Print Edition - 2018-09-22  |  On Saturday

High times at THE village of lo

Sep 22, 2018-

Lo Manthang, admittedly, is a hard place to get to; you know that much once you leave the snaking Baglung Highway at Beni Bazaar and start your climb up precipitous roads hugging the gushing Kali Gandaki. The landscape becomes more and more sparse with each new town you hit—Tato Pani, Ghasa, Lete, Marpha—until you arrive at the barren moonscape that is Mustang.

Once you are at windy Jomsom—the gateway to Upper Mustang—you slowly begin to grasp why this region holds so much pull among travellers from across the globe. A desolate high desert hemmed in magnificent peaks, Mustang is harsh and unforgiving, even while it leaves you gasping for more, literally.

Leaving lower Mustang behind at Jomsom and Kagbeni, as you make your way up to the Forbidden Kingdom, the landscape becomes ever more rugged and you find yourself in the company of those thirsting for adventure—syndicate jeep drivers howling past hairpin turns and Crossfire-borne bikers kicking up a hurricane.

There is so much to see, so much to do in Mustang but invariably, like everywhere you travel, it is the people that leave the deepest impressions on your mind. All the while I bumbled through Mustang, I couldn’t help but think about how tough, both physically and mentally, the residents of such a rugged country must be. How, despite the cold, the wind, the snow, the sheer remoteness, they still welcome you  with warm smiles and genuine hospitality, maybe even apple brandy.    

The kingdom of Lo, admittedly, is a hard place to get to; but then that is exactly why the reward is all the more sweet.

Against the gurgling Kali Gandaki river.

Protein and Vitamin D.

Bleating polka dots.

 

A pocket full of sunshine.

Illuminated.

Commuting in style.

Blue skies, scorched earth, blessed soul.

 

Text and photos: Pramin Manandhar

Published: 22-09-2018 07:32

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