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The Kingdom of Mustang, bordering the Tibetan plateau, is one of the most remote and isolated region of Nepalese Himalaya. Once an independent Buddhist kingdom, Mustang was annexed by Nepal at the end of the 18th century, but retained its status as a separate principality until the 1950's when the area was more closely consolidated into Nepal. Because of its sensitive border location, Mustang was off-limits to foreigners until 1992. The relative isolation of the region from the outside world has helped Mustang preserve its ancient culture which is more closely tied to Tibet than to Nepal.

The landscape is also unlike anything that is to be found anywhere else in Nepal —deep gorges carved by the Kali Gandaki River, and strangely sculptured rock formations. The cliffs’ face are pitted with an estimated 10,000 ancient cave dwellings, some of which are perched more than 150 feet above the valley floor. No one knows who dug them, or how people even scaled the near vertical rock face to access them. Some of the caves appear almost impossible to reach even to experienced climbers.

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Photo credit: National Geographic

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