Mustang District (Nepaliमुस्ताङ जिल्ला Listen) (from the Tibetan möntang (Wyliesmon-thang), “fertile plain”) is also one of the eleven districts of Gandaki Province and one of seventy-seven districts of Nepal which was a Kingdom of Lo-Manthang that joined the Federation of Nepal in 2008 after abolition of the Shah dynasty. The district also covers an area of 3,573 km2 (1,380 sq mi) and in 2011 had a population of 13,452.[2] The headquarters is located at Jomsom. Mustang is the fifth largest district of Nepal in terms of area.

Mustang, an ancient forbidden kingdom, bordered by the Tibetan Plateau and sheltered by some of world’s tallest peaks, including 8000-meter tall Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. Strict regulations of tourists here have also aided in maintaining Tibetan traditions.[4] Upper Mustang was a restricted area until 1992, which makes it one of the most preserved regions in the world due to its relative isolation from the outside world, with a majority of the population still speaking traditional Tibetic languages.

Agriculture and animal husbandry are the main occupations. The entire district included within the Annapurna Conservation Area, the largest protected area of Nepal. Development programmes, tourism management, and so on has been primarily overseeing by the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), a division of the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC).[3] The kingdom of Mustang was a dependency of the Kingdom of Nepal since 1795,[8] but abolished by the republican Government of Nepal on October 7, 2008, after Nepal became a federal democratic republic.[9] According to the Human Development Index, Mustang is a relatively wealthy district with a GDP per capita of US$2,466.[7]


Kali Gandaki riverbed in Upper Mustang. View from Chele (Tshele) village down to the Kali Gandaki river and the fields of Chhusang in front of Nilgiri mountains‘s steep north face.
Description[10] Area covered (km2) % of Area
Total area of the district 3639.6 100%
Total forest area 123.2 3.38%
Total cultivable land 40.3 1.10%
Irrigated cultivable land 32.5 0.89%
Rain-fed cultivable land 7.83 0.21%
Pasture land 1476.8 40.57%
River, stream, cliff, mountain, stone etc. 1505.7 41.36%
Area covered by residence and buildings 3.20 0.08%
Area covered by snow 305.9 8.40%
Area covered by lakes 0.92 0.02%
Other 183.5 5.04%

Mustang, the second least populated district of Nepal, also flanked from the Nepalese districts of Manang, the least populated, to the east and Dolpa, the third least populated, to the west. The Tibetan frontier stretches north from Mustang’s borders.[3][10] Mustang has been divided into two sub-regions, Lower and Upper. This is also a high-altitude trans-Himalayan region spreading over 3,640 square kilometres in area barely north of the main Himalayan mountain range.[10][12] Geographically this cold high-altitude steppe is a part of the Tibetan highlands.[3][12] This boot-shaped piece of land thrusts north into western Tibet is caught in the rain shadow of Dhaulagiri to the south and west and the Annapurna Massif to the north and east.

CNN Travel lists Upper Mustang Valley as must-visit destination in 2023

CNN Travel lists Upper Mustang Valley as must-visit destination in 2023

Posted on May 18, 2023

Mustang Valley: CNN's Top Travel Destination for 2023 KATHMANDU, May 18: US-based Cable News Network (CNN) has picked Nepal’s Mustang…

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