By: Gauravman Sherchan
Location: Mustang – NEPAL
Also featured in Issue #9 | May 2012
Before you start your mountain biking, you have to be in the mountains. A short 15 minutes flight from Pokhara, a jewel holiday destination in Nepal will take your breath away as you fly past the Annapurna Range and into the Kali Gandaki Gorge landing in Jomsom (2800m), at the foothills of Nilgiri standing grand.
These photos were taken along the trail in Lower Mustang which was once an independent kingdom, although closely tied by language and culture to Tibet. From the 15th century to the 17th century, its strategic location granted Mustang control over the trade between the Himalayas and India. At the end of the 18th century the kingdom was annexed by Nepal.
The trail starts from the Lubra ridge (Muktinath), at 4100 meters from where you can see Dhaulagiri 8167 metres (26795 ft), the seventh highest mountain in the world and you mountain bike into the Lubra village through some amazing single track trails into Lubra village, a classic Tibetan village. From there, you bike into the Kaligandaki Gorge, which is one of the worlds deepest gorge with Dhaulagiri (8176m) rising in the west and Nilgiri (another 7000 meter mountain) rising in the east. The bikers experience a taste the true Tibetan culture at its best, amazing views of the mountains as you mountain bike and arid Tibetan topography landscapes sure to blow you away with the wind blowing in the late afternoons at over 60-80 nots as a result of the wind tunnel in the KaliGandaki gorge.
The trail continues into Thini, Marpha (a classic Thakali Village) very popular among tourists.
As you bike further down, you will be amazed at home the arid landscape changes into lush green pine forests rising up to the high Himalayas but with even flowly trails, all along the Kali Gandaki Gorge.