Damodar Kunda Trek is another famous trekking itinerary in Upper Mustang. This is after regular Jomsom to Lo Manthang and Tiji Festival Trek. There are no teahouses on the trail to Damodar Kunda. Though small, it is sacred for Hindu and Buddhist devotees. Know more about Damodar Kunda. The trail is same up to Lo Manthang. Depending on the stamina and fitness level, it might need four to five days to complete this side trip. There is a complete absence of the teahouse and camping is not avoidable. Every year on the full moon of August, the festival takes place. Hundreds of Hindu and Buddhist devotees gather there. Mainly Hindus from India dominates the trail. Most of them also prefer a charter helicopter from Pokhara or Kathmandu. We also organize fixed departure trip for Damodar Kunda Trek, every month of August. To know more about details and availability click here.
Similar to the other general itinerary, your trek will start from Kagbeni. A medieval village below the sacred, holy site of Muktinath. Multiple options are available for journeys to Kagbeni from Kathmandu. After Pokhara, you can either take a short flight to Jomsom or drive. Jomsom to Kagbeni is of walking time three hours. There are frequent jeeps as well. We will discuss about the itinerary from Jomsom to Jomsom only. This is because road trip or flight is always of similar experience.
Kagbeni to Chele [3050m/10,004ft] | 5-6 Hrs
After holding several up and down toward the north of Kagbeni, you will reach the first village of Upper Mustang. Tangbe, it is a small white washed village. There is a narrow alley in between the village. With the view of Nilgiri Peak, you will continue to another village of Chuksang. It is often spelled as Chusang as well. Further north from here you will pass through red conglomerate cliff area. Tomorrow you will have some better view of the Himalayas along the trail. Enjoy the serenity of Chele, your first night in last forbidden kingdom.
Chele to Syangboche [3475m/11,398ft] | 6-7 Hrs
We recommend you to start your trek as early as possible. This is because valley will face a strong northern wind every afternoon. You will pass through few settlements in the beginning of the trail. After passing through Ekle Bhatti, the trail follows up toward Taklam La Pass. You can have a better view of some snowy peaks from the top of the pass. Onward you will descend for a while toward the village of Samar. It is another approximate three hour walk from Samar to Syangboche. You will pass through the shadow of the juniper tree. Also Ramchung Cave is located along the trail.
Syangboche to Ghaymi [3520m/11,546ft] | 5-6 Hrs
Access to the third largest village in Upper Mustang, i.e. game is little difficult. You have to pass through two successive passes. Yamda La and Ni La Pass. Trail to Nyi La Pass is little longer and difficult. It is at the elevation of 4010 m from sea level. The view is rewarding. As you descend from the top, you will approach village of Ghaymi. It is surrounded by barren field. Hardly people cultivate potato and barley. Adaptation level will be higher today. As you will cross elevation more than 4000 m and spent a night at 3520 am.
Ghaymi to Charang [3500m/11,480ft] | 4-5 Hrs
After breakfast, cross the river of the Ghaymi and continue journey to beautiful settlement of Charang. The trail is very pleasant. There is a long mani wall along the trail. Walk from the right hand side of main wall. From the end of the wall you will head further east toward Charang. There is big red Gompa and Chorten. We recommend you to make a small walk around in the late afternoon. It is very beautiful. After wind does it work, you can walk around. Otherwise, it will be too dusty. By tomorrow we will conquer one of our destinations, settlement of Lo Manthang.
Charang to Lo Manthang [3700m/12,136ft] | 5-6 Hrs
One more small pass of Lo and you will be in Lo Manthang. From the top you can witness the beauty of Nilgiri, Tilicho, Bhrikuti and Annapurna I. Expect pass to be windy most of the time. All you need now is to descend to capital of upper mustang. There is so much to see in this beautiful village of Lo Manthang. You will be spending two nights here. Today you can just walk around this medieval village.
Exploration Day Lo Manthang [3700m/12,136ft]
In the morning you can start with a trip to Namgyal Gompa. It is a very important monastery for locals. Tingkhar, a village on the last edge of Nepal can be a perfect escape from Lo. You can also use the pony service. If you don’t want to go far then just explore a few of the important attractions of Lo. Explore God House and other major Gompa. King’s palace shouldn’t be missed as well. After earthquake palace had developed some cracks and king family was shifted on the tent. This is a very unique building and it is more than seven hundred years old.
Trek back to top of the pass again. This is the final view of Lo Manthang. Take some picture and start descending down. After a while you will leave a main trail of Jomsom Lo Manthang Trek. Continue to the village of Dhi. Further east we will continue passing the Kaligandaki River. There is short yet steep climb up. It is very famous for some of its caves. Along the way you will have views of amazing caves. After a long walk you will find a place to stay for overnight in Yara Village.
Major highlight of today, Luri Cave and Monastery. It is actually a cave monastery. Also, it is one of the challenging days as you will encounter very high elevation. It is almost at 5000 meters from sea level. Also, there is complete absence of settlement. You might encounter with some group who are attempting Lo Manthang to Nar Phu Traverse. Today you will camp in the middle of nowhere. Tomorrow you will be in the beautiful small glacial lake of Damodar Kunda. The most awaited destination of your trip.
It is mostly up and down along the trail. You will be camping at the elevation of 4890 m, that is almost 5000 m. The view is very beautiful around the lake. It is three small glacial lakes. But for Hindu and Buddhist devotees, this is a very sacred place. You will have a whole day tomorrow to explore around. There is a small view point above the lake.
Hike up to the near by viewpoint. You can see Tibetan Plateau as well. Some of the famous climbing peaks in Upper Mustang are located nearby. You might encounter with climbers as well. Those who are traversing to Nar Phu will continue further southeast from here toward the pass campsite. Your adventure ends here and you will be retracing back to Ghuma Thanti tomorrow. This lake is also famous for black fossils. Hindu worship that as a God Vishnu. Many takes sacred bath in the lake.
Same trail, same campsite. You will now retrace back to Ghuma Thanti. Same up and down trail. But with new achievement. The trail is over crowded in August. This is because of the festival. More precisely, on the full moon of August. Otherwise on the rest of the time periods, it remains completely isolated. You won’t be encountering with other trekking group. This is final camping night as well. Because from Yara there is a local village.
Same trail as before. You will be trekking same up and down back to Yara. If you want to explore Luri Cave Monastery again, then you can. You can’t do this in your home. Few more days in Upper Mustang. Once you make it to Muktinath, it is a part of the famous Annapurna circuit trail. Very few people trek here. As it can be made in general Upper Mustang Trek without camping.
Comparatively it will be longer trail. It is steeply on certain portions as well. After a long walk you will encounter a river originated from Damodar Kunda. Collect some of black fossil. There are many of them! You will have a lunch here. After lunch it is up and down. There are several chorten in the village of Tange. The name of this village very similar to Tangbe, isn’t it? It is less commercialize. Enjoy local things late afternoon.
You have to leave this beautiful village. Cross the bridge and follow route along the river way. It is steep uphill. Until you find shelter house, you will be trekking uphill. There is availability of water as well. Lunch will be served here. Before reaching village of Tetang, you have to make it to top of small pass. Nilgiri looks very close now. Also the view of Dhaulagiri I is unmatched. Descend to the village of Tetang. Your final overnight in upper mustang. Tomorrow you will merge with the famous Annapurna Circuit Trail.
Are you ready? It is all the way up until you can view Muktinath. There is a small main wall in the village before you start your uphill. It is only up and down. From the top, with a view of magnificent Himalayas you will descend down to the town of Rani Pauwa. Most people make mistakes as it is a village of Rani Pauwa not Muktinath. It is only a temple. The trail is busier now. Hundred of thousands of trekkers every year trek round Annapurna trek. There are a few things to see inside the premises of Muktinath. It is a melting pot of Hindu and Buddhist. You can pay visit to the temple the next morning. Just enjoy now.
You can take a jeep directly to Jomsom. But listen to us explore the village of Jharkot. It is way more medieval than Kagbeni. You can spend some time exploring around the inner alley of the village. There is a big chorten on the middle of the village. If you still want to trek then you can trek down to Jomsom. Skip Kagbeni, just direct to Jomsom. Jomsom is district headquarter. Best thing is try Himalayan Java Coffee. Also, you can buy souvenirs at Jomsom.
Both at the start and end of above itinerary you will need two extra days each. That is for getting Kathmandu to Kagbeni via Pokhara and vice versa. Also one day in needed to issue restricted permits for Upper Mustang. So in total you will almost need twenty days for the trip. Excluding your international departure. Here your restricted permit should be issued for fifteen days. A permit is very expensive. Know more about Upper Mustang Trek Permit. Also, we have special edition Upper Mustang Trek Map with Damodar Kunda Trekking Trail. Check our trek map. For general unanswered queries try our Upper Mustang FAQ section. For more information about the last forbidden kingdom, browse homepage.