Trip Introduction: 22 Days Upper Mustang Damodar Lake Trekking
Trekking Planner presents a wonderful adventure Upper Mustang and Damodar Lake Trekking, where all types of people can enjoy the trek.
Upper Mustang Damodar Lake, located on Nepal Far North-West Himalaya and close to Tibet border. Where walk takes you around beautiful country steeped with amazing and unique scenery, truly a paradise for photographers.
The beauty of Upper Mustang and Damodar Lake trekking is its picturesque landscapes enriched with lovely traditional villages. A great walk following the ancient Trans Himalaya Salt Trade / Caravan Route of Nepal and Tibet.
The trade between Tibet and Nepal still exists around the border beyond Karo-la pass, since the past few years motorable roads have reached Upper Mustang.
Making the region much accessible to reach the destination in a short frame of time, where’s trekking is more enjoyable.
Upper Mustang an extension of Tibet Far South-West plateau, from 14th Century onwards it became an independent kingdom. Separated from Tibet remote corners of Ngari province under the rules of King Ame Pal.
The first Raja/king to established Lo the Upper Mustang, the walled kingdom of Lo-Manthang stood as the capital. The fort palace still stands for the last former Raja Jigme Bista, who ruled the country for the last three decades.
Upper Mustang Trek with Trekking Planner allows you ample time to immerse within its beautiful location. Enclosed within the red canyon and high eroded cliffs dotted with hidden caves, that serves as a meditation and retreat place.
The adventure takes you around lovely villages enriched with an age-old tradition, cultural heritage steeped with Buddhism prayer monuments.
One of the main highlights of this wonderful Upper Mustang and Damodar Lake trek is exploring the local culture. Where walk leads you within the harmony of astonishing surrounding beautiful scenery in the backdrop of high snow-clad peaks. The other main attraction is the country’s dramatic desert-like landscapes and to reach within former walled kingdom Lo-Manthang.
At Lo-Manthang enjoy the rest day exploring its medieval-type town with narrow lanes and stone-paved streets. Visit the late Raja Jigme Parbal Bista palace located in the center of the former walled kingdom. Tour of Namgyal Gompa, Champa Lakhang (God House), Red Thubchen Gompa, Chyodi Gompa the highlights of Lo-Manthang. An extra day necessary and important to support acclimatization before heading towards our higher destination to Damodar Lake.
From Lo-Manthang after an exciting wonderful time, the adventure takes you further North direction towards the complete wilderness. The area around the remote Upper Mustang is more barren and yet beautiful that leads you close to high Damodar Himal. Damodar Kunda or Lake, located within the basin of Damodar Himal at the height of 6, 706 m high. Damodar Kunda at 4, 890 meters is tucked on a windswept valley, enclosed within range of Mustang Himal and Bhirkuti peak.
After a wonderful experience at Lo-Manthang, a walk leads to the high country of Upper Mustang to Dhi and Yara. The last permanent village from here onwards into the complete wilderness, as the walk takes you on off the beaten tracks.
An interesting and exciting walk around remote Northern areas of Upper Mustang an opportunity to explore its absolute wilderness. From Lo-Manthang onwards towards the isolated country, as trek leads to Dhi and Yara within rough and windswept terrain. The adventure continues heading due North-East to cross the highest point over Batsyak-La Pass at 5,490 m. Enjoy fabulous scenery of the wild country enclosed by a high mountain range of Damodar Himal.
Finally walk leads to our final destination at Damodar Kund, regarded as the holiest of all holy lakes around Himalaya. Where Hindu devotees and pilgrims pay homage, as Damodar Kund one of the sources of Kaligandaki River flows south. It is mentioned on Hindu epic Barah Puran; Lord Krishna has said a visit to this Kunda and takes a deep-bath, will be freed from all the sin.
Normally the area is visited from April to September, but the best time is during the full moon of August. One can enjoy a religious festival, get merged with many Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims to celebrate on the full moon.
After a grand time within beautiful surroundings, the adventure takes you back to human settlements at Tangye and Tetang villages. On the main trail, as the walk continues on a higher route to reach Muktinath, another holy site for Hindu and Buddhists. A great spiritual spot where thousands of Hindu make a pilgrimage to this sacred spot, every season of the year. Pleasant and scenic walks take you to isolated Tangye and Tetang village to reach Muktinath another highlight of the adventure. Muktinath a holy spot name means a place to liberate oneself located at 3,700 m high. A scenic location which also falls on-route Manang via high Thorang-La Pass, enjoy views of Nilgiris and Dhaulagiri Himalaya range.
At Muktinath with time to explore around the holy sites and temples dedicated to Hindu God Vishnu and visit Buddhist monastery.
From Muktinath, scenic walk downhill to Kaligandaki River valley then ends the adventure at Jomsom, the headquarter town of Mustang. Where next early morning short flight from Jomsom brings you to beautiful Pokhara blessed with natural beauty. A city on a lovely valley surrounded by green hills with close views of Annapurna, Manaslu Himalaya with Machhapuchare Himal.
Route to Upper Mustang Damodar Lake:
Upper Mustang and Damodar Lake trek take you to one of the remote countries of Nepal's Far Wild Western Himalaya. Although Upper Mustang, frequently visited since it was open from 1992 for outside visitors, remains as Restricted Area. Where all foreign travelers require a special permit to enter Upper Mustang from Kagbeni village onward. The area beyond Jomsom the headquarter town of Mustang, also known as the 'Last Forbidden Kingdom'. The whole is steeped with fascinating undisturbed Tibetan Buddhist culture, ancient monasteries, traditional villages, and retreats as well meditation caves.
The adventure begins with a drive or flight from Kathmandu to reach a scenic Pokhara, one of Nepal's charming cities. Blessed with the natural beauty of the verdant valley, green rolling hills, and snow-capped mountains of Annapurna and Manaslu Himalaya range.
Staying overnight in Pokhara, next early morning short flight to Jomsom facing a superb panorama of high Himalaya range. Where views of peaks can be seen on both sides of the plane windows. Annapurna Himalaya on the right side and Dhaulagiri on the left as the plane touches down at Jomsom airport.
From Jomsom town airport, after a refreshing break and getting organizing loading gear for the porters and mules. Where our trekking staff will make necessary preparation and then start the morning walk on a wide Kaligandaki River valley. A pleasant 3-4 hours walk on a windy valley to reach the first overnight stop at Kagbeni village. An interesting place located on the high side of Kaligandaki River, houses and the people of Kagbeni similar to Tibetan. Kagbeni the entrance to Upper Mustang, from here on a restricted region where the trail follows the old Trans-Himalaya Salt Trade route.
After Kagbeni adventure takes you to an arid and barren country enclosed within high canyon walls and windswept cliffs. The walk leads to Chusang village for the first overnight around Upper Mustang, a nice settlement adorned with Buddhism and Bon culture. The journey continues to the next lovely Samar and Ghiling villages as walk lead within arid terrain. Trees lines disappear for short high altitude bush and shrubs, few trees exist around villages like Populus and willow trees.
The adventure leads you right in the center of Upper Mustang on crossing Nyi La pass at 3,932 m, to Syangbochen. An interesting walk as you encounter one of the longest series of prayer wheels to reach Tsarang. A lovely village surrounded by a neat farm field of buckwheat and barley, an exciting place to explore its old monastery.
Tsarang one of the loveliest village where one can enjoy and immerse into local culture, from here onwards to Lo-Manthang. Our first main destination and highlights of the adventure before Damodar Kund / Lake, after an enjoyable time at Tsarang.
Walk for some hours to reach a river, as the route leads around Tholung valley, and then our route diverts north. As walk process towards gradual uphill to a top ridge marked with a large Chorten. The Buddhist Stupa marks the border between the two main towns and villages of Tsarang and Lo.
Descend leads to a stream within a wide windswept valley, and then enter into historical and former walled kingdom Lo-Manthang. An amazing place where in ancient medieval times it stood as a capital city of the whole Mustang region.
Where Trans Himalaya Salt Trade route and caravan passed through Lo-Manthang to Tibet border, which still exists to this day.
Spending two overnights at Lo-Manthang, on visiting places of importance, the adventure continues towards further North to remote Dhi / Yara.
Where overnights will be in spacious tents with full camping equipment support, as well separate kitchen unit of cook, kitchen staff. Besides guide and porters or pack animals to carry all camping gear, which makes one feel like a true adventure.
Walk finally takes you to Dhi and Yara for an overnight stop located on the mid-way of various routes. Dhi or Yara, the last permanent settlement as well on the way towards our destination Damodar Kund.
From Dhi and Yara, the adventure starts towards barren windswept and desert-like terrain, pack lunch is needed. As there are no shelters to cook hot lunch till overnight camp is reached. On route Gangra which is at 3,870 m, with time to visit Lori Gompa placed on a high cliff. This monastery includes fascinating paintings which is an optional side hike with a steep climb to reach on top. Besides an interesting tour of the monastery, great views of surrounding beautiful landscapes with snow-capped peaks.
After the first overnight in tented camps, a morning walk from Luri Gompa leads to summer grazing fields at 4,780 m high. Trek continues towards a wide plateau facing views of massive Dhaulagiri Himalaya, the rough trail climbs to a high ridge.
On crossing one of the high passes at 5, 100 m and descend to Ghuma Thanti, a remote isolated spot. A place with temporary huts and shelters built for Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims visiting holy Damodar Kund (pond/lake).
Finally, the walk takes you to the final highlight of the adventure at Damodar Kund a glacial holy lake. The source of the lake formed by the glaciers of Damodar Himal and Bhirkuti Himal, located on this scenic spot.
Explore the beautiful location far and away from the mainstream trail, and villages certainly a mystical and sacred place. After reaching our main destination return journey takes you down back to human settlement and villages at Tangye and Tetang.
On the return, the journey walk takes us to another holy place at Muktinath, where pilgrims of both Hindu and Buddhist religions. At Muktinath enjoy the tour around its sacred temples and monastery, and then back to Jomsom for a final overnight stop. Next early morning a sweeping flight reach you at Pokhara after a wonderful adventure on Upper Mustang Damodar Lake Trekking.
The Best Seasons for Upper Mustang and Damodar Lake:
Upper Mustang and Damodar Lake, open for nearly all seasons of the year except November to March months. During winter and early springtime, chances of much snow on trails and high passes. One of the few adventures around the Himalayas where one can enjoy the trek in monsoon time also.
As Upper Mustang falls within the rain shadow where monsoon dark clouds are blocked by the high Himalayan Mountain range. Where the climate is much similar to Tibet, actually an extension of Tibetan South West plateau, a dry arid country.
However, the best season and favorable times are from April to June, September, and October months, during the mid-spring and autumn seasons. When the weather is fine with crystal clear blue sky for glorious views of surrounding scenery and mountains. Chances of snowfall sometimes can be cold in the morning, late afternoon, and nighttime with an extra wind chill factor. From November onwards till March the villages will be almost deserted, where all natives migrate to lower warm areas to escape the harsh winter cold.