A journey is akin to starting a new chapter in life, and my family and I recently travelled to Mustang, and it was an incredible adventure. We set out on our excursion at 7.0 in the morning, full of enthusiasm and anticipation, and it all started at the crack of dawn. I have always loved taking long drives with my family and spending the extra time in the car since it's an unmatched chance to bond, tell stories, and make lifelong memories.
A distinct sense of relief and pleasure greeted us as the wide road extended in front of us. The sound of the engine humming, the tyres churning on the paved road, and the shifting scenery outside the window created a harmonious whole that reflected the delight of journeying. Extensive travel facilitates reflection and the enjoyment of small pleasures that are frequently overlooked in the rush of everyday existence.
Tatopani, whose name means "hot water" in literal translation, was our first major stop. Here, we relished the relaxing bath that was beneficial and revitalising for our bodies and minds. The water's warmth and the tranquil surroundings made for the ideal break before we headed back to Beni, where our hotel was waiting for us.
As the first light of day illuminated the surroundings, we embarked on our journey to Mustang, the ultimate destiny of our journey. The indescribable and uncapturable beauty that revealed itself before our eyes defies description.
Magnificent snow-capped mountains surrounded us like silent sentinels, captivating us. Our journey took on a delightful turn when we sampled the apples straight from the trees; they had the flavour of nectar. We were greeted with warmth and hospitality by the people of Mustang. Their warmth added a unique charm to the trip and gave us the impression that we were visitors to their peaceful settlement rather than merely tourists. Our exploration led us to Kaagbeni, a location that preserved the cultural fabric of the area while appearing to be frozen in time.
Muktinath Temple was the spiritual pinnacle of our journey. The air grew thinner as we rose to 3710 metres above sea level, but the spiritual energy remained intact. Encircled by 108 taps, the temple provided a special sin-cleansing ritual. Running under these taps represented purifying the soul, and then taking a dip in two cisterns of icy, bubbly water. The spiritual aura at this altitude made the impossible seem attainable despite the physical hardships.
Some people chose to traverse the difficult terrain with horses and donkeys, but as an animal rights activist, I decided to be careful with the land. Encouraging environmentally friendly and morally responsible travel practices is in line with my beliefs and will help to preserve Mustang's natural beauty for future generations.
We arrived at Marpha—often referred to as Mustang's heart—after our journey. A stroll around its streets revealed a colourful mosaic of the people who live there. We bought local items to keep as mementos of our trip to this magical place, fully immersing ourselves in the culture. We stayed in a homestay that night in Marpha, where we ate dinner, exchanged stories, and fell asleep under the boundless Mustang sky.
It was bittersweet to leave Mustang, but we travelled back to Pokhara, where we took a leisurely boat ride on Phewa Lake and marvelled at the serene beauty of Mt. Machhapuchre. We eventually returned to Kathmandu due to time constraints, which put an end to our incredible journey.
The memories of Mustang linger in my heart like an evergreen love for a deserted land. The beauty, spirituality, and warmth of the people left an indelible mark on my soul.
Each step, each encounter, and each breathtaking vista etched a story that I will carry with me, a testament to the magic that unfolds when one ventures beyond the familiar into the realms of the unknown. Mustang, with its untamed beauty and timeless charm, remains a cherished chapter in the book of my life's adventures.
(Bhattarai persue engineering at Pulchwok Campus.)