MUSTANG – The Forbidden Kingdom

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MUSTANG – The forbidden kingdom 

 

We plan, plan and plan to do things that we’ve always wanted to do and to go to places we’ve always dreamt of going and then… life happens! As a result, we are provoked to push those dreams in the back of our heads and carry on with the mundane like a horse led by a bridle! This is exactly what’s been happening to me and my long awaited vacation which I have been postponing because of so many “important” things that’s been happening in my life! Well, if that’s what being an adult means then I would definitely not mind “Benjamin Buttoning”.

In spite of all odds this time I somehow managed to put things aside and finally marked a date with my squad. We were tired of parties and always landing up in Pokhara, which no doubt is an amazing city, but this time we needed something more adventurous yet peaceful. We couldn’t think about any other place beyond Mustang which was ranked the third most popular destination in the world in 2013 by the most famous travel guide book, the Lonely Planet. The lost kingdom of Tibet is said to have an enchanting aura with its rich natural beauty and ancient culture and tradition and it should be visited once in a lifetime. Tibetan is widely spoken and the traditional culture of Tibetan is still prevalent throughout the region. It is said that the caves and the monasteries house priceless historical treasures which really sound appealing. As per history the name Mustang is derived from the Tibetan word ‘mun tan’ which translates in Nepali to mean ‘fertile plain’ and for centuries it has been the safest trading route between Nepal and Tibet. Finally, we mapped out a rough itinerary to visit this exclusive destination and we didn’t want to plan out everything but rather wanted to take things as it comes and keep things spontaneous. The eight of us headed out for our adventure on the decided date and all that followed were simply mind-blowing. 😀

Day 1 – We left from Kathmandu in the afternoon as the plan was to stay the night in Pokhara and leave for Mustang early morning. We hired a micro bus from our regular agent as it’s  more convenient for us as we could go at our own pace, make unlimited noise, stop where we want and most importantly play our own music, trust me… the music in some local vehicles is so torturous it makes you want to jump right out of the moving vehicle! Although the drive was pretty long we had a great time as the company was awesome. We reached our destination in the evening and had just the right amount of time to wash up and loiter down the roads and lounge around our all time favorite Lakeside.

Day 2 – We have some really good friends in Pokhara so thankfully we had booked our vehicle before hand and we also got a good deal else the trip uphill is pretty expensive. The ride was very serene and picturesque in the beginning but as we started our climb it got really bumpy and dusty as the roads were crazy! It’s amazing how the drivers around that area drive, hats off to them! As we went further up, the view got more and more shockingly beautiful, the mighty mountains towering over us, the river steadily flowing downhill and the magical rainbow… it was Picture Perfect! After a long bumpy yet fun ride we reached Jomsom in the late evening and found a perfect hotel to rest those aching bones. All we needed was a hot bath, good food and cozy clean beds which we luckily did in this welcoming lodge called “Trekkers Inn”.

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We got so much love ❤ …

Day 3 – After a really long and sound siesta and heavy breakfast we headed out for a hike towards the heart shaped lake called the Dhuba lake, which was around one hour from Jomsom Bazaar. It was surreal walking along those tiny streams, wild flowers and pretty stones witnessing beauty at its best and singing at the top of our lungs like kids with no worry in the world and the wind howling along with us! The wind was crazy though and was literally throwing us off-guard. Once we reached the lake we were thrilled with delight and admiration. The lake was so breathtaking I don’t have the words to express it. I still miss the moment when I sat by the lake and got lost in my own little world.

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The surreal hike towards the heart shaped enchanted lake…

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The crazy wind blowing on my face… I feel good!

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Rekindle the fire in me! (My hair has an uncanny resemblance to a flame from a fire in this picture and I’m loving this artistic approach!) 

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Sumi lost in her Wonderland!

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The Enchanted Lake and me…

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Trish doing what she does best… living in the present! 🙂

Day 4 – The Plan of Action for this day was pretty tight. Hence we left early morning as we had to visit Muktinath and also Kagbeni on the way back. The further we went the roads were literally “Off road” and the climb was steeper and the fall would definitely be harder! However, it was an amazing mixed feeling, we were in awe witnessing the larger than life beauty of the place and scared for our lives as the roads were too dangerous. Finally, we reached Muktinath and we had an option to ride a horse (which all of us loved) to reach the temple which is a very popular Buddhist and Hindu pilgrimage site. Once we reached the temple we took the sacred bath in the legendary 108 bull faces through which water pours out continuously and boy was it fun! We went bonkers running under the long line of spouts pouring chilled water screaming simultaneously with delight and shock of being hit by the freezing water! After the bath and religious rituals we resumed our exercise and explored more of the place and later headed towards Kagbeni which was another mysteriously charming small town. The narrow dark lanes and the doors with weird hangings were creepy and showed the darker side of the town.

 

 

Day 5 – We headed back to Pokhara  on the fifth day but on the way back we had lots of places to check out. We went to Marpha which is very popular for apples and Kalopani where we went for a short hike in the forest and also halted for lunch. Once we reached our hotel in Pokhara we were so drenched out of energy we actually had to coax ourselves to take a shower and I think I personally had never appreciated room service so much in my entire lifetime as that particular day. We slept like babies that night and dreamt of pretty things. 🙂

Day 6 – 10 – So the rest of the trip we spent in Pokhara simply chilling and relaxing. We also went for stand up paddling, a swim in the Fewa lake, paragliding, Pamey for the delicious fishes and visited some of our favorite pubs like Busy bee, Oxygen and Trisara. Sometimes I wish I lived in this amazing city as there are so many things to do rather than the mundane things. Well, I guess that’s the reason why my friends and me always end up here when ever we need a break!

The trip was incredible and without a perfect group nothing would have been possible. We have been going for trips together since a long time now and I cant imagine travelling with another bunch of people, I know we should “Never say Never” but we share such a strong bond and we feel so comfortable and at ease with each other we just don’t need to try, everything is so natural and real. We really had an amazing time together like always and I shall cherish each and every moment of it. I especially miss our chats at night which used to extend till midnight until our eyelids would feel too heavy to keep it open. Those moments were priceless and I am simply in short of words, I hope the pictures do justice to the trip. Do check them out and I hope you enjoy my first travel post. The forbidden kingdom was opened for tourism only in 1992 which makes it one of the most preserved region in the world and I feel lucky to have witnessed this fairy tale landscape which still holds its mysterious and magical charm.  Mustang is one of the most alluring places on the face of the earth and that’s the reason why I also intend to visit upper Mustang as I hear it’s the grander version of the lower parts, I hope it materializes soon.

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Girls Goofing around… (Darling Sonia the youngest of all, me, adorable Asmi and Rockstar Trish)

We had a marvelous time and it’s surprising how you discover so much about who you are and what you want as a person when you travel. Hence, I say travel not only to discover the places but also to discover yourself…

 

 

 

 

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