There are many obscure villages in Lower Mustang that are mystical and can be reached on a day’s hike from Jomsom.
SPIN MASTER: A villager spins yarn using a traditional drop spindle in Lower Mustang.
When construction for the road from Beni to Lo Manthang was completed last year, many speculated that it would bring an end to Mustang’s mystery. After all, it was its inaccessibility and ‘forbidden’ status that attracted many searchers of Shangri-La to pay high entry permit fees and visit a region nestled on Nepal’s northern border with Tibet.
Eased accessibility has made the district more modern, but the locals are more wary of the need to preserve their unique Tibetian traditions. The annual archery competition in Marpha that has been organised for the past 100 years by Thakali families of the area has changed. While contestants could earlier come in casuals, the organisers in 2010 made it mandatory for participants to wear the official Nepali daura suruwal.
Lo Manthang may be the ultimate destination in Mustang but there are also many obscure villages in Lower Mustang that are as mystical and can be reached on a day’s hike from Jomsom.