Nepal information
Nepal Trekkings
ACAP takes care of Upper Mustang
Nepal Information
Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) in Lo Manthang

ACAP takes care of Upper Mustang

Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) under King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation (KMTNC) takes all care of this restricted area of Upper Mustang.

ACAP which has been responsible for the sustainable development and management of the natural resources of over 7000 square kilometres of wild natural resources, including Himalayan sanctuary, trekking route and villages in Nepal including parts of Mustang district, is aware of the growing problems associated with environmentally unfriendly habits of the local people.

ACAP faces uphill task of educating people about environmental and health hazards associated with food habits.

Early in the morning an old lady comes with her locally made caned basket and a broom picking up all the plastic and other litter that can be seen on the streets of Lo Manthang in Upper Mustang. The streets of Lo Manthang are not very clean but she also sweeps them and nicely tucks the plastics that she collected from the streets.

The environmental resource conservation, awareness and training programmes initiated some years ago by Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) seems to have started to bear fruits in the Upper Mustang region. Lo Manthang looks cleaner despite its earthen roads, mud and wood houses, narrow lanes, horses and cattle plying on them, stack of their forages and the heaps of barley dumped on the road sides after the annual harvest. The tiny Himalayan hamlets of Kagbeni, Tangbe, Chhuksang, Chele, Samar, Ghemi, Tamagaon, Charang, Lo Manthang, Chhoser in Upper Mustang, each has a separate religious and sociocultural identity. The houses in Chhoser, around two hours walk from Lo Manthang on the east, present their distinct identities.

Cave houses half-embedded into the mountain slopes with their main entrances, windows and gates seem to be structures stuck on the mountain sides from outside. These cave dwellings look interesting and cozy. Caves and holes on the ridges of the Kaligandaki river are common sights between Eklobhatti, Muktinath and in Lo Manthang area but cave houses built on hill slopes at Chhoser are far more superior and different.

Clean blue sky, swinging trees, some seasonal green vegetables in the kitchen gardens are becoming part of Upper Mustang, thanks to ACAP are encouraging local people to grow more vegetables and consume more of them as a regular diet with their meals. Vegetables didn't exist in Lo Manthang before ACAP came here. The staple diet of people at Lo Manthang normally includes meat and potatoes.

Looking at the broken coloured glasses on the street sides, fields and in the garbage dumps constructed by the local people, one can easily imagine that people in Upper Mustang are getting into the habit of drinking more beer than Chang and Tomba, their local drinks.

People drink these cheap beer a lot these days, more than they drink other local drinks and leave the bottles here and there. The several trucks come daily up to Lo Manthang. In fact ACAP also use these trucks to transport timber from Tibet for the restoration work at the ancient Thuptchen monastery. ACAP is selling empty bottles and cans back to China for recycling purposes.

Upper Mustang is a remote area. It is out of reach of government's presence and development activities. Although still restricted for foreigners but they visit the area in abundance. Lo Manthang and many other Himalayan settlements are like corps left for cultures, which they can tear at their will. The half-fallen police post manned by a few police personnel is not enough to stay guard and protect this area.

This area has enormous potential for antisocial elements to conduct their traffickings in any item that they require. It is the same area from where Karmapa and his gang quietly slipped into Nepal and then into India, embarrassing Nepalis government. What this area now needs is strong government presence in the form of Army and police. In winter all the young and rich migrate to warmer places like Pokhara and Kathmandu or go to India for business.

Annapurna III
Mustang & Lo Manthang
Upper Manang Trekking
Thorong La
ACAP targeted by Maoists

In 2001, when the emergency was declared, NGOs were targeted but all of ACAP's offices were operational until September this year. After the peace talks broke down in August 2003, the Maoists came to Ghandruk and destroyed the ACAP office, telling staff not to return. ACAP had to close all our offices in the southern belt.


more information on Nepal
The Himalayas around Pokhara
Nepal's Topography
Nepal's Foot Hills
Annapurna Conservation Area Project
Round Annapurna Trek
Upper Manang Trek
Annapurna Trek Photo Gallery
Cross-section of Nepal
Mustang & Lo Manthang
Upper Manang Trekking
Thorong La
Annapurna Trek Photo Gallery
External link
King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation
King Mahendra
Trust for Nature Conservation (KMTNC)