It is only 30 km From Marpha to our final destination – Muktinath. But we’ve decided to split them in two days, hoping that it will be warmer in Muktinath the next day. So we’ve ridden to Kagbeni – a Tibetan village, the entrance to the Upper Mustang region.
Mustang is an ancient “Forbidden Kingdom”, the Land of Lo and Lost Tibetan Kingdom. Forbidden for foreigners till 1992, it’s quite difficult to reach now days as well. Upper Mustang occupies a huge territory in Nepal and border with Tibetan region in China. Untill 2008 Mustang was a dependent Kingdom of the Kingdom of Nepal. Since democracy arrival to Nepal the last king of Mustang Jigme Dorje Palbar Bista retired in Kathmandu and Mustang became just a district.
Upper Mustang lies on the altitude of 3,500 m and up, sheltered by some of the worlds highest peaks, Annapurna and Dhaualagiri. Kagbeni is an entrance to the Upper Mustang and to travel beyond you would require a guide and quite expensive permit ($500).
Kagbeni is a big Tibetan settlement with 15th century monastery which you can visit for a fee of $2.
At the edge of Kagbeni there is a confluence of two rivers and for Hindus this is quite a religious site. There is a footbridge across the river nearby which marks the start of the road to Tiri – Mustang village that can be visited without a permit.
In Tiri we’ve observed the competition in archery, inside a special rectangular plot with quite high walls made of stones and mud. Each end of the plot has a stand with a target and archers shoots from one stands on another every game. It’s worth to mention that bows are made from bamboo, and arrows are mostly modern one, made from light alloy.