Built hundreds of years ago, the capital of Upper Mustang, Lo Manthang, is lined with old stone streets and small buildings painted in red, orange, black, and white – in stark contrast to the surrounding dry-brown landscape. Established in the 1300s, Lo Manthang is still home to ancient monasteries, structures, and artifacts. As in the rest of Upper Mustang, foreign trekkers were not permitted to visit the capital until 1992 when the region was opened to foreign travelers.
Today Lo Manthang is one of the most popular destinations for trekkers and other visitors to the region. Lo Mangthang has two of the most famous monasteries in Upper Mustang, Thubchen and Jampa, believed to have been built in the 15th century. Restoration work is ongoing to restore centuries-old wall frescos with the help of the American Himalaya Foundation. Other popular sights in Lo Manthang include: the royal palace, Chode Gompa (built in the 1700s), Choprang gompa (or “new gompa” as it is known locally), and the Monastic Museum which is part of the Tsechen Shedrubling Monastic School established in the early 1990s to train young monks from the area. The small capital has become increasingly developed in recent years, and now features gift shops that sell a variety of handicrafts and souvenirs, small coffee shops with wifi and an abundance of lodges around the town to satisfy travelers with various budgets.
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