Trip Introduction: 22 Days Upper Mustang Damodar Lake Trekking 2023/2024.
Upper Mustang Damodar Lake is located in the Mustang district in Nepal’s North-West Himalaya region which is close to the Tibet border. Upper Mustang was once an independent kingdom, distinct from Tibet, ruled by King Ame Pal. The walled kingdom of Lo-Manthang served as its capital, and the palace of former Raja Jigme Bista still stands as a testament to its history.
Here walks can take travellers around a beautiful country steeped with amazing and unique scenery, truly a paradise for photographers. Upper Mustang has a wide-ranging area; however, the Damodar Kunda (Lake) is located at an elevation of roughly 4,890 meters (16,043 feet) above sea level.
Upper Mustang Damodar Lake Trekking is well-known for its beautiful scenery and traditional settlements. It travels over the ancient Trans Himalaya Salt Trade/Caravan Route that connects Nepal and Tibet. While trade between Tibet and Nepal continues along the border, recent years have brought about the construction of motorable roads connecting with Upper Mustang, making the region more accessible for those seeking to arrive quickly, while also ensuring that trekking remains an enjoyable adventure.
Trekking Planner Nepal'sUpper Mustang Trek provides ample time to immerse in this beautiful region, which is enclosed by red canyons and high-eroded cliffs, dotted with hidden caves used for meditation and retreat. One of the main highlights of this exceptional Upper Mustang Damodar Lake Trek is the opportunity to explore the local culture. The journey leads you through astonishingly beautiful surroundings, set against the backdrop of towering snow-clad peaks. Another major attraction is the dramatic desert-like landscapes of the region, culminating in a visit to the former walled kingdom of Lo-Manthang.
In Lo-Manthang, travelers have the opportunity to explore a medieval-style town characterized by its narrow lanes and stone-paved streets. They can visit the palace that once belonged to the late Raja Jigme Parbal Bista, located at the heart of the former walled kingdom. Additionally, tourists can embark on tours of key landmarks, including Namgyal Gompa, Champa Lakhang (often referred to as the God House), Red Thubchen Gompa, and Chyodi Gompa, all of which are considered highlights of Lo-Manthang. It is advisable for visitors to allocate an extra day for acclimatization before progressing to the higher destination of Damodar Lake.
Moving onward from Lo-Manthang, the adventure takes travelers further north into a realm of complete wilderness. The area surrounding the remote Upper Mustang may appear barren, yet it possesses an exceptional and rugged beauty that draws them closer to the majestic Damodar Himal. Damodar Kunda, a sacred lake, lies within the basin of Damodar Himal at a staggering altitude of 6,706 meters. Nestled in a windswept valley, Damodar Kunda sits at an elevation of 4,890 meters, surrounded by the striking landscapes of the Mustang Himal and Bhirkuti Peak. This leg of the journey promises an exciting and unforgettable experience for those embarking on this adventure.
Following the exploration of Lo-Manthang, the journey takes trekkers deeper into the rugged highlands of Upper Mustang, passing through Dhi and Yara. Beyond this point, the path leads into untouched wilderness, offering a unique opportunity to immerse in the pristine northern regions of Upper Mustang. The trek's pinnacle is the crossing of Batsyak-La Pass at an awe-inspiring elevation of 5,490 meters, providing panoramic vistas of the imposing Damodar Himal mountain range.
The ultimate destination is Damodar Kund, a sacred Himalayan lake revered as one of the holiest. Hindu pilgrims come to cleanse themselves spiritually with a sacred bath, and the most auspicious time to visit is during the full moon of August, coinciding with vibrant religious festivals.
The journey then retraces its steps, leading back to human settlements at Tangye and Tetang villages before progressing to Muktinath Temple, another significant religious site cherished by both Hindus and Buddhists. Muktinath, situated at an altitude of 3,700 meters, lies along the route to Manang via the high Thorang-La Pass, offering captivating vistas of the Nilgiris and Dhaulagiri Himalaya Range.
Exploring Muktinath entails visits to sacred sites dedicated to the Hindu God Vishnu and a Buddhist monastery. The adventure culminates with a picturesque downhill trek to the Kaligandaki River valley, followed by an early morning flight from Jomsom to the enchanting city of Pokhara. Here, amidst lush hills, travelers can relish stunning views of the Annapurna, Manaslu, and Machhapuchare Himalayan peaks.
Where does the Upper Mustang Damodar Lake Trekking Start and End?
Trekking Planner Nepal offers the Upper Mustang Damodar Lake Trek, an expedition deep into Nepal's remote Far Western Himalayas. This journey explores Upper Mustang, known as the "Last Forbidden Kingdom," where special permits are essential for foreign travelers. Here, an ancient Tibetan Buddhist culture thrives, adorned with monasteries, traditional villages, and meditation caves.
The adventure kicks off with a drive or flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara, a picturesque city nestled amidst the Annapurna Himalaya Range and Manaslu Himalaya Ranges. From Pokhara, an early morning flight transports adventurers to Jomsom, where breathtaking vistas of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Himalayas welcome them. The trek begins in Jomsom, following the Kaligandaki River valley to Kagbeni village, the gateway to Upper Mustang.
Traversing through an arid and barren terrain, the journey includes visits to villages like Chusang, Samar, and Ghiling. With increasing altitude, greenery dwindles, and high-altitude shrubs dominate the landscape. The trek continues to Nyi La pass at 3,932 meters, leading to Syangbochen, adorned with a mesmerizing series of prayer wheels. The trail eventually reaches Tsarang, a picturesque village surrounded by fields of buckwheat and barley, featuring an ancient monastery.
Tsarang is a significant stop before reaching Lo-Manthang; the historic capital of Mustang, known for its role as a pivotal trading hub. The route to Damodar Kund diverges from Tholung Valley and heads north, crossing a ridge marked by a large Chorten. Travelers then enter Lo-Manthang; a former walled kingdom steeped in history.
Following a two-night stay in Lo-Manthang, the trek continues north to the remote villages of Dhi and Yara, where spacious tents offer comfortable accommodations. From Dhi and Yara, the adventure leads through barren, desert-like terrain, necessitating pack lunches due to the absence of cooking facilities until reaching the overnight campsite. The route includes visits to Gangra and Lori Gompa, an enchanting monastery adorned with captivating paintings and panoramic views.
The journey proceeds further, leading to a wide plateau with stunning views of the massive Dhaulagiri Himalaya. Trekking up a high ridge and crossing a pass at 5,100 meters, travelers descend to Ghuma Thanti, a remote location. The climax of the journey is reached at Damodar Kund, a glacial holy lake formed by the glaciers of Mount Damodar and Mount Bhirkuti. After exploring this mystical site, the return journey takes trekkers through Tangye and Tetang villages, with a visit to Muktinath, a holy site cherished by Hindus and Buddhists.
The adventure concludes with a flight from Jomsom to Pokhara, offering a magnificent aerial perspective and marking the end of an unforgettable Upper Mustang Damodar Lake Trek.
What is The Best Season for Upper Mustang Damodar Lake Trek?
The Upper Mustang Damodar Lake Trek is accessible for most of the year, except during the months of November to March when heavy snow can make trails and passes challenging. This trek is unique in that it can also be enjoyed during the monsoon season. Upper Mustang is situated in a rain shadow, sheltered from monsoon clouds by the towering Himalayan Mountains. This creates a climate similar to Tibet, with a dry and arid landscape.
The ideal and most favorable times for the trek are from April to June and from September to October. During these mid-spring and autumn months, the weather is pleasant, offering clear blue skies for breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes and mountains. While there may be occasional snowfall, it generally occurs during the early morning, late afternoon, and nighttime, accompanied by a slight wind chill factor. From November to March, the villages in the region are mostly deserted as the native population migrates to lower and warmer areas to escape the harsh winter cold.
Accommodation Facilities During Damodar Lake Trekking.
Trekking Planner Nepal offers a variety of lodging facilities during the Damodar Lake Trek. The accommodation options can vary depending on the specific itinerary and location along the trek.
In the initial sections of the trek, such as Lower Mustang, there are tea houses or lodges available. These tea houses provide basic yet comfortable lodging options along with meals for trekkers. While the amenities may be simple, they offer a suitable place to rest and refuel.
As trekkers move deeper into the Upper Mustang Region, where the terrain becomes more remote, isolated camping facilities may be used. Trekking Planner Nepal is well-equipped to provide all the necessary camping gear, including tents, sleeping bags, and cooking facilities. This ensures that trekkers can explore areas where tea houses are scarce or nonexistent.
In some villages along the route, there may be opportunities for homestays. This unique experience allows trekkers to stay with local families, providing insights into the traditional way of life in the region. While the accommodations are basic, the cultural immersion is priceless.
In towns like Jomsom, Kagbeni, and Muktinath, there are hotels and guesthouses with more comfortable amenities, including attached bathrooms. These serve as major hubs along the trek and offer a chance to relax and recharge.
For the more remote and high-altitude regions of the trek, Trekking Planner Nepal often sets up tented camps. These camps come complete with dining tents and portable toilets, ensuring trekkers' comfort in these challenging environments.
When planning the Damodar Lake Trek with Trekking Planner Nepal, trekkers can expect a range of accommodation options tailored to the specific needs and locations along the route. It's essential to choose a reputable trekking company that can provide detailed information about the lodging facilities available on your chosen itinerary, as these facilities may become more basic and limited in the higher and more remote areas of the trek.
What should I Pack for Upper Mustang Damodar Lake Trek? /Accessories for Upper Mustang Trekking / List of things for Upper Mustang trek.
For a successful Damodar Lake trek with Trekking Planner Nepal, ensuring efficient packing and carrying only essential items is important to avoid unnecessary weight during your journey. It's advisable to seek guidance from Trekking Planner Nepal or the assigned guide from the company for specific requirements and recommendations, as we may offer additional insights based on current conditions and your chosen route. Adequate preparation and appropriate gear are crucial to ensure a safe and enjoyable Damodar Lake trekking experience. The recommended checklist provided by Trekking Planner Nepal comprises the following items:
Climbing boots (insulated and suitable for crampons), Crampons and ice axes, Climbing harness, Helmet, Locking carabiners and quickdraws, Prusik cords and slings, Mountaineering Gloves (multiple pairs, including liners), Gaiters, Ascender or jumar, Trekking poles (optional but useful).
Thermal shirts and bottoms that wick away moisture. Fleece or down jacket for added warmth during cold evenings. Waterproof and windproof jacket and pants to protect against rain, wind, and occasional snowfall. Trekking Pants, Trekking Shirts, warm hat, sun hat, and a buff or scarf for neck protection. Gloves, Footwear, Socks, and Gaiters: Optional.
Gear and Accessories:
Backpack, Sleeping Bag, Trekking Poles, Headlamp/Flashlight, Sunglasses, Water Bottle, Trekking Towel, Camera and Accessories Power Bank, Reusable Bags.
Passport and Permits, Money, Travel Insurance, Medications, Toiletries and Sanitary pads, Toothbrush, Toothpaste, and any personal hygiene items you may need.
Tea Bags or Snacks, Guidebook/Maps, Playing Cards/Books, Trekking Permit, and TIMS Card: Ensure you have all required documents.
Trekking Permits Required for the Upper Mustang Damodar Lake Trek.
Upper Mustang is categorized as a Restricted Area due to its proximity to the Tibetan border. Consequently, obtaining a permit (Upper Mustang Permit/Restricted Area Permit) to explore this region can be relatively expensive, with a fee of $500 per person for the initial ten days and an additional $50 for each subsequent day.
This Restricted Area Permit (RAP) remains valid from the moment you depart Kagbeni until your return, which means that for the Mustang Upper Valley Trek, you only require the RAP for a maximum of 10 days.
Alongside this, each trekker is also required to contribute $20 towards the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) for the entire duration of their journey.
For Upper Mustang, trekkers may not always require a Trekkers' Information Management System (TIMS) card; however, it's advisable to check with the authorities or Trekking Planner Nepal to confirm if it's necessary for your specific trek.
**Note that you cannot complete this expedition on your own. A minimum of two trekkers must be going with an authorized trekking organization.
What are the Communication/Electricity/Charging/Internet Facilities During Upper Mustang Trek?
Trekking Planner Nepal provides its guests with a SIM card to ensure easy communication while staying in Nepal. Throughout the trek, internet and cellular signals are available at most points, except when crossing high passes. Charging facilities can be found at teahouses, typically costing $2 to $3 for phones or cameras. For wireless internet facilities at teahouses, visitors often need to pay extra depending upon the service charge allocated by the place they reside. Given the desire to capture many beautiful moments, these charges can accumulate. To avoid high costs, it is recommended that trekkers carry a power bank or a small solar charger during their journey.
Altitude Sickness During Damodar Lake Trekking in Upper Mustang.
Altitude sickness, also known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), is a significant concern for trekkers and climbers exploring high-altitude regions like Upper Mustang in Nepal's Himalayas, including Damodar Lake.
Upper Mustang reaches elevations exceeding 4,000 meters (13,000 feet), putting trekkers at risk of experiencing altitude sickness. This condition occurs when the body struggles to adjust adequately to the lower oxygen levels found at high altitudes. The risk of altitude sickness increases when you ascend rapidly without allowing your body sufficient time to adapt.
Symptoms of altitude sickness can vary in severity and may encompass headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, loss of appetite, and difficulty sleeping. In some cases, altitude sickness can progress to life-threatening conditions such as High-Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) or High-Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE).
Therefore, it's crucial for trekkers exploring destinations like Damodar Lake in Upper Mustang to be aware of the risks associated with altitude sickness and to acclimatize properly by ascending gradually and giving their bodies time to adjust to the changing oxygen levels at higher altitudes.
Is travel insurance required for the Damoder Lake trek?
- When embarking on your Upper Mustang Damodar Lake Trek with Trekking Planner Nepal, it's advisable to consider obtaining travel insurance. This insurance can serve as a safeguard in unforeseen situations, such as trip cancellations, medical emergencies, or the loss or theft of personal belongings.
- In the unfortunate event of trip cancellations or unexpected incidents during your travel, travel insurance can assist in recovering a portion or the entirety of your incurred expenses.
- Nepal is generally regarded as a safe destination. Nonetheless, for the most current information and guidance, it is recommended to refer to your home government's official website.
- While in Nepal, you may occasionally encounter demonstrations, which should be avoided if encountered.
- While theft is not widespread, it can still occur. To safeguard your valuables, ensure they are kept out of sight.
- Trekking Planner Nepal provides a secure office locker where you can store your valuables during your journey for added peace of mind.