Nepal: From Kathmandu to Lower Mustang - MeanderApparel

December 13, 2023 5 min read

Our good friend and Meander brand ambassador Tristan Cameron Harper is a Scottish Mountain Guide, Stone Carver, ex professional Ice Hockey player, and overall awesome guy! When he told us about an upcoming bucket list trip to Nepal we were more than happy to give him one of our Recycled Puffers to test on his travels. While in Nepal, Tristan put together a handy travel guide filled with helpful insights and tips. The guide is perfect for any meanderers who have the travel bug and would like to know more about the bustling city of Kathmandu and the beautiful region of Lower Mustang.
 

 

The Must-See Spots of Kathmandu:

Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, is a vibrant cultural hub nestled in a valley surrounded by the Himalayas. It's known for its rich history, ancient temples, and bustling markets. The city offers a blend of traditional architecture, UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Durbar Square and Boudhanath Stupa, and a lively atmosphere filled with diverse cuisines and a mix of Hindu and Buddhist cultures.

     1. Boudhanath Stupa (Bouddha Stupa)

Witness or take part in the morning practice called Kora or circumambulation.  Circumambulation is a form of paying homage and respect to the stupa, which represents the enlightened mind of the Buddha. Walking clockwise is believed to accumulate positive karma and merit.

Tip Get there at first sunrise before all the tourists so you can really feel the raw elements of locals coming out for Kora, and if you listen close enough follow the sounds of Puja in a nearby temple, all are welcome if doors are open.

      2. Swoyambhunath (Monkey Temple)

Swayambhunath, often called the Monkey Temple, is an iconic Buddhist stupa located atop a hill showcasing some amazing views over Kathmandu. The stupa at Swayambhunath is one of the oldest and most revered Buddhist stupas in Nepal, believed to date back over 2,000 years. A large population of monkeys inhabit the surroundings, these monkeys are considered sacred and are an integral part of the temple's ambiance. They are seen as guardians of the site and are revered in Hindu mythology.

Tip – The Monkeys can be slightly aggressive, they do offer food at the entrance which l would advise if you want to get some good shots of the Monkeys but please be cautious.

      3. Kathmandu Durbar Square UNESCO World Heritage Site

A historic seat of the ancient Malla kings who ruled over the Kathmandu Valley from around the 12th century until the mid-18th century, the square is renowned for its stunning architecture and a really fun place to lose yourself among all the narrow streets. The Kumari, a young prepubescent girl revered as the living incarnation of the goddess Taleju, resides in the Kumari Ghar within the square. 

Tip – If you want to see The Kumari then l would advise going around Indra Jatra, Dasain and keep an eye out for other religious occasions as she may make an appearance.

 

 

The Highlights of Lower Mustang:

Lower Mustang, a region in Nepal, is renowned for its stark landscapes and the Annapurna Mountain range. The area offers a unique mix of Tibetan-influenced culture, ancient monasteries, and breathtaking views of the Himalayas. The town of Jomsom is a gateway to this region, and the trekking route to Muktinath Temple is a popular pilgrimage trail, showcasing arid terrain, stunning vistas, and cultural diversity.

     1. Flight from Pokhara to Jomson

Calling all thrill-seekers! Brace yourself for an epic flight from Pokhara to Jomsom amidst the towering Himalayas. Buckle up for a heart-pounding ride in small propeller planes, manoeuvring through the rugged terrain and high altitudes. Feel the rush as you navigate through thrilling turbulence, but trust me, the views of the Annapurna (approximately 8,091 meters) and Dhaulagiri ranges (elevation of about 8,167 meters) are absolutely jaw-dropping! It's a short ride, but oh, the adrenaline! If you love rollercoaster-like adventures and crave epic vistas, this is an absolute must-do for you!

Tip – Earplugs help with ears popping and sucky sweeties help also. A window seat is recommended so you can get to see the views, or even better sit at the front so you can be with the pilots for an even better view.

    2. Kagbeni, lower Mustang region of Nepal

A historically and culturally rich village that serves as a gateway to the Mustang region, often referred to as the Forbidden Kingdom. Mustang, an enclave of ancient Tibetan culture, was an independent kingdom with its monarchy. This region harbours a wealth of Tibetan traditions, boasting ancient monasteries, meditation caves, and revered religious sites. Its exclusivity demands special permission to visit, preserving its authenticity and intriguing allure for those seeking a truly unique cultural experience.

Tip – If you want to visit any of these sacred areas, make sure you have the correct permit to do so and l advise booking a local tour guide plus doing a little bit of research before you go to specific areas.

    3. Muktinath Temple, a sacred site in Nepal

Muktinath is revered by both Hindus and Buddhists as a place of liberation and spiritual cleansing. The landscape offers breathtaking views of snow-capped peaks, transitioning from rugged high-altitude deserts to lush valleys and dramatic cliffs, adding to its allure for tourists seeking both spiritual and natural beauty.  The serene ambiance, the chants of pilgrims, and the peaceful surroundings contribute to a profound and contemplative atmosphere.  This is a very special place for anyone on a spiritual journey or adventuring out of curiosity.

Tip - Witness and respect the religious practices of pilgrims, such as offering prayers, lighting butter lamps, and performing rituals. Be considerate and observe quietly without disrupting their devotions. You may also light candles and give offerings, be cautious of altitude sickness as the temple sits just below 4,000metres. For those wanting to seek some enjoyment instead of hiking, rent a horse and ride your way from Jomson to Muktinath Temple. There is also an abundance of treks in the area.

 

 

Top 3 Helpful Insights: 

  • Respect local customs and practices, like removing shoes before entering temples or homes, using your right hand for gestures. Engage respectfully in local customs, such as greeting with "Namaste" and seeking permission before taking photos of individuals or religious ceremonies.
  • Nepalese people are incredibly warm and hospitable. Embrace the sense of community by showing genuine interest in their culture, engaging in conversations, and being open to learning from locals.
  • Nepal's natural beauty is breath taking, but it's crucial to preserve it. Respect nature by minimising waste, using eco-friendly practices, and supporting responsible tourism. In trekking areas, follow established trails, respect wildlife, and be mindful of the impact of your actions on the environment and local ecosystems.
We'd love to say a massive thankyou to Tristan for taking our Recycled Puffer out on this amazing expedition! We're glad to see it kept you warm and unscathed on your adventures and can't wait until the next one! You can check out The Recycled Puffer Jacket for your own everyday adventures here


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