Wild Destinations > Asia > Mustang, Nepal (24) More files...
Belgian photographer Bernard Castelein has travelled extensively in Nepal, particularly in the kingdom of Mustang. Straddling the border between north east Nepal and Tibet, Mustang is an ancient and starkly beautiful land - rough, eroded and barren yet extremely colourful with yellow, grey and red cliffs dotted with painted houses and chortens. Treks through the Kali Ghandaki river valley in lower Mustang pass through unspoilt villages and Buddhist gompas, set against the impressive Annapurna and Dhaulagiri massifs and the snowcapped peaks of Nilgiri and Tilicho.

So enthralled was Bernard when he trekked the famous "Annapurna circuit" in Lower Mustang, that he decided to return soon after and explore the northern district as well; "A phenomenal bonus of my trip was the Duk-Chu festival in Upper Mustang's capital, Lo-Manthang. After three days of praying the monks walk out of the Chhodde Gompa and dance for a prosperous New Year. Being agle to take pictures of the monks blowing Lawa's, the long trumpets, on top of the Gompa was the photographic highlight".

Mustang is the most restricted area of Nepal and visiting it requires an expensive permit from an approved tour organisation (the annual permit quota is one thousand). Trekking here is physically demanding, with high altitudes and low temperatures combined with long distances to cover and camping equipment to carry.

"The counterpoint of all these inconveniences", says Bernard, "is that one is rewarded with all the best trekking in Nepal can provide; a real feeling of being in the wild, an unmatched natural beauty and, at the same time, the discrete but ubiquitous presence of Buddhism and Tibetan culture".

For more information and images, contact timaldred@naturepl.com.

Bernard Castelein, photographer, in Mustang district, Himalayas, Nepal November 2004  -  Bernard Castelein
01162203
Bernard Castelein / Bernard Castelein, photographer, in Mustang district, Himalayas, Nepal November 2004
Khatung Kang, after sunset, Mustang, Nepal  -  Bernard Castelein
01162640
Bernard Castelein / Khatung Kang, after sunset, Mustang, Nepal
Water flowing down Dhakmar Khola with Red cliffs of Dhakmar in background, Mustang, Nepal  -  Bernard Castelein
01162631
Bernard Castelein / Water flowing down Dhakmar Khola with Red cliffs of Dhakmar in background, Mustang, Nepal
Tilicho Peak with Annapurna I in background, at sunrise, viewed from Syangboche, Lower Mustang, Nepal  -  Bernard Castelein
01162609
Bernard Castelein / Tilicho Peak with Annapurna I in background, at sunrise, viewed from Syangboche, Lower Mustang, Nepal
Chortens with rock formations in background, near Tetang, Mustang, Nepal  -  Bernard Castelein
01162634
Bernard Castelein / Chortens with rock formations in background, near Tetang, Mustang, Nepal
Chorten with rocky landscape, Ghami, Mustang, Nepal  -  Bernard Castelein
01162617
Bernard Castelein / Chorten with rocky landscape, Ghami, Mustang, Nepal
Chorten, western edge of Jharkot, Lower Mustang, Nepal.  -  Bernard Castelein
01121736
Bernard Castelein / Chorten, western edge of Jharkot, Lower Mustang, Nepal.
Prayer flags, Poonhill, Ghorepani, Annapurna region, Nepal.  -  Bernard Castelein
01121739
Bernard Castelein / Prayer flags, Poonhill, Ghorepani, Annapurna region, Nepal.
Arrid mountains of Mustang with peak of Nilgiri range visible in background, Lower Mustang, Nepal. November 2004  -  Bernard Castelein
01162603
Bernard Castelein / Arrid mountains of Mustang with peak of Nilgiri range visible in background, Lower Mustang, Nepal. November 2004
Horsemen riding in Kali Gandaki riverbed, between Jomosom and Eklobhatti, Lower Mustang, Nepal  -  Bernard Castelein
01162641
Bernard Castelein / Horsemen riding in Kali Gandaki riverbed, between Jomosom and Eklobhatti, Lower Mustang, Nepal
Exposed 'Saligram' Ammonite fossil lying in Kali Gandaki riverbed, Lower Mustang, Nepal  -  Bernard Castelein
01162621
Bernard Castelein / Exposed 'Saligram' Ammonite fossil lying in Kali Gandaki riverbed, Lower Mustang, Nepal
Reflection of clouds in water next to the Kali Ghandaki river, Nilgiri range, Chhusang, Lower Mustang, Nepal  -  Bernard Castelein
01162600
Bernard Castelein / Reflection of clouds in water next to the Kali Ghandaki river, Nilgiri range, Chhusang, Lower Mustang, Nepal
First sunrays on Dhaulagiri, Lower Mustang, Nepal  -  Bernard Castelein
01162638
Bernard Castelein / First sunrays on Dhaulagiri, Lower Mustang, Nepal
Arrid mountains crowned by snowacapped peaks, viewed from Syangboche, Lower Mustang, Nepal. November 2004  -  Bernard Castelein
01162608
Bernard Castelein / Arrid mountains crowned by snowacapped peaks, viewed from Syangboche, Lower Mustang, Nepal. November 2004
Full moon at sunrise on snow-capped mountains. View from Muktinath, Mustang, Nepal November 2004  -  Bernard Castelein
01121744
Bernard Castelein / Full moon at sunrise on snow-capped mountains. View from Muktinath, Mustang, Nepal November 2004
Children in front of prayer wheels, Phalla village, westbank of Kali Gandanki, Mustang, Nepal. November 2004  -  Bernard Castelein
01121737
Bernard Castelein / Children in front of prayer wheels, Phalla village, westbank of Kali Gandanki, Mustang, Nepal. November 2004
Mani wall, north of Ghami, Mustang, Nepal  -  Bernard Castelein
01162619
Bernard Castelein / Mani wall, north of Ghami, Mustang, Nepal
Chorten, north of Syangboche, Lower Mustang, Nepal  -  Bernard Castelein
01162613
Bernard Castelein / Chorten, north of Syangboche, Lower Mustang, Nepal
Buddhist monastery, Kagbeni village, Lower Mustang, Nepal. November 2004  -  Bernard Castelein
01121738
Bernard Castelein / Buddhist monastery, Kagbeni village, Lower Mustang, Nepal. November 2004
Wall painting inside Gompa of Ghami, depicting 'Paldin Lamuyapaum' Mustang, Nepal  -  Bernard Castelein
01162577
Bernard Castelein / Wall painting inside Gompa of Ghami, depicting 'Paldin Lamuyapaum' Mustang, Nepal
Procession of Nepalese monks, leaving the Gompa for final ceremony inside the village of Lo-Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal  -  Bernard Castelein
01162655
Bernard Castelein / Procession of Nepalese monks, leaving the Gompa for final ceremony inside the village of Lo-Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal
Nepalese monks, playing 'Nha' or hand-drum during 'Duk chu' festival, Lo-Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal  -  Bernard Castelein
01162665
Bernard Castelein / Nepalese monks, playing 'Nha' or hand-drum during 'Duk chu' festival, Lo-Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal
Close-up of Nepalese monk wearing face mask, dressed as a Demon, during 'Duk chu' festival, Lo-Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal  -  Bernard Castelein
01162660
Bernard Castelein / Close-up of Nepalese monk wearing face mask, dressed as a Demon, during 'Duk chu' festival, Lo-Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal
Two Nepalese monks playing the 'Lawa' (long trumpet) on the rooftop of the Chhode Gompa, at the end of the last ceremony of 'Duk chu' festival, Lo-Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal  -  Bernard Castelein
01162667
Bernard Castelein / Two Nepalese monks playing the 'Lawa' (long trumpet) on the rooftop of the Chhode Gompa, at the end of the last ceremony of 'Duk chu' festival, Lo-Manthang, Upper Mustang, Nepal