Two of the 10 snowy Himalayan mountains above 8,000 meters are called annaburna and daurajili. You may not have heard of it, you may have seen it in the photos, but no one knows that behind these two snow-capped mountains lies a mysterious kingdom that has existed for nearly 600 years, until 2008, when the last king died. It is called — Mustang, or luo-yu in ancient times.
Mustang is located in the northern part of Nepal bordering China’s Tibet region, which is part of Nepal, but where Tibetan customs are maintained.
Mustang was historically part of Tibet. At the end of the 18th century, this small and mysterious country was conquered by the Gurkha tribe of Nepal and became part of the kingdom of Nepal until now.
Mustang is known as the “quiet place” by the outside world. Within Mustang, you can see the continuous snowy mountains in the distance, and the vegetation on the nearby slopes becomes sparse. Tibetan bungalows and temples are scattered on both sides of the highway.
In the 1970s Mustang opened tourism to Nepali nationals only, and for a long time it was off-limits to foreigners.
Hidden in the depths of the Himalayas, Mustang, coupled with the local isolation, has preserved this centuries-old landscape.
Mustang averages more than 2,500 meters above sea level and has a population of about 15,000 people.
For 600 years, lomantang, Mustang’s capital, has retained its original outline. And the wall shall be shut in, but the gates shall not be shut at night.
Early in the morning, the golden light of the sun daubs on the mountains behind the royal city, outside the green barley fields and the temple ochre red high walls become soft.
Apart from the ramparts of the capital, lomantang, most of Mustang is uninhabited, with occasional caravans of yaks.
Mustang became famous not long ago when a rancher found buddhist paintings in a cave. Located east of Mustang, this buddhist mural is the best preserved Tibetan buddhist cave mural in the world.
The cave temple, called tasqab, opened to the public only a few years ago. In the center of the cave is a huge white shrine with colorful designs on the walls and ceiling.
In Mustang, you can feel the fusion of the old and the new. Villagers still live in caves on the cliffs. Cave-dwelling seems to be a way of life that villagers have learned and inherited from ancient humans, and monks are even more willing to shut themselves up in secluded caves.
There seems to be a particular interest in art from the so-called Mustang region these days, bringing more attention to Himalayan art lovers in this small country tucked away in the mountains on the leeward side of the Himalayas. As Nepal under a semi-independent little kingdom, a culture of Nepal, mainly in Hinduism, Tibetan cultural enclaves, its solitary closed region, to limit the visit visit the number for a long time, with its unique religious culture, make its in the eyes of the world seems to have been shrouded in a layer under the veil of mystery.
Mustang is located in the upper kaligandaki river in central and western Nepal, on the border of the Tibetan plateau and the Himalayas. The name Mustang is actually derived from the newari language, which refers to this area in the Tibetan context as Lo and the capital as Manthang or Lo Manthang. The capital and the surrounding kaligandaji valley region form the main part of Mustang and is the area where travel restrictions are currently enforced. The broader Mustang area also includes the so-called lower Mustang area, which is now the main administrative area of the area, Johnson, and the nearby distinctive villages of marfa, kabeni and mutina.
The capital of Mustang, Roman pond, this huge Sumda pagoda on the side of the road, one of the largest and most beautiful pagodas in Mustang.
The great pagoda to the south of Mustang village, looking north over the village and fields.
The exterior of luri cave temple
As one of the few rivers that completely run through the Himalayas, kaligandaki valley has been an important traffic channel connecting the Tibetan plateau and the south Asian subcontinent since ancient times. Caravans, travelers, monks, and pilgrims stream along the rushing valley through the world’s deepest gorges, made up of dhoragiri and annapurna peaks, from the fertile Ganges plain to the vast expanse of snow. They brought trade and wealth, spread new teaching methods and knowledge, and promoted the exchange of culture and art, thus leaving behind a rich and breathtaking cultural heritage. When talking about Mustang art, most discussions focus on Mustang’s kingdom in amapo in the 15th century, a series of large royal temple murals and subsequent statues in manzon, amapo’s capital, because of its royal support for the sakya sect. However, in recent years, archaeological studies of cave and temple murals in some remote valleys in Mustang have gradually revealed the early artistic development of this place. Among them, luri cave and temple, which this paper will introduce to you, plays a certain role in the development of Tibetan art history.