration of the virtual unknown & on the other the holy visit the Damodar Lakes despite its rugged trails to get there; to wash away the sins of a lifetime & make special peace with the gods.
Damodar-Kund is wonderfully situated in the protective laps of the high Himalayas in the Upper Mustang area of Nepal at an elevation of 4890m & has a unique history of its own. The Damodar lakes are a more or less 3 days walk northeast of the mountain highway of Mustang & pretty close to the Tibetan border…you could just walk through if the border guards allowed you to. This is a chilly windy area where the gust of winds blow at a tremendous force & the Damodar Kund area is best if avoided during the rainy season of June-July despite it falling in the rain shadow zone, it's fantastic to visit this area in August during the full moon because of a big annual festival that is held here & attracts many Hindu & Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world. The views from the lake are scenes that are out of this world. Since the Damodar lakes fall in restricted zones of the Upper Mustang area between Kagbeni & Muktinath, visitors need special permission to visit this particular area.
The little 'forbidden' kingdom of Mustang that's home to the Damodar Kund was completely inaccessible until spring 1992. Strangers were not allowed to enter this area except for a few people on government work. And it is precisely this that has created all the Legends and Myths that have sprung up around the history of mustang, the kingdom of Lo as it is also called. But some of these legends are true as some of the mountain caves discovered by archaeologists seem to point a line of truth in the mysteries that have clouded mustang – the kingdom of Lo as it has been called, for centuries.
The pathway that takes us to the capital of mustang [Lo Manthang] goes along the Kali Gandaki river, past uncanny rock formations made of sandstone, granite or limestone, past steep soil-cones and slopes from which the strong winds seem to have eroded away the better form of this massive rock formations. Damodar Kund & Lo Manthang, the capital of the kingdom of mustang, seems to appear from the dust of the earth over a million years to us like an ancient long lost kingdom from a much-forgotten past.
As per records, the Dalai Lama had once said that Mustang is regarded as one of the few areas in the Himalayas with an intact Tibetan culture…where time seems to have stopped in this dusty, windy ancient kingdom of a thousand moons.
Upon your arrival at Kathmandu International Airport, you will be welcomed by a representative from Adventure Club Trek. After sorting out your custom formalities (Visa etc) you will be then transferred to your respective hotel in our private vehicle and give you some time to freshen up. After this, we will attend an orientation about your trek led by our Trekking leader over a welcome dinner.
The exciting day begins with a cultural tour of various medieval sites in Kathmandu. We drive to visit the UNESCO listed world heritage sites- Pashupatinath temple (the biggest Hindu shrine), Boudhanath (largest Buddhist Stupa in Nepal), Swayambhunath (A fine Buddhist Stupa at the hilltop of Kathmandu) and the Kathmandu Durbar Square (an open museum and abode of Kumari). Coming back from the sightseeing, take part in a short briefing and trip preparation.
Early morning drive by tourist bus to Pokhara. The road is winding and the lush vegetation attracts us along with the Himalayan views. It takes approximately 6 hours to reach there. It is a city of Lakes and natural wonders. You can enjoy the boating on Phewa Lake, the same day.
After breakfast, we transfer to the airport for the short but spectacular mountain flight to Jomsom, the district headquarter of Mustang. On arrival at Jomsom, we meet our crew members and after doing some sorting and packing arrangements, we begin our trek to Kagbeni. The trail follows the right bank of the Kali Gandaki River and crosses several side tributaries, mostly crossed by simple bridges and finally reaching Ekley-bhatti village (2,740m) where we have lunch and continue walk to Kagbeni, which lies at the bank of two rivers. Kagbeni, an interesting windswept village situated on the main age old Trans Himalayan salt trade route to Tibet via the Upper Mustang area.
We begin the trek to Upper Mustang from Kagbeni with a restricted area trek permit check-up. Then we follow the Kali Gandaki river bank, which is the sandy and windy trail. Crossing the narrow alley, we reach to Tangbe village. The surprising scenery includes whitewashed Tibetan Buddhists’ houses and fluttering prayer flags. The trail is also dotted by the barley and buckwheat farms. Steadily, we reach to Chele.
The trails now demand a treeless, waterless slog, switch-backing up the side of a spectacularly steep canyon and onto the Chele La (3630m) with views of Tilicho Peak, Yakawa Kang, and Damodar Danda are possible. The trail then descends to the village of Samar. Three hours on is the village of Syanboche, and then gently rises to the Syanboche La (3850m) where our route enters another huge east-west valley. Descend to a large painted chorten where three paths meet above the beautiful village of Gelling.
Trek from Giling to Ghami (3490 m.) via Ghami La (3520m.) From Giling the trail climbs gently through fields, up the center of the valley, passing above the settlement of Tama Gun and an imposing chorten. You then begin a taxing climb across the head of the valley to the Nyi La [3840m]. The descent from the pass is quite gentle and about half an hour further on we come to a trail junction; the right trail is the direct route to Charang, the left trail leads to Ghami. Ghami is a large white-washed village sheltered by overhanging cliffs.
Today's walk is perhaps through the driest part of Mustang. Finally, you come to Tsarang, a large spread-out village at the top of the Tsarang Chu canyon. At the eastern end of the village is a huge dzong (fortress0 and a red Gompa which houses an excellent collection of statues and thangkas.
We will spend part of the morning exploring the interesting village of Tsarang and its large monastery, before setting out for Lo Manthang. We climb gently above the valley to a large isolated chorten that marks the boundary between Charang and Lo. The trail then broadens and eventually you get your first view of the walled city of Lo Manthang. The city has only one entrance so you circumambulate the wall to the gate on the northeast corner.
Today we will explore two areas around the town. Firstly, the Namgyal Gompa situated on a nearby hilltop. This is an important monastery for the local community and also acts as a court. We will also visit the village of Tingkhar in the valley northwest of the town; the site of three Gump's and the Raja's summer palace.Within the town you should explore the tall Champa Lakhang or God House; the red Thubchen Gompa; the Chyodi Gompa and the Entrance Hall (to what?). Also visit the four-storey palace of the Raja (King) with its panoramic views. Overnight at Teahouse.
After breakfast; we leave the village and keep by gently ascending until we reach Day-La with dusty trail from where the last view of the Lo-Manthang. We continue our trail for a while and follow the left trail after skipping the trail to reach Tsarang. The trail gently climbs on the ridge viewing the scenic landscapes until reaching small pass. Then, we climb down a steep and dusty descent in the narrow path. We again come to a wide plateau and descend rocky gully and knee crunching trail until reaching Dhi village. We will have lunch here. After lunch we cross by a suspension bridge over the Kaligandaki River and make a short steep climb. Then, we follow along the upstream of Puyung Khola viewing the unbelievable landscapes and innumerable caves at the stone walls until reaching Yara village. Overnight at Teahouse.
Today, we climb up to reach Luri Cave Monastery and visit that interesting Cave Monastery. After that, we follow the barren valley after crossing 5100meter pass; today we prepare pack lunch due to no appropriate cooking possibilities on the trek. Overnight at Teahouse.
The trail continues with ups and downs. After crossing another 5600meter pass we will reach High Altitude Damodar Kunda. We need to make the lunch pack due to no appropriate cooking possibilities in the trail.
Muktinath is one of most significant destination for Hindus pilgrimage. It also holds an important place for the Buddhists. In the morning, we visit the Muktinath Temple of the Lord Vishnu. For the Hindus, the region is a "Muktikhsetra"or the region of liberation or salvation. There are water spouts channeled for the stream running above the temple. There is also a Buddhist Monastery nearby. Also enjoy the magnificent views of Dhaulagiri peak from Muktinath. Muktinath itself demonstrates the religions harmony in Nepal. From Muktinath, we continue back to Jomsom. Overnight at Teahouse.
Today also we have long trail. Cross the suspension bridge and follow the short river route. After crossing the river, we steeply climb up to reach a small pass. Then the trail goes straight to Paha (shelter house) where we make our lunch. Here is small water tap for drinking water. After the lunch break we continue crossing many small passes until we reach the top of the hill, then the trail steeply descends and we encounter strong winds until we reach Tetang village.
After breakfast, we follow our trail through the village after passing the scenic Mani walls. Then, we climb up to the wide valley. After walking the plateau, we keep ascending until reaching small pass from where we can see the high mountains and picturesque view of Muktinath. Then, we drop down to the small stream and cross by a suspension bridge. After that, we enter in the village of Chhyongar and follow the level trail until reaching Muktinath passing Kani/gate.
Muktinath is one of most significant destination for Hindus pilgrimage. It also holds an important place for the Buddhists. In the morning, we visit the Muktinath Temple of the Lord Vishnu. For the Hindus, the region is a "Muktikhsetra"or the region of liberation or salvation. There are water spouts channeled for the stream running above the temple. There is also a Buddhist Monastery nearby. Also enjoy the magnificent views of Dhaulagiri peak from Muktinath. Muktinath itself demonstrates the religions harmony in Nepal. From Muktinath, we continue back to Jomsom.
Early in the morning, we take a picturesque Himalayan flight with the views of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, Fishtail, Himchuli and others. Then transfer to the hotel. As your choice, we take you for the sightseeing tour. Davis falls, Mahendra cave, international mountain museum and the world peace Stupa are some of the wonderful sights to see. Then you can enjoy boating on the Phewa Lake.
After a rejuvenating morning breakfast, we get ready to leave Pokhara behind and drive to Kathmandu. Once we reach Kathmandu, your guide can help you with any souvenir shopping or other special requests. Farewell dinner from Adventure Club Trek.
Adventure Club Trek will manage a farewell drive to the international airport for your final flight departure. Meeting you and serving you was a wonderful experience over the weeks. We are sure you enjoyed a wonderful holiday in beautiful Nepal. We hope you will remember us in the years ahead.
Flight Delay in Jomsom:
Twin Otter is the primary mode of transport from the airstrip at Jomsom. This service is fairly dependable. Sometimes, flights may be canceled due to mountain weather conditions or other technical problems. In such a case, Adventure Club Trek will organize the alternative available road transportation to ensure you are on schedule for your international flight. The expense of the road transport will be managed from the reimbursement received from the flight ticket after the deduction of the cancelation charge. So please note that there will be no refund of the flight from Jomsom to Pokhara if the alternative road transportation is consolidated.
Note: Your safety is of the utmost concern whilst you are traveling with Adventure Club Trek. We will make every effort possible to follow the original itinerary but we reserve the right to change that itinerary if a segment of it becomes a safety issue. Certain mountain regions are remote, natural disasters can happen, weather conditions can decline and there can be illness or an injury. To avoid dangerous situations we may occasionally have to make changes to the itinerary to ensure everyone’s safety. That having been said, Adventure Club Trek will strive to provide you with the best possible trekking experience and to keep your safety our number one priority. We thank you for your understanding.
Prior to all our treks and expeditions, we host a Pre-Trip meeting in Kathmandu. The primary purpose of the meeting is to provide an opportunity for individuals to ask questions about the forthcoming trek and to introduce them to other team members. The meeting covers topics as diverse as personal equipment and acclimatization and usually involves a hike and some skills training. We believe that the pre-trip meeting is very important in order to better prepare for the trekking.
Best time to Trek to Upper Mustang :
From April to November are favorable months to trek to Upper Mustang. Upper Mustang is a rain Shadow area, thus, we can do trekking in this part of Nepal even in the monsoon season (mid-June-mid Sept), while during monsoon, trekking in popular trails of Everest and Annapurna is not recommended.